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Change to Air National Guard transfer to Space Force garners praise

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(The Center Square) – A Colorado Congressman joined a nationwide bipartisan coalition of state and federal elected officials in praising a return of authority to state governors involving transfers of Air National Guard units to U.S. Space Force.

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado’s 6th District, stated an amendment to U.S. Air Force Legislative Proposal 480 will continue giving state governors the ability to give consent before transferring National Guard units to another military branch. Many other federal and state elected officials also affirmed the decision.

“This is an important step to protect our National Guard and safeguard their commitment to serve,” Crow said in a statement. “Colorado’s guard members sign up to serve their community and nation, and that service should be respected.”

The amendment states the Secretary of the Air Force “may transfer” instead of “shall transfer” to Space Force “the covered space functions of the Air National Guard of the United States” in the U.S. Air Force Legislative Proposal 480.

The amendment also requires the Secretary of Defense to give the armed services committees in the House and Senate an annual report on the progress of the transfer of covered space functions of the Air National Guard to Space Force, including the number of officers and enlisted members transferred. The report must include a detailed description of actions taken to transfer covered space functions to Space Force. The report must provide an assessment of the effect of the transfers on the readiness and capabilities of both Space Force and the Air National Guard. A summary of any challenges encountered during the transfers and steps taken to solve those problems must also be reported.

In April, Colorado’s Democratic congressional and state leaders joined a group of 10 governors in objecting to a proposal giving the secretary of the Air Force the ability to transfer Air National Guard units to Space Force. The letter stated more than a third of all space-related National Guard members are in Colorado.

In May, governors of 48 states wrote a letter objecting to the proposal. The coalition argued the proposal impinges on the authority of state governors and puts national security and military readiness at risk. If the proposal wasn’t amended, Space Force could have added approximately 600 National Guard members from 14 units in six states and Washington, D.C.

Last week, Space Force announced Air Force Reservists in space-related career fields could volunteer in a full-time capacity in its ranks. The transfer was part of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. A media release from Space Force stated it will create “a new model of service that integrates active-component Guardians and Air Force Reservists serving in space-focused career fields into a unified service that offers both full- and part-time service options.”

“This is an important first step toward fully integrating critical space expertise from the Reserve into our force,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman said in a statement. “We’ve been serving side-by-side together, supporting the same mission, for longer than the Space Force has existed. I’m excited to officially call the teammates who decide to transfer Guardians.”

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