Governors Respond to Discussion with Air Force Secretary Kendall on National Guard Proposal

Washington, D.C.– National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Governor Spencer Cox of Utah and Vice Chair Governor Jared Polis of Colorado released the following statement after a discussion on Wednesday with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall on Legislative Proposal 480 (LP 480), which would reassign specified Air National Guard units to the U.S. Space Force without legally required approval from Governors. Governors, including NGA and Council of Governors (COG) leadership, joined Secretary Kendall for a briefing and discussion late Wednesday after Governors of all 55 states and territories expressed strong opposition to the proposal. 

“Governors from both parties in all 55 states and territories unanimously object to the proposal to transfer certain National Guard units out of states, and the continued failure of the Air Force to meaningfully consider gubernatorial authority is very concerning. 

“We appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with Secretary Kendall, and we are disappointed that he did not commit to withdrawing the proposal. 

“Federal law requires consultation and approval from Governors on any decisions to move National Guard units, plain and simple. Until Air Force leaders withdraw LP 480, they are in violation of federal law. We cannot have productive conversations on this matter until LP 480 is set aside. Governors are united on this point. 

“Governors remain united, ready and willing to work with the Air Force and Defense Department in a way that comports with federal law, honors our trusted historical partnership with our Armed Services, and satisfies decades of precedent. We look forward to engaging with Defense Secretary Austin on this critical issue.”

In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III, Governors expressed opposition to Legislative Proposal 480 (LP480) on the grounds that it would weaken or eliminate Governor authority over the National Guard and threaten readiness and operational efficacy of their units. The 10 members of the federally appointed Council of Governors also issued a letter opposing the policy.