The Space Force’s new ranks are here.
The military’s newest service spelled out what its rank structure will be as of Feb. 1 in a memo signed Friday, which almost immediately began to leak onto the Internet.
But those who advocated for the Space Force to adopt a rank structure patterned after the Navy — most notably Captain Kirk himself, Star Trek actor William Shatner, on this very website — or something even more fanciful and space-faring will be sorely disappointed. With a few exceptions, the Space Force’s rank structure closely resembles the Air Force from which it derived.
The officer rank structure for Space Force guardians, as they are now known, will be the same as that used by the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps, ranging from second lieutenants to four-star generals.
The differences primarily come in the junior enlisted ranks from E-1 through E-4, the memo said, who will all be referred to as specialists. The memo said E-1s through E-4s can also be referred to as specialist 1, specialist 2, specialist 3 and specialist 4.
Instead of referring to E-5s as staff sergeants, as the Air Force calls them, the Space Force will address airmen in that rank as simply “sergeant.”
The remaining non-commissioned officer and senior NCO ranks will be the same as in the Air Force, with guardians earning the ranks of technical sergeant, master sergeant, senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant.
The Space Force will also take a cue from the Air Force when it comes to addressing its top enlisted advisor, who is now Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman. He will now be the chief master sergeant of the Space Force.
The memo was signed Friday by Patricia Mulcahy, deputy chief of space operations for personnel. lSpace Force spokesman Maj. Nick Mercurio confirmed the memo, and said more information will be released later Friday.
But the new ranks will likely not result in any serious changes to guardians’ day-to-day lives. The memo said that there will be no changes to benefits or entitlements as a result, and that organizations should incorporate the new ranks into publications, forms, websites and systems as soon as they can.
Valerie Insinna contributed to this report.
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.