It’s been about a year and a half since the Trump administrations established the Space Force, and it’s clear that the branch is here to stay. Other parts of the US military are also focusing on space, especially as competition with Russia and China is now the Pentagon’s priority.
While there is no formal Space Force National Guard, the chief of the National Guard Bureau told Congress that he is prioritizing and contributing to US military operations in space. “Among my most pressing concerns … [is] the establishment of a Space National Guard,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson told the House Appropriations subcommittee at a Guard budget hearing on Tuesday.
Hokanson said the Guard’s “space-focused role” includes about 2,000 guardsmen out of the 441,539-strong reserve force. He said that while the National Guard is “the primary combat reserve force” for the Army and Air Force, it also provides “operational capability to the Space Force.”
Calls within the military have been growing for a National Guard that works specifically as part of the Space Force. During last year’s budget hearing, the former Guard chief made the argument for such a service. “I believe that it is important that the space capability currently in the National Guard should move into the Space Force,” Gen. Joseph Lengyel said.
Now that there is a military branch focused on space, the US needs enemies in space, and Space Force leaders have been hyping the threat of Russia and China in the new theater to justify spending.
On Monday, a top Space Force commander said communication channels should be set up between the US and countries like Russia and China to avoid future conflicts in space.