Greg Abbott Accuses Biden Admin of ‘Power Grab’ in National Guard Issue

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on President Joe Biden to withdraw the Pentagon proposal that asks Congress to override the law giving governors authority over their state’s National Guard so the Air Force could transfer some Air National Guard units to the US Space Force.

The Pentagon in March asked the Senate Armed Services Committee to include the override as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2025. If approved, the move would give the Secretary of the Air Force the authority to transfer about 1,000 members of the Air National Guard to the Space Force.

In a May 6 press release, the Texas governor said the proposed change would “set a dangerous precedent by giving the Secretary of the Air Force unilateral authority” while “sidelining Governors” who are the commanders-in-chief of their state’s National Guard units.

Abbott told the president in a May 6 letter that the proposal posed “an intolerable threat to the Texas National Guard.” He warned that overriding “this sensible arrangement” would allow military secretaries “to dismantle National Guard units on a whim.”

The Texas governor suggested that rather than attempt this “power grab in Congress,” the Air Force “should work with the affected governors” within current federal law “to build up the Space Force.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent a similar letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees on May 3.

On Capitol Hill, 29 US Senators and 56 members of the House also sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees calling for them to reject the proposal, which they described as “deeply flawed.”

The lawmakers, led by Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) in the House and Colorado Senators John Hickenlooper  and Michael Bennet in the Senate, warned that the proposal would “undermine our National Guard system.”