No Space Force Reserve Yet, Scobee Says

Orlando, Fla.—Details of how the Air Force Reserve will support the U.S. Space Force “haven’t been fully fleshed out,” but for the moment, any backup it provides will remain under the purview of Air Force Reserve Command, its chief said Feb. 27.

Analysis of how Reservists will be incorporated into the new service is still underway, Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen Richard Scobee said during an interview with Air Force Magazine at AFA’s 2020 Air Warfare Symposium here.  Though “a couple different” options exist, the current plan is to “delay slightly” while that is figured out.

“Regardless, I don’t see any limitations at all to the service that we’re going to be able to provide, so the same things we’re doing today we’ll continue to do, and it’ll stay under the Air Force Reserve Command, until we’re ready to move it over,” he said.

Congress will ultimately decide what the Space Force’s Reserve component should look like, a topic of contention within the Pentagon on the National Guard side as well. Bloomberg Government reported Feb. 28 that the Defense Department’s draft plan for lawmakers does not include a blueprint for incorporating Air National Guard space units into the new service.

Once the Space Force is “fully supported,” Reserve Airmen already working in Air Force Specialty Codes that fall within its wheelhouse will “stay doing those kinds of things, which runs the gamut of what we do in space,” Scobee said. There are more than 1,500 Reservists today conducting space missions. Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond “is really going to be keen on making sure” the Reserve transfers its Airmen’s pre-existing skills and experience in the space realm into the new service.

Maj. Gen. Kim Crider, Raymond’s mobilization assistant and a Reservist, noted that Reserve members can bring outside life experiences to help the fledgling Space Force work through its unique problems.

“There’s more mission than there are people to do it,” she said in a Feb. 27 interview. “Having … this force that can augment the mission is a really important piece, and the Reserve, in particular, currently carries about 20 percent of the mission. So that’s a really important thing that we want to continue.”

Scobee stressed that creating a Space Force Reserve shouldn’t create any additional complications for those personnel and their families. He predicts any transition will be simplified by the fact that the Reserve doesn’t have any space assets of its own to migrate over.

He also looks forward to having “a blank slate” on which to build “this force in a 21st-century model,” especially since the Reserve’s current concept was formulated in the “middle of last century.”

“The things that hamper the ability for our Airmen to be successful? We don’t wanna recreate that in the Space Force,” he said. 

Senior Editor Rachel S. Cohen contributed to this story.