Gov. Abbott slams proposed National Guard move to Space Force

Gov. Abbott slams proposed National Guard move to Space Force

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) slammed the Biden administration’s proposal to incorporate Air National Guard Service members into the Space Force, arguing the move is a “threat” to the Texas National Guard.

In a letter to President Biden sent last week, Abbott contended the proposal would give the Secretary of the Air Force “unilateral authority” to transfer parts of the Air National Guard units into the Space Force without consent from the governor.

In a March legislative proposal to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Defense Department asked Congress to override an existing law requiring governors to approve changes to National Guard units in order to shift hundreds of members to the Space Force.

“Although the Texas Air National Guard does not have these types of missions, I strongly oppose any attempt to sideline governors when it comes to their respective National Guards,” Abbott wrote in his letter, dated May 3.” Congress has long required the consent of a governor before units can be transferred out of the National Guard he commands.”

“By departing from this sensible arrangement and allowing the Secretaries to dismantle National Guard units on a whim, Legislative Proposal 480 would set a dangerous precedent. Members of the Texas National Guard must always stand ready to respond to natural disasters, civil disturbances, and cartel activity that threaten our way of life,” Abbott continued.

The Texas governor called on the Department of the Air Force to retract the proposal, calling it an attempted “power grab.”

Secretary of Air Force Frank Kendall maintained that the proposal would affect about 14 space units, equal to about 1,000 Air National Guardsmen, Air and Space Forces Magazine reported.

A White House official told The Hill the Biden administration supports the Defense Department’s recommendation for a one-time transfer of a certain amount of Guard missions into the Space Force, noting it is consistent with the structure approved by Congress in the annual defense policy bill.

The official noted the Biden administration has consistently been against the establishment of a Space National Guard.

The letter came just days after a group of governors from 48 states, territories and commonwealths wrote a letter addressed to Secretary of Defense Llyod Austin in opposition of the proposal.

Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) were notably absent from the list of signatories, and DeSantis penned his own letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Services committees.

DeSantis argued the move “would flout more than a century of precedent and undermine federal law protections for state control of their National Guard forces.” He said his state’s National Guard should already be larger than it is and blamed the federal government for making it “under-resourced.”

The proposal comes after the Air Force announced in February it planned to make “sweeping” changes to the military branch and Space Force to ensure the U.S. can meet security demands. These changes include the development of a new command center, called the Integrated Capabilities, to oversee specific areas of the military branch.

The Space Force will also get a new field command, the Space Futures Command, responsible for experimentation, wargaming and mission planning.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.