Senators introduce legislation to create Space National Guard
A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that would create a Space National Guard under the newly-established U.S. Space Force.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a press release that the Space National Guard Establishment Act pairs with legislation in the House from Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and corrects a bureaucracy issue in which National Guard troops are working on space missions within the Air Force instead of within their own branch.
“Without a National Guard component for Space Force, we risk losing many talented individuals who want to keep serving their country and their states after they leave active duty, and that is simply unacceptable,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Creating a Space Force National Guard would also save money and ensure a smoother process in the event we need to activate personnel. Not establishing a Space National Guard was a mistake when Space Force was created, and this bill will remedy that.”
Former President Trump signed into law a bill creating the Space Force in December 2019, which became the first new branch of the U.S. military in 73 years.
Senators said when the Space Force was created, active-duty troops working on space missions in the Air Force were transferred to the new military branch. But there was no such authorized transfer for National Guard troops.
About 1,000 National Guard troops work on space-related missions within the Air Force. If the bill became law, it would simply transfer them to the Space National Guard to create a more efficient bureaucracy.
Rubio said “creating a Space National Guard would boost our military readiness and increase efficiency.”
“It would also ensure that the Space Force retains needed talent,” the senator said in a statement.
Additional co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).
Feinstein had pushed to create the Space National Guard in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, but the component was not included in the final NDAA.
The creation of the Space Force, which was initially mocked when it designated its forces as Guardians and even inspired a now-canceled TV show starring Steve Carrell, was created to ensure the U.S. could achieve superiority in the space domain.
The branch has a large focus, including the protection and management of satellites and the monitoring of space surveillance systems.
President Biden proposed a $24.5 billion budget for the Space Force for fiscal 2023.
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