The Space Force invited active-duty airmen in specialized fields to transfer into the new service in May 2020, according to a news release. The 2,410 new “space operators” were chosen from a pool of more than 8,500 applicants and will grow the initial ranks of the service and will serve in “the organic space specialties of space operations (13S) and space systems operations (1C6).”
“This is an exciting and historic time for these space operators who will be some of the first members to join the Space Force,” Lt. Gen. David “DT” Thompson, vice commander, U.S Space Force, said in the release. “Each one of them has an important responsibility to contribute bold ideas to shape the Space Force into a 21st century service.”
The press release highlights that the volunteers chosen were in space operations career fields, with the remainder of volunteers in professional areas common to both the Space Force and Air Force, such as geospatial intelligence, cyberspace operations, and developmental engineering.
For members of the Army and Navy who wish to enter the Space Force, the time frame to make the transfer is in fiscal years 2022-2023, the press release notes.
First established in December 2019 an a service under the Air Force, news of the newly-formed military branch was met with some criticism, even prompting a Netflix comedy series of the same name.
According to its website, the USSF “is a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. USSF responsibilities include developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.”
In February, President Donald Trump asked for $15.4 billion in funding for the USSF, according to Space News, which also reported that the House Appropriations defense subcommittee was concerned that the military branch did not have a civilian leader in charge of acquisitions.
Last week, The Verge reported members of the House Appropriations Committee did not substantially increase NASA’s budget, “potentially jeopardizing the agency’s plans of sending astronauts back to the Moon by 2024.”