The plan is to nearly triple that end-strength this year, through a mix of civilian recruitment and transfers from existing service members, mostly from the Air Force, but also a handful from the Army and Navy’s space career fields.
“Over the course of that last six months or so, we have gone through and selected those that are going to come into the Space Force,” Gen. Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, told Military Times on Wednesday. “And on the active-duty side, that’s approximately 6,400 active-duty airmen that are going to transfer into the Space Force.”
So far, 2,400 of those have already transferred, including through Air Force commissioning sources or enlisted basic military training.
Raymond’s comments came on a day when White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the Biden administration is “not revisiting” the Trump administration’s move to stand up the new service, putting to bed simmering rumors about its future.
As it’s nested under the Air Force Department, airmen in space career fields were identified to transfer into the Space Force. But the intention have a mix things up this year with some former soldiers and sailors from space backgrounds ― including engineers, intelligence, acquisitions and cyber specialists ― as well as to recruit civilians the way the other services do.
They’re looking for another 34 to transfer in 2021 from the Army and Navy, Raymond said, and several hundred more in 2022.
“You can’t order somebody to come in the Space Force,” he said. “It’s all voluntary.”
To that end, Space Force has done some online town halls for virtual questions and answers.
At the same time, hundreds are coming in through civilian recruiting, as well as through the academy.
“Two years ago, coming out of the Air Force Academy, we had 30 cadets that came to [Air Force Space Command],” Raymond said. “Last year, the first year that the Space Force was in existence, we had 84.”
The academy’s next graduating class will include 116 Space Force second lieutenants, Raymond said. To be selected, each goes through an interview process with a Space Force general, including Raymond.
“We have more people applying than we have slots for,” Raymond said of the Air Force Academy.
The goal is to bring in an additional 550 guardians through recruiting this year, Space Force spokeswoman Lynn Kirby told Military Times.
For more information on inter-service transfers, visit Space Force’s website.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT