At the beginning of May, the Pentagon announced that they would begin accepting requests for transfer to the newly established Space Force among Airmen trained in a handful of specific military occupational specialities. This week, the Space Force announced that it had received more than 8,500 such transfer requests, but only about 6,000 of those who requested transfer will likely find a new home in the Space Force.
“I am incredibly proud of the men and women who made the bold decision to volunteer to join the U.S. Space Force and defend the ultimate high ground,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, chief of space operations, U.S. Space Force. “It is a critical time for space, and those Airmen will build the Space Force necessary to compete, deter, and win as required to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy.”
In all, around 16,000 service members and civilians currently fall under the newly established command element of the U.S. Space Force, but most remain members of the U.S. Air Force. The vast majority of the new branch’s personnel all previously hailed from the now-defunct U.S. Air Force Space Command, meaning they are effectively doing the same job that they did in the Air Force, but now fall under the banner of the nation’s newest branch.
The transfer requests came from both officer and enlisted Airmen in occupational speciality codes that are considered “organic” to the new branch and some that are shared between it and the Air Force. The “organic” speciality codes include space operations (13S) and space systems operations (1C6). Other occupational specialties that were open to transfer requests because they are considered organic to both the Air Force and Space Force include: intelligence (14N), cyberspace operations (17X), developmental engineer (62E), acquisition manager (63A), operations intelligence (1N0), geospatial intelligence (1N1), signals intelligence (1N2), fusion analyst (1N4), targeting analyst (1N8), cyberspace support (3D0), and client systems (3D1).
Space Force leadership will have to narrow down the requests by around 2,500. They plan to do so by comparing those requests with their anticipated need in terms of specialties and ranks within the command structure. Once completed, Airmen will be notified in July of their acceptance and will be provided guidance regarding follow-on action.
“We are excited to continue to move forward and build the ranks of the Space Force with these great volunteers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, senior enlisted advisor, U.S. Space Force. “Our priority over the next several months is to ensure we optimize the talent of both services and offer a transition that is seamless and befitting each individual and their loved one’s commitment to our Space Force.”
Not all Airmen with Space Force specific occupational specialties have requested transfer out of the Air Force, however. In the coming months, those Airmen will be provided guidance as well, offering them the opportunity to retrain for a new Air Force-specific career field, to transfer to the reserve component, or may apply for early separation or retirement.
Plans are in place for a similar transfer opportunity for both U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Navy Sailors in 2022 or 2023. For the Marines out there waiting for their chance to establish their own platoon of Space Marines, however, you’ll have to wait. Thus far, there has been no guidance regarding Marine transfers to the new branch, as no occupational specialities within the Corps pertain directly to maintaining space operations.
If you are in the Air Force and would like to learn more about transferring to the Space Force, you can find more information here.