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DeWine wants Ohio guard troops to stay under his control

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wants President Joe Biden to stop an Air Force plan to permanently federalize part of the Ohio National Guard into the U.S. Space Force.

The Air Force sent Legislative Proposal 480 to Congress in March. It would federalize U.S. National Guard units, including some from Ohio, into the Space Force and give sole authority to move soldiers or eliminate units to the secretary of the Air Force.

In a letter to Biden, DeWine called the move unprecedented. He also said the plan undermines the Militia Act of 1903 and circumvents governors’ authority across the country.

“As commander in chief of the Ohio National Guard, I retain the responsibility for these military organizations and their missions,” DeWine wrote. “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. 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.”

DeWine, a long supporter of the Space Force and an advocate for moving parts, if not all, of the program to Ohio, wants Biden to consider other options.

“This mission can be readily fulfilled through the constitution of a Space National Guard, under the governors and state adjutants generals,” DeWine wrote. “In the alternative, existing Air National Guard support to both Air and Space forces fully meets mission requirements. I urge you to adopt either approach and direct the Department of the Air Force to immediately implement such a solution.”

As previously reported by The Center Square, a bipartisan group of Ohio congressmen pushed the Defense Department to house the Space Force training center in Ohio at the NASA Glenn Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky.

The lawmakers wrote that the numerous space and national security industries and world-class research universities in the state – along with existing Air Force and NASA bases and facilities – make Ohio suited to be home to the mission.

In mid-2023, Biden announced the U.S. Space Command headquarters would stay in Colorado, despite heavy lobbying from Ohio and other states to move it.