Biden admin’s National Guard ‘power grab’ slammed by former general as governors put up rare united front

A proposal that would reassign Air National Guard troops to the Space Force without the consent of governors is an “existential threat” to the part-time force that would erode operational efficiency and eliminate a longstanding precedent, critics say.Legislative Proposal 480 was submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee by the Department of Defense in an effort to bolster the Space Force, the U.S. military’s youngest branch created during the Trump administration. The move would override a longtime tradition that requires the Department of Defense to acquire gubernatorial approval before transferring Guard members to another military branch.”This is really a wholesale harvesting of the units, the people, the structure, the equipment and the facilities in transferring them out of the National Guard from the governors and just placing them in the active component Space Force,” retired Maj. Gen. Francis M. McGinn, president of the National Guard Association, told Fox News Digital.US ARMY SOLDIER DETAINED, CHARGED IN RUSSIA WITH CRIMINAL MISCONDUCT: OFFICIALSUnder LP480, Air National Guard troops who perform space missions could be brought over to the Space Force and designated as part-timers without approval from the governor of the state where the unit is based. The National Guard and Air National Guard are the primary combat reserve components for the active-duty Army and Air Force. They are called upon to perform a variety of missions when they respond to requests from civilian authorities during emergencies, including disaster relief and security.The National Guard falls under the authority of the respective governors of the 55 states and territories of the United States, until they are federalized, such as when they are deployed to war zones. “The original intent of the National Guard was to have a force ready to respond to the needs of their state and country,” according to the more than 80 congressional lawmakers from both parties who were part of a Tuesday letter to the Senate and House Armed Service committees. “Because of this, authority was placed in the hands of each state’s individual governor. This is more than a matter of governance; governors bear the responsibility to protect the safety of their citizens by maintaining the readiness and deployability of their National Guard units.”US AIR FORCE SECRETARY KENDALL FLIES IN COCKPIT OF PLANE CONTROLLED BY AIAll 55 governors have come out against the plan, arguing that it would usurp their authority. Several of them have spoken with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III to express their opposition to the measure.”Federal law requires consultation and approval from Governors on any decisions to move National Guard units, plain and simple,” reads a Thursday statement from the National Governors Association (NGA) chair, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, and the vice chair, Democrat Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. “Until Air Force leaders withdraw LP 480, they are in violation of federal law. We cannot have productive conversations on this matter until LP 480 is set aside. Governors are united on this point.”Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has mobilized National Guard soldiers to assist local authorities in handling illegal immigration at the southern border, called LP480 a “power grab.”Fox News Digital has reached out to the Space Force and Kendall’s office. In a May 3 letter from Kendall to Cox, the Air Force secretary said the intent of the proposal isn’t to set a precedent or disregard the role of governors. AIR FORCE SETS SIGHTS ON HIGH-TECH LASER WEAPONS”Rather, the proposal would help complete the standing up of the U.S. Space Force,” reads the letter, which was obtained by Fox News Digital from a source familiar with the issue.Kendall noted that the Space Force has integrated space missions previously performed by the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Air Force has decided that such missions performed by the Air National Guard should also become part of the Space Force, he said. LP408 could impact 1,008 Air Guard troops across 14 units in seven states, according to Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael Bruno, the National Guard Association chair of the Space task force. The Space Force as a whole is made up of only a few thousand Guardians, Bruno told Fox News Digital.Several Air National Guard members are part-time and hold civilian jobs, said Bruno, who noted that a majority would refuse to transfer, which could impact national security because new people would have to be recruited and trained to be mission capable. “What would happen is we would have a seven- to 10-year gap in capability and readiness,” Bruno said. “That capability gap for national security is the most important piece that we would lose, and they’re willing to take that risk.”The Space Force states its mission is to protect the U.S. to operate freely in space as well as keep it secure, “stable and accessible for military space power and new waves of innovation.””Right now, we are providing 30% of the space missions in the National Guard for the total Space Force, and we’re providing 60% of the electronic warfare missions,” said McGinn, who added that many airmen surveyed said they would prefer to remain in the Air National Guard. “They joined the Guard for a reason,” he added. “They want to stay in their community. They like doing the state mission. They don’t have to relocate. So, they’re not going to go.”Another issue that will hamper operations in the future will be recruiting Guard members to fill the mainly administrative roles they will be assigned if transferred to the Space Force, McGinn said.”No one is going to sign up for that,” he said. “And if they do get anyone dumb enough to be recruited, they’re not going to be retained because they’re going to be bored, and they’re going to leave.”
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