The Space Force has opened 2,022 applications for Soldiers, Sailors and Marines to transition into the new military branch, but the number of available spots will be sharply reduced this year.
In a post on Reddit last week, the authenticity of which has been verified by a department spokesperson, chief of space operations, Gen. John Raymond, the service’s senior officer, said that only 243 slots – 29 officers and 214 enlisted – will be available.
“I can’t thank you enough for volunteering to transfer to Space Force,” Raymond said in his post. “Your skills, dedication, and day-to-day contributions are essential to accomplishing our mission – protecting U.S. and allied interests in space to ensure our wartime partners have the space capabilities they need to carry out their mission.”
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This year’s transfer quota is a dramatic change from last year, when 720 members from other services joined the Space Force. Nearly 4,000 soldiers have applied to transfer to the new service in 2021.
A Space Force spokesperson told Military.com that the drop in transfers is part of the service’s plan to be a leaner branch, while continuing to attract talent from the Army, Navy and military. marine corps.
But some experts believe having fewer places open for transfers could indicate waning interest from troops.
Robert Farley, a professor at the University of Kentucky who studies national security and intelligence with a focus on Space Force, said the creation of the service in late 2019 sparked a desire to join something brand new, but added that the excitement may fade.
“Each cohort after the first cohort will be less enthusiastic about joining the Space Force because the enthusiastic people try to transfer first,” Farley said.
The Space Force immediately began looking for ways to increase its ranks in its early stages, attracting a lot of interest from existing Army space and satellite units, Farley said.
“In the military, there was considerable interest from their space personnel to be part of the Space Force,” he said. “One concern they expressed was that Space Force was going to become Air Force-like over time, and they wanted to go in on the ground floor.”
In addition to individual transfers, the Space Force picked up entire satellite units from other branches of the military.
Last year, the Pentagon announced that 11 Army units and four Navy units would be transferred to the Space Force, made up of nearly 600 military and civilian employees.
Many of those transfers are taking place this year due to Congress’ delay in passing last year’s budget.
The Naval Satellite Operations Center — NAVSOC — at Naval Base Ventura County in Mugu, Calif., was placed under Space Force’s Space Delta 8 earlier this month, bringing nearly 500 new military and civilian personnel, as well than 13 of its satellites.
Raymond said in his post that they are “awaiting transfer of Army SATCOM [satellite communication] missions, and the 200 civilians and 350 associated troops are also due to take place in mid-August. »
The Space Force currently has approximately 7,000 active duty Guardians.
“This will be the first time that all of SATCOM’s responsibilities will be brought together under one service,” Raymond said in his post. “To our new Navy and Army teammates, we are thrilled to have you on the Space Force team and look forward to continuing the critical missions you lead every day.”
Space Force began accepting interservice transfers on June 15; the application window closes on June 30.
— Thomas Novelly can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.
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