27 February 2020
Question remains for Space Force:
Will there be a Space National Guard?
By John M. DonnellyCorey Dickstein

Stars and Stripes


WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — The United States has a new military service, the Space Force, but it has never been clear whether the country will also have a Space Guard and Reserve.

Many observers on Capitol Hill were hoping the Pentagon would have clarified the question by now. But a Feb. 3 report to Congress on the Space Force organizational plan — written by the Air Force, which oversees the Space Force — did not offer any answers.

And now, a draft Defense Department legislative proposal that is supposed to cover integrating the “active and reserve” elements of the Space Force into U.S. law also does not resolve the matter, according to officials familiar with the document.

The report is said to be sitting in Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper’s inbox. The legislative blueprint, required by the fiscal 2020 defense authorization law, was due to Congress last week.

Instead of answering the Space Guard question right away, leaders of the Space Force and of the Air Force are instead launching an in-depth study of the options, Air Force officials say.

Yet another report to Congress — on personnel management issues pertaining to the Space Force — is due March 19. But it will almost certainly not answer the question either, officials acknowledge.

Into this void Congress may step.

The National Guard and many of its staunchest advocates on Capitol Hill are impatient to capitalize on the momentum of the Space Force’s launch, and they want to move faster to create a Space Guard as soon as possible.

These lawmakers include Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Republican Rep. Steven M. Palazzo of Mississippi, the co-chairs of the House Guard and Reserve Caucus, which makes up  about one-third of the chamber.

“With the Space Force serving as the sixth official branch of our armed forces, we must think about how we can provide the absolute best that our country has to offer to this critical service,” Palazzo told CQ Roll Call in a statement. “I believe a massive part of that is inviting the citizens of this country, people with expertise in satellites, propulsion, engineering, and other STEM fields, to play a role in ensuring America remains the leader in space.”

Palazzo said through a spokeswoman that he is ready to work with the Pentagon and his congressional colleagues to determine precisely how reservists would support the Space Force.

A spokesman for Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, co-chairman of the Senate National Guard Caucus and the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, was more direct.

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