Springfield Guard unit may be impacted by Space Force Guard plan

Adjutant general says Space Force move would create ‘capability gap’ for Ohio

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

State leaders are unable to say how many members of the Ohio National Guard would be impacted by an Air Force plan to pull some members into the U.S. Space Force.

But an Air National Guard unit in Springfield may potentially be affected, a spokeswoman for the Ohio National Guard said Monday.

In April, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine asked President Biden to withdraw a proposal that would incorporate Guard members into Space Force.

In response to questions from the Dayton Daily News, Major General John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general, said in a statement that the Air Force’s current legislative proposal “circumvents the Title 10 and Title 32 authority of the governor, as commander-in-chief of the Ohio National Guard.”

Harris called the plan “a clear overreach of federal power. If the proposal is allowed to occur, this would create a critical capability gap.

“The Air Force has reached out to Gov. DeWine, along with all the governors of all other states and territories but has offered no resolution to this point,” Harris added.

Heidi Griesmer, a spokeswoman for the Guard, said the state had no estimate on how many Guard members in Ohio would be affected by the plan.

The Air Force has said fewer than 600 Air National Guard members from six states would be affected.

The Dayton Daily News has requested an interview with Harris about the situation.

“Usurping this power would be unprecedented, and I respectfully ask that you do not do so,” DeWine said in April. “Every Ohio National Guard member takes an oath not only to the United States of America, but to Ohio as well. 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.”

Governors of both parties have expressed opposition to the plan.

According to the National Guard Bureau, the Air National Guard has conducted space-oriented missions for some 25 years. The nation’s primary “surge-to-war” reserve component space forces reside in 14 units in seven states, including Ohio.

More than 1,000 airmen make up 11% of Space Force professionals.

At the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport, the 178th Wing has 926 members in Springfield and more than 1,200 in geographically separated units, according to an online fact sheet. Intelligence squadrons are part of the wing, including the 126th Intelligence Squadron, which supports NASIC — the National Air and Space Intelligence Center — at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

That unit would potentially be affected, Griesmer said Monday.

A draft version of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act would allow the Air Force to transfer Air National Guard units with space missions into the Space Forces, according to Air and Space Forces magazine.

The bill limits the number of personnel that could be transferred to “not more than 580 members of the Air National Guard,” the magazine said.

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