Many people want to know how they can join the United States Space Force (USSF), the newest branch of military service created by the 2020 Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2019.
The Newest Branch Of Military Service
Space Force is the sixth branch of the United States military; there hasn’t been a new branch since 1947 with the creation of the U.S. Air Force as a separate and equal branch which evolved out of the U.S. Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces.
Gen. John Raymond was named as the first Chief of Space Operations; after some debate it was decided that Air Force Space Command would be reorganized and redesignated as U.S. Space Force. That meant the new branch of service had a built-in cadre of troops to use to establish the agency in its infancy.
But more personnel and job slots are inevitable and the service’s expansion efforts depend on a combination of utilizing existing staffing resources, recruitment, and civilian hires.
How do you join Space Force? There are several options that may be open depending on the applicant’s qualifications, status as a military or civilian hire, mission requirements, and more.
Space Force Jobs
There are two basic ways Americans can explore job options with the U.S. Space Force. One is by enlisting in the military and choosing a career field that is linked or about to be linked with Space Force. More on this below, but the other option is to apply for a civilian federal job working for USSF.
Enlisting In The United States Military To Join Space Force
The USSF official site has a Careers section that links to a broader Air Force recruiting page that allows you to take a career assessment test to help link qualified candidates with the right Air Force job OR choose from a list of Air Force career descriptions and requirements including a section addressing the service’s Missile And Space needs.
But none of what’s available on this page is directly linked with joining Space Force. At the time of this writing, the service is still too new and most existing troops that are assigned to USSF are in the United States Air Force.
Even when you scroll down to the very bottom of the USSF official site and click on the Join The Space Force link, you are taken to a general Air Force recruiting page thanking you for your interest in becoming an Airman in the United States Air Force.
This is all likely subject to change, but at press time that is the current structure of recruiting efforts for the military jobs offered in the newest branch of military service.
There are talks about when and how to transfer those who are assigned to Space Force jobs in the future; for now Airmen remain in the US Air Force when working a Space Force Assignment.
Members of the other military branches may be invited to join or work for Space Force in the future, but at press time, Air Force personnel already serving will be tapped to fill the earliest rounds of Space Force jobs open to officers and enlisted Airmen.
Space Jobs For Officers
The Air Force recruiting page lists several space-related jobs at press time for officers and enlisted members. Those jobs include, but are not limited to the following.
- Space Operations Officer
- Nuclear and Missile Operations Officer
- Munitions And Missile Maintenance Officer
Space Force Jobs For Enlisted
- Missile and Space Facilities (that is how the job is listed on the Air Force recruiting official site)
- Space Systems Operations
- Missile and Space Systems Electronic Maintenance
- Missile and Space Systems Maintenance (different than Electronic Maintenance)
Air Force Or Space Force? No Guarantees
It is very important to note that these jobs are listed as Air Force careers and not USSF-unique jobs. In other words, there is no guarantee that any of the jobs listed above (both officer and enlisted) will result in your serving in the Space Force instead of the Air Force.
At the time of this writing, the lines between the two are still quite blurry and the service is generally too new to have its own fully unique recruiting and career field options.
This will likely change over time. Those who are interested specifically in joining the Space Force should discuss that specific desire with a recruiter; things are still very much in a state of flux and newness with the agency and yesterday’s recruiting and retention guidelines may well give way to new guidance tomorrow depending on circumstances, mission requirements, and other variables.
All that being said, recruits need to know that unless you are given a specific assignment to Space Force in writing, you are not guaranteed to land a job within USSF as opposed to joining the Air Force.
Applying For Space Force Jobs As A Civilian
The other avenue for USSF jobs comes by way of USAJobs.gov, which is the employment portal for DoD civilians. This official government website connects civilian job seekers with federal employment opportunities including jobs with USSF.
However, finding Space Force jobs can be tricky; USAJobs has a very large pool of employment opportunities and you may not find any USSF openings simply by searching for the phrase “Space Force” in the search bar. Some outdated posts can be discovered by searching for Space Force jobs in Google.
Searching, But Not Finding Space Jobs?
If you cannot find current openings for USSF jobs, it’s possible that there is no hiring happening at the moment; the agency has definitely put a call for applications in 2020.
The industry website Federal News Network reports those job openings started appearing in January 2020, and early birds then discovered nearly 40 job ads for high-level GS-15 positions with starting salaries in the six-figure range.
To apply for these civilian jobs, applicants need to create a profile and an account at USAJobs.gov, and the process can seem a bit time consuming.
You may be required to upload a .PDF resume AND submit job data in addition to an electronic resume file, and your cover letter, military discharge documents (where applicable) and other paperwork must be submitted electronically.
Make sure you have scans of all paper documents you need to submit along with a resume and do not forget that you will need digital versions of VA award letters, DD Form 214 discharge paperwork, and VA disability rating decisions to claim applicable veteran hiring preferences where required.
But this is an official portal for federal hiring and anyone who wants a job working for the federal government (space-related jobs included) should maintain and update a job seeker profile there.
Applying for federal jobs can be complex. Some positions are advertised to the public but may be filled internally; other jobs may require new hires and resulting background checks, security clearance procedures, training, etc.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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