More than 8,500 Airmen applied to formally transfer into the Space Force during the month of May, about half the number of people who currently work for the fledgling service.
Space Force officials will choose about 6,000 of those satellite operators, intelligence analysts, cyber professionals, and others to join the service for a two-year term, according to a June 9 release. Applicants will hear back in July about selection boards and other next steps.
“I am incredibly proud of the men and women who made the bold decision to volunteer to join the U.S. Space Force and defend the ultimate high ground,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, the service’s Chief of Space Operations.
A Space Force spokeswoman did not immediately answer how many Airmen were eligible to apply in the first, and likely only, transfer window for Active-duty USAF officers and enlisted personnel. About 16,000 people are assigned to the Space Force overall, including Air Force employees whose career fields will remain within the air service, people from the other armed forces who worked for the Space Force’s predecessor organization, and civilian employees.
Those who are selected will take their oaths in phases, starting with space operators in September. Other career fields need to wait until February 2021 to join. DOD believes the service will ultimately end up with about the same number of formal members as are assigned to it now.
Some were hesitant to sign up for transfer because they want to see how the service takes shape, or because they are unsure whether there will be a place for them as Reservists or Guardsmen. Those people are still in limbo as the Pentagon decides whether to pursue a reserve component for space.
“Air Guard and Air Force Reserve units executing space missions are currently aligned to the Space Force, and will continue supporting Space Force missions in this status while the future of the reserve component for the Space Force is determined,” the Space Force said June 9. It added: “The status of Department of the Air Force civilians, whether assigned to Air Force or Space Force organizations, is unchanged.”
People who do not want to join the Space Force will be directed to other career fields, reserve forces, separation, or retirement. They can stay in the Air Force and could be assigned a job in the Space Force.
Most Army and Navy space professionals will get the chance to join the Space Force starting in fiscal 2022, though USSF is crafting rules to let a limited number of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in during fiscal 2021.
Meanwhile, the military wants to dispel the notion that it could be embroiled in a trademark dispute with Netflix’s “Space Force” television show that debuted May 29, as suggested in a recent Hollywood Reporter article.
“Branding and trademark licensing related to the U.S. Space Force is currently underway by the Department of the Air Force, in the United States and elsewhere,” spokesperson Lynn Kirby said. “The Department of the Air Force has applied for trademark registrations for the SPACE FORCE mark with the [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office] and has common law rights to the word mark and other Space Force intellectual property. We are not aware of any trademark conflicts with the fictional program ‘Space Force’ produced by Netflix.”
The show, starring Steve Carell, does not use the official Space Force seal or other branding used by the government entity, apart from its name.
“As an equal branch in the Department of Defense, U.S. Space Force marks are afforded the same legal protections as those of the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard,” Kirby said.