U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), introduced the bipartisan Space National Guard Establishment Act to create a National Guard for the U.S. Space Force. The legislation would allow Army and Air National Guard currently performing Space Force support missions to continue to serve their states and country through a Space National Guard. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives last year.
"West Virginia has a rich history of contributing to achievements in space, from the important work of "Hidden Figures' Katherine Johnson and "Rocket Boys' Homer Hickam to the many West Virginians working at NASA and serving in the Space Force today," said Senator Manchin. "We are grateful for the men and women serving in space-based missions for their sacrifices and dedication that keep all Americans safe. I am proud to lead this bipartisan bill to create a Space National Guard to ensure National Guard personnel in West Virginia and across the country can continue their service within a reserve component organization that represents their specialized space-based missions."
Senator Manchin was joined by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rob Portman (R-OH), Rick Scott (R-FL), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Mike Braun (R-IN) and John Cornyn (R-TX).
In 2019, active-duty space units were moved out of the Air Force and placed in the new Space Force, but no corresponding move was made to create a Space National Guard. There are currently more than 1,000 National Guard members serving the space mission from within the Air National Guard. The Space National Guard Establishment Act would correct this disconnect and ensure that Space Force personnel who leave active-duty can continue to serve within the Space Force. Additionally, the legislation would eliminate funding obstacles between the Air Force and Space Force, facilitate mobilization and inspection processes and enhance the culture of the Space Force.