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Report: Costs of Creating a Space National Guard Would Be High

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 4, 2020
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by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It would cost from $100 million to $490 million annually to operate a Space National Guard to serve as a reserve for the newly established U.S. Space Force, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The Space Force is currently authorized to operate with active-duty personnel only. A Space National Guard would be a reserve force that would be called up as needed to provide additional resources.

CBO examined two scenarios for creating the reserve force:

  • transferring 1,500 personnel from existing Air National Guard and Army National Guard units to a new Space National Guard; and,
  • creating a larger Space National Guard composed of 4,900 to 5,800 personnel.

CBO estimated the Department of Defense (DoD) would need to spend an additional $100 million annually to maintain the smaller force of 1,500 personnel.

“Creation of such a force also would probably result in onetime costs of about $20 million for the construction of additional facilities,” the report stated.

A larger Space National Guard with 4,900 to 5,800 personnel would be “one-third the size of the Space Force, the same size that the Air National Guard currently is in relation to the Air Force,” the document added.

“CBO estimates that DoD would incur $385 million to $490 million in additional costs annually to operate and support this larger Space National Guard,” CBO said. “Creation of this larger force also would probably result in onetime costs of $400 million to $900 million for constructing additional facilities and equipping the new units.”

Control of the Air and Army National guards is shared between the federal government and states and territories. Instead of following that model, DoD could establish a Space Force Reserve that would operate exclusively at the federal level, CBO said.

“However, the costs of National Guard or reserve units would not differ significantly. The size of the reserve component would be the primary factor affecting costs,” the report said.

You can read the full report here.

3 responses to “Report: Costs of Creating a Space National Guard Would Be High”

  1. ThomasLMatula says:

    High? The Air Guard costs around $4.3 billion a year. Seems that $400-500 million is not that much given the importance of space assets like GPS. Below is the Air Guard budget for comparison to the discussed budget for the Space Force National Guard. Also to put it into perspective a Boeing 747 freighter runs about $400 million per aircraft. Seems a real bargin to be able to create a Space Force National Guard for just bit more than an commercial jet freighter…

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