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The Air Force is tightening its rules governing who can wear the space badge.
Beginning Jan. 1, the badge will be renamed space operations badge and restricted to airmen in the 1C6 space systems operations enlisted career field or 13S space operations officers, or airmen in other career fields who meet certain criteria, Air Force Space Command said Dec. 10.
To earn the space operations badge, those other airmen must be directly involved in using space systems to deliver space capabilities, such as sending commands to satellites in orbit, performing space-launch countdown duties, performing operations duties in the Joint Space Operations Center or working a space staff assignment in Air Force Space Command Headquarters. They must have completed three years of such duties to earn the basic badge, seven years to earn the senior badge, and 15 years to earn the command badge. Airmen also must receive the approval of the Air Force Space Command’s vice commander to receive the badge.
“With other operational specialty badges, wear of the badge is normally reserved for that operational Air Force specialty code,” Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, said in a memo. “[For example] pilot wings are awarded only to those who earned a pilot AFSC. However, it’s clear to me that other selected individuals in other AFSCs perform operations-focused space duties. As a result, I’d like to be true to the spirit of all [Air Force] operational specialty badges, while recognizing we are a little different in the space business.”
Space command spokesman Master Sgt. Kevin Williams said in an e-mail that until Jan. 1, space professionals from all cadre AFSCs have been awarded the badge.
“Originally, the space operations badge was meant to be a cross-functional badge,” Williams said. “It was to be worn by both officers and enlisted personnel serving in multiple Air Force specialty codes, including operations, acquisition, intelligence, cyberspace and weather. This change focuses [the] award on operations-related duties while normalizing and aligning award of the space badge with other occupational badges in the Air Force.”