Governors oppose National Guard move to Space Force

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Falcon from the South Dakota Air National Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing, primarily based in Sioux Falls, receives gas whereas in flight from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 assigned to the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing, primarily based in Sioux City, whereas flying over South Dakota on March 19, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photograph by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed on to a letter Monday alongside 47 different state governors, in addition to 5 territories and commonwealths, opposing the Biden administration’s move to incorporate Air National Guard service members into the Space Force.

The letter from the National Governors’ Association, addressed to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, is written in opposition to a legislative proposal submitted by the Department of Defense to the Senate Armed Services Committee that will switch some Air National Guard personnel and tools presently getting used on area missions to the Space Force.

The Defense Department proposal would require Congress to override current regulation requiring that governors approve adjustments to National Guard models, by way of Title 10 and 32 of the U.S. Code, that outlines gubernatorial authority over their states’ National Guard.

The bipartisan group of governors signing the letter stated the proposed measure would damage governors’ talents to use the National Guard in response to crises. Governors should retain full authority over these models “to protect operational readiness and America’s communities,” the letter states.

“Legislation that sidesteps, eliminates or otherwise reduces Governors’ authority within their states and territories undermines longstanding partnerships, precedence, military readiness and operational efficacy,” the letter states. “This action also negatively affects the important relationships between Governors and DOD at a time when we need to have full trust and confidence between the two to meet the growing threats posed by the era of strategic competition as well as natural disasters.”

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told federal lawmakers earlier in April that the proposal would shift roughly 700 National Guard members to Space Force as a part of a one-time switch. There are presently 14 models, with about 1,000 personnel, engaged on space-related missions in seven states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New York and Ohio — that might be impacted by the move, according to the National Guard Association of the United States.

The National Guard advocacy group additionally released a statement opposing the draft laws.  Kendall told reporters in April that he doesn’t “see a reason why a state needs a Space Force militia.” But Retired Maj. Gen. Frank M. McGinn, the group’s president, stated protecting area missions throughout the National Guard retains the personnel present serving on area missions in work, as many will not be in a position to move or tackle full-time tasks. It permits states to retain the identical protection and navy capabilities as different components of the nation, he stated — evaluating the difficulty to states having artillery and cyber models within the National Guard, separate from the U.S. navy.

“Here is what Secretary Kendall is asking to do: Skirt federal law to transfer nearly empty units to the Space Force, thereby reducing the nation’s military space capabilities at a time when our nation is seeing growing competition in space,” McGinn stated. “I don’t see why he wants to take this action. And a growing number in Congress wonder the same.”

Only two state governors, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, didn’t signal on to the letter. Both states have a vested curiosity in Space Force operations and improvement, with Patrick Space Force Base in Brevard County, Florida being one of many five current bases of the navy department. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) additionally has operations in each states.

A model of this story was initially printed by Iowa Capital Dispatch. Like South Dakota Searchlight, it’s a part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit information community supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: [email protected]. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

The put up Governors oppose National Guard move to Space Force appeared first on South Dakota Searchlight.

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