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What the Military's New 'Space Force' Could Mean for Spouses

(U.S. Air Force)
(U.S. Air Force)

President Donald Trump today announced the formation of the nation's sixth military service -- the space force -- to join the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Conceptually, it's designed to oversee missions in space, with a view towards space defense.

But what does a new military service mean for military spouses?

No, you probably aren't going to have to PCS to space.

Almost no details have been released on the space force, including whether or not new bases (extraterrestrial or otherwise) will be open in support of it, how it will be organized, how currently service troops will be shifted into its ranks or how recruitment will be conducted.

However, the announcement isn't the first time the space force has been discussed. Lawmakers and military officials have been mulling and, in some cases fighting against, the possibility for months.

Recent talks indicate that the service could be formed under the Air Force, in the same way the Marine Corps is a department of Navy.

Why is that important for spouses? Because that format changes the way many family services are handled -- and which policies could be open for a fresh start under a new branch.

If the space force is organized the same way as the Marine Corps, it will utilize Air Force system and personnel for:

- Doctors

- Chaplains

- Leave policies

Meanwhile, almost every other personnel and family readiness policy would be specific to the space force and open to new development.

Although the Defense Department and Congress have standards for how those services are operated, many specifics are left to the service chiefs. For example, each service has its own set of PCS rules that are set within the Pentagon's guidelines.

That means spouse hiring help; family support rules, systems and policies; emergency leave; housing (assuming space force personnel are based outside current bases); permanent change of station policies; and administration of a variety of other services could be open to branch-specific interpretation.

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