The U.S. Space Force was born on Dec. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux) The U.S. Space Force was born on Dec. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Space Force is officially the sixth military branch. Here’s what that means

About 2,000 of the initial personnel are specifically Air Force space professionals, who spend their careers in those billets, will be transferred to the Space Force when it gets its own personnel system up and running. There are several thousand more airmen who support Air Force Space Command, including contracting personnel, engineers, security forces and others. They will move on to other Air Force billets once their tours are over.

There is also a likelihood that Air Force bases that have dealt mainly with space operations could see a re-0brand ― think Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, or Shriever Space Force Base, Colorado.

Officials drew some comparisons to the birth of the Air Force, which came out of the Army Air Corps, and the process it took to grow a new service ― though at the time, the Army Air Corps was a fairly self-contained organization, with a shared history and unique cultural identity to pass on.

“There’s not a really good playbook on, how do you stand up a separate service?” Raymond said. “We haven’t really done this since 1947.”

Officials did not answer definitively when or whether Space Force would be standing up support commands, to include logistics, security forces, medical, legal, financial or other specialties.

“There’s still a lot of things that we don’t know,” Raymond said.

As the saying goes, the Army equips soldiers and the Navy mans equipment. The Space Force will be more like the latter, Barrett said, as technology will be its main mission, and its manning needs will be rather lean. She offered the Global Positioning System as an example of a mission that is vital and far-reaching in scope, but has a relatively small personnel footprint.

“The whole GPS system that the world depends upon so significantly — 40 operators run that system,” she said.

Without sharing details of the plan, a senior Air Force official said on background, because he was not authorized to speak on the record, there will be 30, 60 and 90-day benchmarks to meet. Where it took three years to stand up the Air Force, he said, the Space Force hopes to be off and running in 18 months or less. That includes, he added, sending a four-star officer to represent the service on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


By Meghann Myers

Meghann Myers is the senior reporter at Army Times. She covers personnel, fitness, the sergeant major of the Army and various other lifestyle issues affecting soldiers.

(Source:; December 21, 2019;
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