The Space Marines are here.
The U.S. Space Force on Wednesday announced it has selected its first small group of soldiers, sailors and Marines who will transfer permanently into the sixth military branch -- part of a larger effort to centralize space operations and related missions within the fledgling service.
The Space Force will bring in 50 active-duty volunteers into its ranks this month, the service said in a news release. More than 3,700 officers and enlisted members from those services applied earlier this year for the chance to become a guardian, the release states.
“We are overwhelmed by the number of applicants, and the outpouring of support our sister services have provided as we’ve partnered together to design the Space Force,” said Gen. David “DT” Thompson, vice chief of space operations.
“We are excited to have Guardians from these services join more than 5,200 Air Force transfers, and look forward to the new experience, perspective and culture they will bring as we continue to build the Space Force,” he said in the release.
The first 50 members will be the Space Force’s trial run for shifting members from the other services and will be the test bed for how units can accommodate their skill sets. According to the list, which can be found here, 40 were selected from the Army, seven from the Navy and three from the Marine Corps. The criteria for selection was not revealed.
Then, “approximately 350 more will be selected for transfer in July,” the release states. “Each will be matched to positions in specific Space Force specialties -- space operations, intelligence, cyber, engineering and acquisition; members who previously applied do not need to take any action to be considered in this next selection board.”
Those selections will be announced in the coming months, paving the way for the larger batch to begin transitioning in fiscal 2022.
The new military branch was created in December 2019 in the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The change moved roughly 16,000 active-duty and civilian personnel on a temporary basis from what was formerly known as Air Force Space Command to the Space Force.
The service first moved airmen in "organic" space careers, such as space operations and space systems operations, into the Space Force.
The Space Force said last year that 2,400 members were slated for transfer; In addition, 86 U.S. Air Force Academy graduates were commissioned directly into the service in 2020; roughly another 100 did so this year.
The service also selected 3,600 members in common specialties -- jobs that fit both the Air Force and Space Force, including those in intelligence, cyber, acquisition and engineering -- who began transferring in February.
Moving interservice members is dependent on the conclusion of promotion boards and other career processes, spokeswoman Lynn Kirby previously told Military.com.
The Space Force hopes to grow to roughly 6,400 members by the end of 2021, including roughly 300 new recruits. In its fiscal 2022 budget proposal, Space Force plans to grow to about 8,400 next year, a nearly 31% increase.
The latest 50-person transfer is a separate effort from the Pentagon’s venture to sort out which space missions and units from the other services will fully realign to the Space Force in FY22 and FY23.
-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.