The U.S. Space Force is well on its way and right on target. It now has about half of its staff (110 out of 200) for its headquarters division. The nation’s newest branch of the military will eventually gain about 15,000 civilian and military personnel by 2024 as it continues to be structured. Currently, about 16,000 airmen serve on a temporary basis at what used to be known as Air Force Space Command, and those who wish to transfer will be welcomed into the new service.
Major General Clinton Crosier said the new branch will focus on five technical areas: space acquisition and science, space cyber, space engineering, space intelligence, and space operations. It will also adopt 16 specialty codes from the Air Force that will relate to the main functions:
- 13S Space Ops
- 1C6 Space Systems Ops
- 14N Intel
- 17C Cyber Ops Officer
- 17D Cyber Ops
- 1N0 All Source Intel
- 1N1 Geospatial Intel
- 1N2 Signals Intel
- 3D1N4 Fusion Analysis
- 3D0 Cyber Ops
- 3D1 Cyber Support
- 62E Development Engineer
- 62S Materiel Leader
- 63A Acquisition Manager
- 63G Senior Materiel Ldr-Upper Ech
- 63S Materiel Leader
Since the Space Force is a part of the Air Force, most of the personnel will come from that branch – about 80%, the general said. However, service members from other branches will also be considered, and currently the headquarters already has 26 soldiers, 14 sailors, and two Marines in addition to the airmen. Creating and joining the new force will not be easy. Although it will be the smallest of the military branches, it will also be exploring a new frontier.
“It’s going to be sized differently; it’s going to have to run differently,” Crosier said. “We’re going to have to tailor different policies and issues to the Space Force.” The challenge will be bringing the members together to “meld them into a common culture.”
Joining the Space Force
As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of people who would give their right arm for an opportunity to join this new military branch. In fact, Vice Commander of the U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. David Thompson said they posted 31 civilian job openings in the office of Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond and that, as of the end February, 5,722 candidates have applied.
Thompson suggested there was no shortage of people wishing to get into the program, military and civilian alike:
“Following Congress’ decisive and bipartisan work to establish the Space Force as our sixth branch of the armed forces, we can confidently report excitement across the Department is high. And the commitment from our leadership to get this right is resolute.”
Of the 16,000 temporary military personnel already in place, about 6,000 will be offered transfer into the program. General Crosier said others wishing to apply will have to enlist directly into the Space Force and will go to Air Force basic academy. “We will commission people from any service and put them directly in the Space Force pipeline,” he assured.
But for those already in the military in a different branch who wish to transfer, Crosier warned that it’s “a very technical process that has to take place.” Those interested would have to first formally resign their current commission and then recommission or enlist in the Space Force. However, if you’re not in the Air Force, a transfer could take years.
According to Crosier, transfers from the other branches have “always been in the [fiscal] 2022 timeframe, simply because we believe it will take some time to get the transition right with those Air Force members who are transitioning.” He added, “But then, we want to take the appropriate amount of time to make sure, when we transfer those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, that we’ve got all the right pieces of infrastructure in place to be able to do that.”
The first official transferring is scheduled for September of this year.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
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