DeWine opposes push to move Guard units into the Space Force

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has voiced opposition to a move to pull units from the National Guard for inclusion in the U.S. Space Force.

The Air Force last month sent a legislative proposal to Congress that would relieve the service from obtaining governors’ consent before altering National Guard units, transferring 14 units with space missions within the Air National Guard into the Space Force.

DeWine wrote to President Joe Biden opposing the move.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

“As commander in chief of the Ohio National Guard, I retain the responsibility for these military organizations and their missions,” DeWine wrote in a statement released Friday. “Usurping this power would be unprecedented, and I respectfully ask that you do not do so.

“Every Ohio National Guard member takes an oath not only to the United States of America, but to Ohio as well,” the governor added. “I honor their dual commitment by ensuring that all Ohio National Guard members can serve in the communities where they live, work, and raise their families. When called, they stand ready to deploy — anytime, anywhere.”

Dubbed “legislative proposal 480,” the action would federalize Guard units, including units from the Ohio National Guard, into the Space Force and give the secretary of the Air Force discretion to move airmen or eliminate units.

In his letter to Biden, DeWine said the proposal undermines the intent of the Militia Act of 1903 and circumvents the authority of governors.

“There’s no intention to move anyone,” Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall told senators recently. “There’s some concerns out there that I think are overblown. People will basically have stability if they transition.”

DeWine emphasized what his statement called his “overall support for the missions of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force and encouraged the federal government to consider alternative methods for calling on the Ohio National Guard to support these missions.”

“This move represents a significant federal overreach that should concern governors and federal lawmakers alike,” Francis M. McGinn, president of the National Guard Association of the United States, wrote in a recent op-ed. “This is an attempt to bypass the longstanding authority Congress gave to governors requiring their consent before any National Guard units can be removed from their states.”

The 2024 defense budget and policy bill required the Air Force to explore creating a separate National Guard component for the Space Force.

There are about 1,000 Air Guard space-focused members serving full-time and part-time in Ohio, New York, Florida, Hawaii, Colorado and other states, according to the National Guard Association of the United States.

Questions about the proposal’s impact on Ohio were sent to a spokesman for DeWine.

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