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Beam them up: More than 8,500 airmen ask to go to Space Force

More than 8,500 active duty airmen volunteered to transfer into the Space Force in May, the newly-created service said on Tuesday.

About 6,000 of those volunteers will ultimately be selected to transfer, the Space Force said in a release. The service is now reviewing those transfer applications, and comparing them to the specific career fields and ranks to see which volunteers would fit.

The airmen volunteering to transfer represent 13 career fields, and include both officers and enlisted airmen. The volunteers will be be told in June what the next steps are.

For service members in the “organic” space career fields, whose jobs will be unique to the Space Force, selectees will transfer to the Space Force beginning Sept. 1. Those organic space career fields are 13S space operations officers, and 1C6 space systems operations, which is an enlisted career field.

Volunteers in the other 11 common career fields, which will continue to exist in both the Air Force and Space Force, transfer boards for each job, deciding who will shift over, will be scheduled as needed between July and November. The results will be announced about 30 days after each board is completed. The actual transfer process for airmen in common AFSCs will likely begin next Feb. 1.

“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,” Gen. Jay Raymond, who heads the Space Force as chief of space operations, said in the release. “It is a critical time for space, and those airmen will build the Space Force necessary to compete, deter and win as required to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy.”

When the former U.S. Space Command was transformed into the Space Force last December, the command’s roughly 16,000 service members and civilians became assigned to the new service, though service members officially remained airmen.

But the new transfer process will officially commission or enlist military members into the Space Force, the service said.

“We are excited to continue to move forward and build the ranks of the Space Force with these great volunteers,” Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, the senior enlisted advisor for the Space Force, said in the release. “Our priority over the next several months is to ensure we optimize the talent of both services and offer a transition that is seamless and befitting each individual and their loved one’s commitment to our Space Force.”

Active-duty airmen who are in the organic space fields entirely moving over to the Space Force, who declined to transfer to the new service, will receive assistance in considering other options, the release said. This will include applying to retrain into another career field, applying to transfer into reserve components, or applying to separate or retire if they are eligible. Those airmen will likely be notified about these processes in July.

At some point in 2022, the organic space career fields are expected to be completely moved over to the Space Force and removed from the Air Force inventory, and airmen will no longer be able to be assigned to those mission areas.

The space missions now done by the Army and Navy are expected to move to the Space Force sometime in fiscal 2022 or fiscal 2023. Right now, the Space Force is concentrating on moving airmen over and not members of other services, though legal provisions do exist for transferring soldiers and sailors.

The Space Force expects to spell out how it will conduct a limited transfer

The common space-related Air Force specialty codes, including airmen who have volunteered to transfer, are:

* 14N intelligence, officer

* 17X cyberspace operations, officer

* 62E developmental engineer, officer

* 63A acquisition manager, officer

* 1N0 operations intelligence, enlisted

* 1N1 geospatial intelligence, enlisted

* 1N2 signals intelligence, enlisted

* 1N4 fusion analyst, enlisted

* 1N8 targeting analyst, enlisted

* 3D0 cyberspace support, enlisted

* 3D1 client systems, enlisted

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