Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation today to create a Space National Guard, according to a joint press release.
Last year, Reps. Jason Crow (D-CO) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) introduced similar legislation in the House, and the bill introduced by Rubio and Feinstein is the Senate companion legislation. Both bills have several bipartisan cosponsors.
Although the legislation is backed by a range of lawmakers, it is opposed by the Biden administration. According to a statement of administration policy published in September 2021, the White House “strongly opposes the creation of [a] Space National Guard,” reasoning that it would create an unnecessary and costly bureaucracy and that units of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve are already capable of performing space missions without a new Space Force National Guard component.
In response to a question from Rep. Kai Kahele (D-HI) during an April 27 House Armed Services Committee hearing, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond said “there’s multiple ways” with different associated costs to address the Space National Guard issue.
Those approaches, Raymond said, would involve the creation of a Space National Guard, continuing to utilize the Air National Guard under current conditions, or creating a new active-duty combined reserve.
“The critical piece of this is we rely on [the National Guard] today and we’re going to have to rely on them in the future,” he said.
The release from Rubio and Feinstein notes that active-duty space units were moved out of the Air Force and placed in the Space Force in 2019 but no plan was made to create a Space Force National Guard. Though the Air Force, Space Force and National Guard have since developed plans to establish a Space National Guard, that has yet to be implemented, according to the release.
Over 1,000 National Guard members currently perform space missions within the Air National Guard, which has created organizational difficulties after space activities were consolidated under the Space Force, according to Rubio and Feinstein.
“Creating a Space Force National Guard would also save money and ensure a smoother process in the event we need to activate personnel,” Feinstein said. “Not establishing a Space National Guard was a mistake when Space Force was created, and this bill will remedy that.”
“Creating a Space National Guard would boost our military readiness and increase efficiency,” Rubio said. “It would also ensure that the Space Force retains needed talent. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this commonsense bill.”