LIHUE — The United States Air Force has approved the Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility as the preferred alternative for the Air National Guard’s “Space Control Squadron.”
“By selecting a site on Kauai, the Air Force will create a new, highly technical squadron to monitor U.S. satellites in support of the national security space mission, ensuring that the military and other national security agencies have access to satellite communication, intelligence, and key information,” a press release said.
The unit will also support 88 new Hawaii Air National Guard positions, including 29 full-time positions and 59 part-time, drill-status positions.
Kauai Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said the Hawaii Air National Guard was one of the first units to respond to Kauai following the April 2018 flood.
He said it continues to be a critical partner to the ongoing response and recovery efforts, “and we are pleased to hear of the increased presence here on island.
“We welcome the additional employment opportunities for our local folks, particularly in the areas of science, math, and technology,” he said.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, said this decision reaffirms the importance of Hawaii’s strategic role in national security and is proof that the men and women of Hawaii’s Air National Guard are the best in the world.
“While this new unit will help strengthen the Air Force’s space capabilities and advance our national security interests, it also means more federal funds for the state and more opportunities for local jobs,” he said.
The Air Force anticipates completing the basing process by summer 2020, with the squadron becoming partially operational in fiscal year 2021 and then fully operational by FY 2022.