The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 established the Space Force as a new, independent military service within the Department of the Air Force. Intended to conduct operations that involve space—such as maintaining satellites that are used for communications, observing the weather, and monitoring other countries’ missile launches—the Space Force is currently authorized to operate only with regular (active component) personnel.
The creation of this new service has led to various proposals to establish a Space National Guard, which would supplement the Space Force’s active component forces as required. Such proposals have typically focused on existing units within the Air National Guard and Army National Guard that have space-related missions, including national space functions (such as missile warning and missile defense or space tracking) and deployable missions (primarily involving satellite communications). The Department of Defense (DoD) is studying the issue of whether to create a reserve component for the Space Force, either a Space National Guard or a Space Force Reserve, that would be similar to those of the other services.