Governor Kristi Noem’s pimping of our National Guard to billionaires’ ideological whims was unethical; if Congress has its way, it will also be illegal. The U.S. House Armed Services Committee Wednesday added to the National Defense Authorization Act a provision that would ban using private funds to pay for interstate Guard deployments like Governor Noem’s photo-opful dispatch of South Dakota Guards to Texas. The proposal came from Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who actually represents the Texans Noem pretended to be protecting:
“I don’t believe that our National Guard should be up for auction or up for sale,” Escobar said in introducing the amendment. “I think that limits transparency — we have no idea who is funding” a potential deployment of Guard troops, she added.
“We don’t know if any of those sources are foreign government sources that are being funneled through private entities,” Escobar said. “We don’t even know if those sources are adversaries to our interests” [Paul McLeary and Connor O’Brien, “House Committee Bars Private Funding for National Guard Deployments,” Politico, 2021.09.01].
But hey, if Congress stops Noem from sending our Guards on mercenary missions for out-of-state billionaires, maybe she’ll get to send some of our Guards to space! The House Armed Services Committee also approved creating a separate Space National Guard to support the new Space Force (perhaps the only cool remnant of the previous Administration):
Colorado representatives Doug Lamborn (R) and Jason Crow (D) cosponsored the amendment proposing to establish the Space National Guard that won approval in the House on Sept. 1.
“There has been widespread and ongoing interest in and support for creating a Space National Guard,” Lamborn told Air Force Magazine in a statement, noting that Colorado has more National Guard units and personnel conducting space operations than any other state.
“After waiting for a plan for two years, we decided to act,” he added. “The Space National Guard will bring operational mission readiness and provide equipped, surge-to-war capabilities that are vital for our nation.”
The House amendment would realign the National Guard units already working on space missions under the Space National Guard.
National Guard Association spokesman John Goheen told Air Force Magazine that creating a Space National Guard is the best decision for the Guard, Space Force, and national security.
“It makes the most sense to give the Space Force a surge capability with a reserve Space National Guard,” he said [Abraham Mahshie, “Lawmakers Have One Month to Hash Out Future of Space National Guard,” Air Force Magazine, 2021.09.02].
South Dakota is not among the eight states (Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New York, and Ohio, plus Guam!) that have “space professionals”, but since we’re still looking for South Dakota’s next big thing (covid doesn’t count, Kristi), boy, I think Space Guards would be it! Reclaim old missile silos as launch pads, extend the runways at Ellsworth to land future winged spacecraft—we could build the next great space base and establish the infrastructure and expertise for the 22nd-century West River Interplanetary Spaceport!