• Gen. Joseph Lengyel (l), USAFG, chief of the National Guard Bureau, speaks with Col. Hall, USAG from the Louisiana National Guard during a 2020 tour of the state’s Public Safety warehouse supporting the COVID-19 response in Baton Rouge. The Space Force could have a guard component, but the Defense Department needs to complete a study on the viability. Credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Toby Valadie
     Gen. Joseph Lengyel (l), USAFG, chief of the National Guard Bureau, speaks with Col. Hall, USAG from the Louisiana National Guard during a 2020 tour of the state’s Public Safety warehouse supporting the COVID-19 response in Baton Rouge. The Space Force could have a guard component, but the Defense Department needs to complete a study on the viability. Credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Toby Valadie

Establishing a Space Force National Guard

February 24, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
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It still is a possibility to create a guard component for the new service, lawmaker says.


In the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), lawmakers asked the Department of Defense to study the personnel structure of the Space Force, including a possible guard component, similar to the other services’ National Guard forces. That study is still pending, explained Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, but the possibility remains for creation of a Space Force National Guard.

Sen. Reed, who also sits on the Appropriation Defense Subcommittee and the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee, spoke to reporters during a Defense Writers Group event on February 24, hosted by George Washington University Professor David Ensor, head of the Project for Media and National Security. Sen. Reed shared that Congress would review the considerations of adding a reserve component and a guard structure to the Space Force, following the completion of a study from the Defense Department.

“We've asked for a report from the Department of Defense about the viability and the practicality of setting up a Space Force Reserve and/or National Guard,” the senator said. “We will get that report back and it will be considered in the next NDAA, as we look at the whole operation of the Space Force.”

Sen. Reed recognized that the existing National Guard forces are performing many additional domestic duties and need to be repaid for those activities. “In terms of resources for the Guard, a lot of the resources are being provided through Title 32, and I would hope that in the COVID-19 bill, there are resources available to compensate the Guard for all they're doing with respect to COVID-19 and that's significant. I hope that we can compensate the Guard directly so that the Guard will not use some of their training money and operational money for the COVID-19 crisis.”

If it has any need for additional support, the Space Force cannot transfer any personnel from the National Guard until an actual Space National Guard was established by law, as specified by the NDAA.

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