Top Pentagon Officials Favor Creating a Space National Guard

Top Pentagon leaders favor the creation of a Space National Guard for existing state military space units and personnel as they transition to the new active-duty Space Force service, according to a draft document obtained by Bloomberg Government.

Gen. John Raymond, the Space Force chief, considered five scenarios for managing 1,244 Air National Guard space personnel in six states and the territory of Guam, including making no changes. Moving them into a new independent Space National Guard was the top recommendation and is also supported by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, the draft said.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe Thacker)
The 45th Space Wing, now part of the U.S. Space Force, has supported two satellite launches already this year.

However, the idea could still be scuttled by Defense Secretary Mark Esper if he disagrees, and any new Guard service would need congressional authorization, it notes. The undated document is labeled “pre-decisional,” meaning it does not represent final military policy.

State Advocate Space Guard

States including California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, and New York are concerned about the future of the Guard units as the military reorganizes around the Space Force. At least four state adjutants general and Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the National Guard Bureau chief, publicly advocated creating a Space National Guard in recent weeks.

“The men and women who are in our space enterprise now are worried,” Lengyel told the House Appropriations Committee earlier this month.

Raymond’s office said the new Guard would be in sync with the wider Pentagon plans for space submitted to Congress, and would align budgeting and planning with the Space Force active-duty branch. In all, the planning document notes 10 benefits to that option.

The cons to a Space National Guard include a requirement for authorizing legislation and the need to shift resources into the new branch from the National Guard Bureau, according to the document.

State adjutants general want the Pentagon to move quickly to create the new sister service to the Space Force. Lengyel filed a formal dissent with a decision by the department not to request the change in a legislative space request just sent to Capitol Hill.

Barrett confirmed last week that there is no intention to seek any legislation related to Guard space units until next year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Travis J. Tritten at ttritten@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at phendrie@bgov.com; Jodie Morris at jmorris@bgov.com

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