Nearly two years after the National Guard confirmed it was working on a Space Guard, the military component is still not in place. However, a top military official said a plan for the newest part of the total force is near completion.
National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson said Tuesday that the formation of a Space National Guard is currently one of his top priorities.
Hokanson said the Guard is “fairly close” to making a recommendation to Congress on how it would go about creating a Space National Guard.
“I’ll meet with the secretary of the Air Force tomorrow and the chief of space operations,” Hokanson said during a House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing. “We’ve had an opportunity to brief the deputy secretary of Defense already.”
The Guard is in its final preparations to brief Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin before sending the recommendations to Congress.
“Both the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of space operations are in agreement with us on a two-component construct that has an active and reserve combined component, and then a Space National Guard,” Hokanson said.
Congress would need to legally create the Space National Guard if it goes along with the plan.
Military officials have been pushing for the component since before the creation of the Space Force.
“I don’t see how we have a Space Force without a Space Guard,” Lt. Gen. Michael Loh, chief of the Air National Guard, said last year when he was the adjutant general of the Colorado National Guard. “The organize, train and equip is going to come from that Space Force side. Otherwise, you are delinking the parent service with those forces that are supporting it.”
The National Guard has 1,500 space forces — 1,100 in the Air National Guard and the rest in the Army National Guard.
Previous details on the plan signified that the Space National Guard would be small and only operate in states that conduct space missions.
Those areas are Colorado, California, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Arkansas, Ohio, New York and Guam.
“We are not looking to stand up 54 Space National Guards to cover every state and territory,” Brig. Gen. Patrick Cobb, deputy director of space operations for the National Guard, said. “We only see there being some additional overhead in the particular states that participate in the mission. The concern that this would be creating this huge bureaucratic overhead is really not what we envision.”
Proponents of the Space National Guard said it would help bring in talent to a highly specialized force, without making those people quit their day jobs.