- Press Release
- May 26, 2023
Bipartisan House Bill To Create Space National Guard
The voice of more than 45,000 current and former National Guard officers applauds bipartisan House legislation that would ensure some of America’s most talented and experienced military space professionals can keep defending the nation.
Introduced yesterday by Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., and Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., the Space National Guard Establishment Act (H.R. 3048) would create a Space National Guard under the Space Force.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Jack Bergman R-Mich., Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Colo., Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., Rep. Jill Tokuda, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark.
The action follows a similar bill (S. 503) introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla.
Lawmakers considered the proposal in the 117th Congress; it passed the House but never came to a vote in the Senate.
“Creating a new military component is not something Congress does very quickly; it takes time and bipartisan support,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president. “That’s why it’s so heartening to see that a broad coalition in both the House and Senate share our determination to establish a Space National Guard.”
“A Space National Guard is the only efficient, inexpensive way to enhance our Space Force,” Robinson said. “It requires no new personnel, equipment or facilities — just new uniform name tapes and some new signs.”
The National Guard Bureau puts the cost at about $250,000.
That would cover the full price to move 1,000 space professionals in 16 Air National Guard units across eight states and territories to the new component. They currently provide 60% of the military’s space electronic warfare capability, the only mobile, survivable missile-warning capability and 100% of the surge capacity.
Guard space units are in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Ohio and Guam.
Robinson said those who oppose a Space National Guard greatly inflate the cost. This includes the White House Office of Management and Budget.
OMB has cited a 2020 Congressional Budget Office report that incorrectly assumed every state and territory would have units in a Space National Guard that would total as many as 5,800 personnel. It estimated annual costs at up to $500 million a year.
“The CBO totals are based on false assumptions developed with no National Guard input,” the NGAUS president said. “The Guard has never advocated a 54-state-and-territory Space National Guard. A Space Guard could grow beyond 1,000 personnel. But that would be up to Space Force leaders.”
Robinson said the association will continue to educate lawmakers and the White House on the real costs of a Space National Guard and the high price of leaving Guard space professionals out of the Space Force.
“Nearly half of the Guard’s part-time space professionals work full time in civilian aerospace or other high-tech industries,” Robinson added. “These are talented, coveted people with valuable connections to industry.”
But now they’re “orphaned” in the Air Force, a service no longer conducting space missions, he said. All other Air Force space units have migrated to the Space Force, he said.
“This complicates acquiring needed resources and professional development,” Robinson said. “It will also likely drive many out of the military, which would be a great loss for the nation.”
The legislation corrects this misalignment, the bill’s authors say.
“Housing these critical capabilities within the Air National Guard is not a long-term solution,” Crow said in a release. “Establishing a Space National Guard would improve communication, better support personnel, and maintain our critical defense capabilities. Now is the time to create a Space National Guard.”
Added Lamborn: “I am encouraged to see more momentum and support from national defense leaders this year as we restart this conversation. Our bipartisan, economical and sensible proposal for the creation of a Space National Guard is in the best interest of our national security. I look forward to driving the Space National Guard establishment conversation toward a positive solution.”
The Senate legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz.
Reporters, Editors & Producers: Retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson is available for interviews or to appear as a subject matter expert on issues related to the National Guard. Contact John Goheen at 202-408-5882 to schedule an interview or appearance.
About NGAUS: The association includes more than 45,000 current or former Guard officers. It was created in 1878 to provide unified National Guard representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by educating Congress on Guard requirements. Today, 145 years later, NGAUS has the same mission.