HONOLULU — The Hawaii Air National Guard will start selecting candidates in April for one of four space control squadrons in the country in the Air National Guard, military officials said.

The state Air Guard would select 88 military members for the 293rd Space Control Squad based at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports.

“We’re not going to be able to hire 88 on day one, because it’s highly technical positions,” Hawaii Air Guard commander Brig. Gen. Ryan Okahara said. “So it’s going to take us a while. But because of that a third of the people that we start the unit with will be likely trained, experienced space officers and space enlisted that are in other locations.”

Operations by the new squadron are classified, but their main objective is to protect and defend our satellite communication systems, he said.

The announcement comes after President Donald Trump signed the $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act in December funding the military and creating the Space Force, the first new armed service since 1947.

The Space Force now stands alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

“Space is the world’s newest warfighting domain,” Trump said. “Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. We’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, and very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot.”

The Space Force has offensive and defensive space control squadrons but the Air National Guard was asked to create four more offensive units, Okahara said. The other three space control squadrons are in Florida, Colorado and California.

“We don’t have a Space National Guard yet, but that’s probably in the works,” Okahara said. “But right now Hawaii Air National Guard will care for and feed the space squadron.”

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