More than 8,500 airmen apply to join Space Force

More than 8,500 airmen apply to join Space Force
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More than 8,500 airmen volunteered to join the Space Force during May, the first month applications to transfer into the military’s newest branch were accepted, it said Tuesday.

"I am incredibly proud of the men and women who made the bold decision to volunteer to join the U.S. Space Force and defend the ultimate high ground," Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond said in a statement. "It is a critical time for space, and those airmen will build the Space Force necessary to compete, deter and win as required to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy."

The applicants come from 13 eligible officer and enlisted career fields in the Air Force. About 6,000 of them will be chosen to transfer, according to a news release.

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Transfers for those in space-focused career fields will start in September, while more general career fields will start transferring in February, according to the release.

Though about 16,000 military and civilian personnel from the former Air Force Space Command have been assigned to work for the Space Force, those service members are still officially part of the Air Force. The transfer process will officially commission or enlist troops into the Space Force.

"We are excited to continue to move forward and build the ranks of the Space Force with these great volunteers," Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, the Space Force’s senior enlisted adviser, said in a statement. "Our priority over the next several months is to ensure we optimize the talent of both services and offer a transition that is seamless and befitting each individual and their loved one's commitment to our Space Force."

All applicants will be contacted in July about next steps in the process, the release added.

Airmen in space-focused careers who don’t want to transfer will be given options including retraining for another Air Force specialty, transferring into the reserves or applying for separation or retirement, and will also be notified in July about next steps, according to the release.

The Space Force was officially created as the sixth branch of the military in December with President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE’s signing of the annual defense policy bill.

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The new service is aimed at protecting U.S. assets in space, such as satellites, from threats from Russia and China.

Its establishment fulfilled a top priority for Trump since he first coined the name Space Force in 2018 and turned it into a reliable applause line at his campaign rallies.

Bipartisan members of the House first proposed creating a separate branch of the military for space in 2017.