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Politics Top general: Defense officials nearing plan for Space National Guard

01:15  05 may  2021
01:15  05 may  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Pentagon officials are finalizing recommendations to establish a separate Space National Guard , the nation 's top National Guard officer told lawmakers, potentially setting up a new cadre of part-time space professionals for the military. The trio, he testified, have met with Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and are set to speak again Wednesday ahead of a briefing with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the plan . Setting up a Guard component of the Space Force, a move supported by lawmakers from space -heavy states such as Colorado, would be the latest shakeup following the

Space Force officials said they value the contributions of the National Guard and reserves but they are contemplating a range of options besides establishing a Space National Guard . “We have been directed by law to do a review of this, and so we are going to follow the law,” Gen. The uncertainty over the role of the guard has caused a political dust-up between the National Guard Bureau and the Defense Department. During a separate hearing of the defense appropriations subcommittee, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said the issue should not be up for debate: If

Top defense officials are closing in on recommendations for creating a Space National Guard, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said Tuesday.

a close up of a busy highway: Top general: Defense officials nearing plan for Space National Guard © Getty Images Top general: Defense officials nearing plan for Space National Guard

Testifying before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee on Tuesday, Gen. Daniel Hokanson told lawmakers that setting up a Space National Guard is one of his "most pressing concerns."

"I believe we're fairly close on that," Hokanson said when asked about the Pentagon's progress on providing recommendations to Congress on a Space National Guard.

Hokanson, acting Air Force Secretary John Roth and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond have already briefed Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on their recommendations, he said.

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Michael Loh, the adjutant general for the Colorado National Guard . Loh said the individuals create a "force multiplier" of expertise, not only because of their military service but also because many use relevant skills in their day jobs. The officials told reporters at the Pentagon that aligning U.S Space Top Air Force and Space Force officials must brief lawmakers every 60 days, until at least March 31, 2023, on the status of the new branch's implementation, according to the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law in December. The plans prevent the military's new sixth branch from

COLORADO SPRINGS — Since the Pentagon rolled out its Space Force proposal March 1, Defense Department officials met with staff directors and professional staff members from defense committees multiple times on Capitol Hill to provide a detailed explanation of DoD’s plan to establish a new This hearing was seen as a key barometer of how SASC is leaning as the committee prepares to mark up the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The Trump administration wants the Space Force to be enacted in the NDAA by October 1. Pentagon leaders in those meetings leading up to the April 11

Hokanson, Roth and Raymond are scheduled to meet once more Wednesday to prepare for a meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, he added.

Hokanson said he, Roth and Raymond are in agreement on having a "a two-component construct" for the Space Force: one with active-duty troops and reservists and another with National Guardsmen.

Last year's annual defense policy bill bars the creation of a Space National Guard or space reserve force until the Pentagon submits a plan to Congress.

Talk about whether to establish a Space National Guard began almost in concert with the creation of the Space Force in 2019.

Hokanson's predecessor, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, also advocated for the creation of the Space National Guard, telling lawmakers last year, "I believe that it is important that the space capability currently in the National Guard should move into the Space Force."

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The top general of the National Guard has recommended that the president not federalize control of Guard troops so that they can continue to be available to assist state and local governments with law enforcement duties amid the widespread coronavirus outbreak. Air Force Gen. “A unique attribute of the National Guard is we can operate as law enforcement capacity to assist state and local law enforcement inside the states, and if you were to federalize the National Guard then you would lose that ability to do that,” Lengyel told reporters at the Pentagon and on teleconference Thursday.

The Army National Guard (ARNG), in conjunction with the Air National Guard , is an organized militia force and a federal military reserve force of the United States Army. They are simultaneously part of two different organizations: the Army National Guard of each state, most territories

The Air and Army National Guard already provide the Space Force with about 11 percent of its forces, Hokanson said in his written testimony Tuesday, calling the National Guard a "trusted space and cyber partner."

"For 25 years, National Guard space units have provided operational, unit-equipped, surge-to-war capability to protect our nation's vital interests in this contested domain," he wrote.

Still, some lawmakers remain skeptical about the potential for Space Force's costs and bureaucracy to grow.

"I'm looking forward to a breakdown on how much this is going to cost to set up a reserve and Guard Space Force as you're referring to, what would it look like in all 50 states, and if it's kind of a hybrid where you're using facilities that are already in existence with the Air Force where they're in states," Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), chairwoman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, told Hokanson.

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