JUST IN: Top General Still Pushing for Creation of a Space National Guard
Photo by Capt. Benjamin Gruver
Amid disagreements at the highest levels of government about the wisdom of creating a Space National Guard, the chief of the National Guard Bureau continues to push for such a reorganization.
Gen. Daniel Hokanson told members of the Defense Writers Group Nov. 10 that he is “watching closely” how the debate over establishing and funding a separate space component of the National Guard plays out in Washington, D.C.
Giving the Space Force its own dedicated National Guard component has been a recent point of disagreement between members of Congress and the White House, but Hokanson said he continues to support the initiative.
In May, he told the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee that the establishment of a Space National Guard was one of his “most pressing concerns.”
Members of the National Guard have been helping with space missions for 25 years, Hokanson noted during his meeting with the Defense Writers Group.
A new Space National Guard would likely pull from the 2,000 troops currently performing space domain operations, according to a National Guard fact sheet.
“The Space Force cannot continue without Reserve Component capacity because it creates a critical gap and removes a significant knowledge base that resides in existing National Guard space units,” the fact sheet said.
The idea of creating a Space National Guard has its supporters in Congress, as well. However, it remains to be seen whether lawmakers will pass a final version of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act that supports such a reorganization.
Meanwhile, the White House is opposed to the idea.
“A Space National Guard would not deliver new capabilities — it would instead create new government bureaucracy,” the White House said in a statement, noting that the Congressional Budget Offices estimated that the new component could add $500 million in annual costs.
Until a Space National Guard is established, Hokanson said guardsmen with the skills relevant for space missions will continue to do work as members of the Air National Guard.
Hokanson lauded guardsmen for their ability to take on the variety of missions they face. Many of them already have skills from their private sector jobs that they could use in the Space Force, he noted.
“The great thing is the investment made in our people over the last 20 years has really put them in a position that, no matter what they get asked to do, they can leverage not only what they’ve learned in the military but also their civilian skills,” he said.