“In the last several months we have finalized with the Army and the Navy … what we as all of the services agree are the forces that should be transitioned in,” Gen. David Thompson, the vice chief of space operations, said during a panel at the C4ISRNet Conference.
“You can expect details from both services soon,” he added. “The timeline is in work now, and you’ll see later this year — and continuing into the next year — it will be a phased process by which that transition occurs.”
Thompson pointed to the Navy’s Mobile User Objective System as one example of a mission that will transfer over to the Space Force. MUOS is a constellation of five Ultra High-Frequency narrowband communications satellites, and is currently managed by the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command’s space program office.
“That system, its operation center and the sustainment folks that support it are already in the process of the plan to transfer in, in the coming years,” he said.
As far as what kinds of units will transfer in from the Army, Thompson said he wanted to wait until the Army is ready to make an announcement.
“I won’t go into detail there, because we want to finish the planning,” he said. “We’re going to communicate what’s happening together with the Army. They’ve been a good partner in that.”
The Space Force is set to grow from about 2,400 active-duty members to about 6,400 people by the end of 2021, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond said in December. Some of those new guardians are expected to transfer in from the Army and Navy.
In a February interview with Military Times, Raymond said he expected at least 34 soldiers and sailors to transfer into the Space Force this year, with hundreds more joining them in 2022. However, he stressed that troops would not be forced to move to the new service.
“You can’t order somebody to come in the Space Force,” he said. “It’s all voluntary.”
Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.