(Editor’s note: Story previously posted on www.spaceforce.mil and is now updated with current fiscal year information)
Air Force Recruiting Service’s Space Force Recruiting branch is looking forward to including both the cyber and intelligence communities to their pool of applicants who qualify for Constructive Service Credit.
The Space Force introduced its Direct Commission Program in fiscal 2022 aimed to accession top talent directly from industry with a focus on Space Force cyber needs that year. In fiscal 2023, AFRS is looking forward to the addition of another career field.
“We are excited to add the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) officer career field as another avenue for Constructive Service Credit during our officer boards that start early 2023,” said Lt. Col. Marcus Stevenson, Chief, U.S. Space Force Recruiting, at AFRS. “This credit is a great benefit to civilians with certain levels of experience in specific career fields to become a Guardian at a higher rank than most new officers commission into. It is important to harness the talent that is already out there to enhance our ranks.”
The Space Force has been granted authority to commission ISR and cyber talent directly into their officer corps using CSC in the ranks ranging from first lieutenant to lieutenant colonel.
“Both careers are essential to the Space Force mission,” said Stevenson. “A commissioned ISR Guardian works to keep the Department of Defense aware of the latest threats to space assets and help defend them against malicious attacks. A commissioned cyberspace Guardian works to keep the Department of Defense at the cutting edge of satellite capabilities, cyber warfare and aerospace technology.”
The first Cyber Constructive Service Credit (CSC) Board was held in May 2022, which called for applications from civilian cyber professionals to become Space Force cyber officers. The first U.S. Space Force cyber officer commissioned through the Direct Commission Program graduated from Officer Training School Sept 30.
Now-1st Lt. Jessica Thompson was one of six cyber professionals offered a commission out of 358 CSC applicants. She was able to commission to a higher rank and grade through the CSC program based on her advanced cyber degree, skills and experience, which are considered critical by U.S. Space Force.
“I had the opportunity to work in Information Technology with both a large defense contractor and a financial institution with one of the best cyber security programs in the country,” Thompson said. “A lot of smart people were willing to mentor me. As the Space Force builds up their cyber security programs, I’ll understand the military side of things and offer a unique perspective of next steps from my civilian background.”
The Space Force must strive to become a truly digital service by finding and engaging cyber talent in the private sector to join, according to the Guardian Ideal, the Chief Space Officer’s Human Capital Strategy Plan.
“Maintaining our competitive edge in cyberspace is critical to national security and space operations,” said Katharine Kelley, Chief of Space Operations for Personnel. “We need top talent to keep us pushing the envelope, and our force needs people from diverse personal and professional backgrounds to help us do that. The Direct Commissioning Program is an innovative way to bring the best of the best directly into our officer ranks.”
The Space Force Recruiting Branch announcements for ISR and cyberspace careers lists the following qualifications to serve as a future Guardian;
Initial commitment is four years
Must be a United States citizen
Bachelor’s mandatory, master’s/PhD preferred
There are no Reserve/Guard options at this time
Age cutoff 40 w/potential exceptions for highly qualified candidates
Must meet military service requirements and be eligible for Top Secret clearance
Must attend Officer Training School (eight weeks)
Locations based on skillset, candidate interest and needs of the Space Force
Information on how to apply for OTS boards can be found on AFRS’s website, https://www.recruiting.af.mil/Line-Officer-Candidate-Information-and-Resources/.
Other avenues to join the Space Force as an officer include the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program, offered at more than 1,100 colleges across the nation, and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Benefits of serving in the Space Force include competitive pay, 30 Days paid vacation, Space Available travel, comprehensive medical/dental insurance, living expenses covered, 20-year retirement, on-base recreational opportunities and an education and career progression-focused atmosphere.
To learn more about joining the Space Force visit https://www.spaceforce.com/military-careers.