Senators Obsessed With Creating ‘Space National Guard’ for Some Reason

The two senators have reached across the aisle to argue for the creation of more bureaucracy and more military.

Not content with Donald Trump's Space Force or the world's most expensive military, two high-profile senators say the United States now needs a "Space National Guard" so that the country's various space troops can "operate as a seamless team."

Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Dianne Feinstein of California argued in Defense News that all of this is needed to keep up with China and Russia’s recent space investments.

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The Space Force, which Donald Trump created in 2019, is barely three years old and already congressional leaders are looking for ways to expand it. Their justification is a 2022 Defense Intelligence Agency report that makes the case that Russia and China have both grown their space assets by 70 percent in recent years. It’s true that Russia and China have both put more satellites into orbit recently, but at the moment the U.S. still dominates the space.

But Rubio and Feinstein, as well as various military leaders, argue that it will take a lot of investment in the near future to maintain that edge. Their argument is a bureaucratic one, they say that the Air National Guard troops operating under the Air Force need to be transferred to the Space Force. 

“Our space units should operate as a seamless team, but they can’t do that while divided between two services,” they said. “Instead, they’re dependent on added bureaucracy to conduct basic functions—training troops, acquiring resources, setting standards, inspecting units and mobilizing personnel. The division also makes it impossible to build a strong organizational culture.”

This ignores the fact that the Space Force and its Guardians are already technically part of the Department of the Air Force. It’s similar to how the Marines are technically a part of the Navy. The branches are separate and have a degree of autonomy, but Space Forces ultimately answer to the Air Force. The Navy and Marines are more like “sister branches.” Shuffling direct control of the Air National Guard troops doing space work probably won’t change that.

It will, however, create more bureaucracy and probably cost a lot of money. This is the main reason other members of Congress and the White House have pushed back on the idea. “Establishing a Space National Guard would not deliver new capabilities—it would instead create new government bureaucracy,” the White House said in a statement about the subject in 2021. “Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units with space missions have effectively performed their roles with no adverse effect on DOD’s space mission since the establishment of the Space Force.”

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the creation of a Space National Guard would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Rubio and Feinstein waved this off in their op-ed. “As a nation, we can’t let distorted budget estimates distract us from the urgent task at hand: maintaining our edge in space,” they said.

It would be nice if the senators applied the logic of not worrying about budget estimates to any area of American life outside of military spending.

Tagged:

space force, worldnews

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