Gov. Greg Abbott is lambasting the Biden administration over a new proposal that would allow the United States Air Force to transfer Air National Guard units without gubernatorial approval.

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Abbott expressed his opposition to the U.S. Department of the Air Force’s Legislative Proposal 480, which is set to be included in the next National Defense Authorization Act.

The proposal allows the Air Force to transfer the guard units to the U.S. Space Force—the U.S. military’s space services arm, reconfigured to be its own branch in 2019.

Abbott warned in his letter on May 3 that “Legislative Proposal 480, put forth by the U.S. Department of the Air Force, poses an intolerable threat to the Texas National Guard.”

“Congress has long required the consent of a governor before units can be transferred out of the National Guard he commands,” he continued. “By departing from this sensible arrangement, and allowing the Secretaries to dismantle National Guard units on a whim, Legislative Proposal 480 would set a dangerous precedent.”

The governor also noted the importance of having Guard members available to respond immediately to “natural disasters, civil disturbances, cartel activity,” and other potential crises.

“Instead of attempting such a power grab in Congress, the U.S. Department of the Air Force should work with the affected governors to build up the Space Force in a way that is consistent with federal law,” Abbott explained.

Abbott is not the first official to oppose the proposal. Over a week ago, 53 governors, including Democrats J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Jared Polis of Colorado, and Kathy Hochul of New York, signed a letter condemning it.

Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 56 U.S. representatives and 29 senators also issued a letter urging Congress to reject the proposal before it reaches the House floor.

“Congress has a duty to maintain the integrity and longstanding tradition of the National Guard, and a proposal of this magnitude threatens to undo over 120 years of precedent…We urge the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to reject the inclusion of Legislative Proposal 480 in the FY2025 NDAA,” the lawmakers wrote.

Still, Secretary of Air Force Frank Kendall has publicly contended that the proposal is a one-off maneuver that affects a tiny portion of the Guard’s personnel.

“We’re talking about a few hundred people,” Kendall told reporters last month. “The numbers for any state are less than, I think, two percent of their Guard people. And there are only a handful of states are affected.”

A White House official reiterated to The Hill this week that, despite the pushback, the administration still plans to proceed with the proposal.

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.


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