US Space Force Is Getting Its Own NCO Academy

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Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond administers an oath of enlistment.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond administers the oath of enlistment to 73 officer and enlisted space professionals selected to transfer into the U.S. Space Force stationed at Peterson-Schriever Garrison, Sept. 15, 2020. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Alexus Wilcox)

U.S. Space Force may not have its own academy or boot camp, but the newest military branch is establishing a non-commissioned officer academy for its enlisted space members, according to the service's top leader.

"There's an NCO Academy at Peterson Air Force Base, [Colorado]; we're going to make that the NCO Academy for Space Force," Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, chief of space operations, said during a NDU Foundation virtual event Tuesday. "So if you're a member of the Space Force, you will go to that academy."

Raymond did not say when the academy would open to Space Force NCOs.

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The move to create a separate institution further distinguishes Space Force and its warfighting roles from those of its parent service, the Air Force, Raymond said.

Raymond pointed to space-themed seminars that have been established in the past, such as the Shriever Scholars program, which studies long-term strategic perspectives on space and information policy at Air University in Alabama. The Air War College and the Air Command and Staff College will also get their own space curriculum in the future, and will likely spin off in a "stair-step approach" to becoming their own schools, he said.

"If you're on a Space Force base in the future, that Airman Leadership School will be designed to teach you about leadership as it relates to Space Force priorities," Raymond added.

Overall, "we've got an incremental approach to phase those into an independent capability to be able to develop the Space Force leaders that we need in the future," he said, adding that training will eventually include other military service members and troops from allied nations.

News of the academy comes after the swearing-in of seven new Space Force recruits who've begun entry-level Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, alongside Air Force trainees.

To differentiate from airmen at BMT, the Space Force recruits will be given tablets loaded with Space Force-specific doctrine and information, according to top enlisted adviser Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman. Along with the structured 7.5-week BMT curriculum, a little over 20 hours will be specialized instruction and mentoring from Space Force personnel, Towberman told Military.com earlier this month.

The space-specific NCO Academy will join the robust space-focused infrastructure already established in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which includes Peterson, Schriever Air Force Base, and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.

Peterson also hosts U.S. Space Command, the 11th unified combatant command, which stood up in August 2019 ahead of the establishment of the Space Force. SPACECOM is responsible for military operations related to space, while the Space Force organizes and trains space personnel. Like the other military branches, the Space Force has its headquarters at the Pentagon.

In May, the Air Force said it would also restart a search for a permanent headquarters for SPACECOM. Some lawmakers whose states are vying to host SPACECOM had voiced concerns the process wasn't transparent enough.

Earlier this year, the Space Force began redesignating Air Force units with a space-only mission; it will realign and rename Air Force bases to Space Force bases accordingly, officials have said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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