The U.S. Space Force has received thousands of requests since it opened an application window May 1 for eligible active-duty personnel to transfer into the service, starting with Air Force personnel.
"As of May 13, the U.S. Space Force has received more than 2,000 applications from airmen in both organic and common [Air Force Specialty Codes] volunteering to transfer to the new service," Space Force spokesperson Lynn Kirby told Military.com on Wednesday.
Last week, a spokesperson revealed the service had received "several hundred" applications.
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"We saw a large number of people who chose to apply on May 4," Gen. David "DT" Thompson, Space Force vice commander, said Tuesday during a Mitchell Institute "Aerospace Nation" chat, referencing the day when many people honor the "Star Wars" franchise.
"A little bit of space humor there: 'May the Fourth be with you,'" he said.
The service's application window will close May 31.
The sixth and newest military service, which was signed into existence by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20, 2019, is currently operating with the aid of 16,000 airmen detailed on a temporary basis from what was formerly known as Air Force Space Command.
Although individuals were assigned in December, the current application window "includes the physical act of [commissioning] into the U.S. Space Force," Thompson said last month. Enlisted members would re-enlist directly into the Space Force, he said during a webinar, hosted by Space News on April 23.
Jobs including space operations (13S) and space systems operations (1C6) are considered "organic space career fields" eligible for transfer.
"That's about 6,000 to 7,000 people," Thompson said. Those first transfers are set to begin Sept. 1.
Airmen in the intelligence (14N), cyberspace operations (17X), developmental engineer (62E), acquisition manager (63A), operations intelligence (1N0), geospatial intelligence (1N1), signals intelligence (1N2), fusion analyst (1N4), targeting analyst (1N8), cyberspace support (3D0) and client systems (3D1) career fields are also eligible to apply.
"We have a requirement for a set number of those," Thompson said, meaning only a limited number of billets will be available.
Guardsmen and reservists who are already executing space missions and currently aligned with the Space Force will continue supporting it; officials are weighing how best to incorporate them. A Space Force Reserve component is still being looked at.
The process has so far targeted airmen who are already executing missions needed in the Space Force, Thompson said Tuesday.
The service is working to bring in troops from other military branches, but perhaps not in large numbers, he added.
The Army and Navy, for example, will likely limit how many space professionals will transfer over -- roughly 100 from each branch, according to media reports.
"Part of our discussion with [the Army and Navy] has been establishing what I'll call the agreed-to criteria for what functions, what missions, what units, what personnel are the candidates for transfer into the service and what sorts of things ought to remain behind," Thompson said.
Those services "want to ensure that we do not separate out and transfer those elements and functions that they consider vital and integrated into their missions, and their roles, and what they expect to be successful; what they would consider an integrated combat element," he explained.
-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.
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