This week the Department of the Air Force identified 23 U.S. Air Force units that have space-related missions and these will be transferred to the newly created Space Force. Both the USAF and Space Force are organized as military service branches within the Department of the Air Force – much like how the United States Navy and United States Marines Corps are part of the Department of the Navy.
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, in conjunction with Chief of Space Operations General John "Jay" Raymond and Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David Goldfein, directed the transfer. It will entail shifting space missions for Air Force organizations into the Space Force, which officially began the sixth service branch at the end of last year.
As a result of this transfer, approximately 1,840 Air Force billets will be transferred into the Space Force from across the nearly two dozen units.
The goal is to have each of the 23 space missions formally transferred from the USAF into the Space Force within the next three to six months, based on timing and conditions that are specific to each organization and mission.
However, the transfer will not include the physical movement of units or billets to a different geographic location. Nor will it include moving any of the people assigned to the units, and instead the missions and billets will simply be transferred to the Space Force where they will remain in place to leverage the talent, infrastructure and notably the key capabilities at their current location.
The status of civilians, as Department of the Air Force employees, will remain unchanged – and whether serving in the Air Force or Space Force billets, those individuals will remain DAF employees. They will be able to remain in current positions or even apply for other positions across the department.
"Building the U.S. Space Force represents a top priority for the Department of the Air Force," said Barrett. "These mission transfers incorporate existing forces into the agile Space Force, which stands ready to defend American and allied interests."
Other service members may be able to transfer to the Space Force.
"In the coming months, and when appropriate provisions are in place as part of a separate process, military members who meet applicable criteria will be given the opportunity to volunteer to transfer to the Space Force," spokesman Maj. William Russell said in a statement as reported by SpaceNews.com. "If they choose not to transfer, they will remain in the Air Force and assigned to the Space Force unit until their normal assignment rotation is complete, at which time they will be moved to an assignment within the Air Force."
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.