'Payload Deployment': Space Force Launches Flashy New Recruiting Website

The Space Force redesigned its recruiting website as it marks its third anniversary.
The Space Force redesigned its recruiting website as it marks its third anniversary. (U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service public affairs photo)

"Space is closer than you think," the new Space Force website announces, before bringing visitors to a computer-generated rocket launch pad.

Choose the prompts and you get a confirmation -- "We are 'go' for launch!" -- before being virtually whisked into medium Earth orbit, engines rumbling.

The service has redesigned its recruiting website, offering an interactive video game-like experience where visitors can initiate launch and deploy a satellite. The sleek new portal hopes to advertise the Space Force mission and drum up interest in the military's youngest service branch.

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The Space Force didn't face the same recruiting problems in 2022 as the other services, but a challenge remains in making its mission clear to the American public. The interactive rebrand for SpaceForce.com may help define that role, according to a service statement about the website launch.

"The homepage features an immersive, interactive spacelift mission, using the latest in web-based graphics and sound design to provide site visitors a first-hand glimpse of the Space Force's vital role in facilitating launches," the service said last week.

Space Force's new website comes after a particularly tough year of recruiting among the other service branches. The Army missed its recruiting goal by 15,000 soldiers in 2022. The Air Force, Navy and Marines all squeaked by to hit their active-duty goals.

But the Space Force has not experienced the same problem getting recruits due to the small number of spots it has. The Space Force is tiny even judged beside the Marine Corps, the next smallest service. It has an end strength set at 8,600 Guardians under the newly passed 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Space Force began its own boot camp at Joint Base San Antonio this year, and started to fill its ranks with enlisted Guardians. Military.com reported in an extensive three-part series that recruiters were looking for a different kind of person, one who may not necessarily be interested in the other branches or even the military at all, to join the Space Force ranks.

Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, the Air Force Recruiting Service commander, told Military.com earlier this year that Space Force recruiting was on "solid ground."

The new SpaceForce.com website also includes video interviews with Guardians, as well as civilians who have taken jobs with the service.

"With the launch of the new SpaceForce.com, we've created a virtual space to inspire the next generation of American Guardians who will protect space for the nation," Thomas said in the press release.

Since the Space Force was formed in 2019, recruiters have brought in approximately 1,000 Guardians, according to the service. In 2023, the Space Force aims to recruit 532 enlisted Guardians and 42 officers.

"We are very excited about the new SpaceForce.com; its interactive pages provide clear insight of what Space Force is, answering many questions about the newest service in the Department of Defense," said Angelo Haygood, chief of Space Force accessions and recruiting policy.

The release of the new website comes as the Pentagon grapples with a dwindling population of Americans who are eligible for military service. Military.com reported in September that a department study showed that 77% of young Americans would not qualify for military service without a waiver due to being overweight, using drugs, or having mental and physical health problems.

The Department of the Air Force, which includes the Space Force, similar to the relationship between the Navy and the Marine Corps, has been workshopping a variety of policies that may allow more Americans to become airmen and Guardians.

One new pilot program unveiled in late September will grant some applicants who test positive for THC while trying to join the Air Force and Space Force another opportunity to apply.

In the meantime, the Space Force celebrated its third birthday last week after a year filled with leadership changes, new units overseas and accomplishments that helped grow the service's mission.

Additionally, the service received an estimated $26 billion in the recently signed 2023 National Defense Authorization Act -- nearly $2 billion more than the Pentagon asked for earlier this year, according to Space News.

-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at thomas.novelly@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

Related: Even More Young Americans Are Unfit to Serve, a New Study Finds. Here's Why.

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