WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force announced June 30 it has selected 50 members of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps to transfer to the space branch, and hundreds more could be chosen in the coming weeks.

The group of 50 officers and enlisted personnel were tapped from among more than 3,700 who applied during the month of March, the Space Force said.

“We are overwhelmed by the number of applicants, and the outpouring of support our sister services have provided as we’ve partnered together to design the Space Force,” said Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations. 

The transfers include a mix of space operators, intelligence, acquisition and cyber specialists.

The Space Force picked the first 50 to “beta test” the transfer process, the service said. Approximately 350 additional members of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps will be selected in July to transfer to the Space Force over the coming months and fill jobs in space operations, intelligence, cyber, engineering and acquisition. 

“The competition for selection has been tough. So many of the applicants are top performers with experiences and skillsets well suited for the Space Force,” said Patricia Mulcahy, Space Force chief human capital officer.

Since the Space Force was established in December 2019, about 5,200 members of the former Air Force Space Command transferred over. The plan is to build a service of about 8,000 military and 8,000 civilian personnel.

Separately from these transfers of individual service members, the Space Force is absorbing satellite communications units from the Army and the Navy.

The Space Force is an independent service organized under the Department of the Air Force.

Advocates of the Space Force praised the decision to start bringing in members of other services.

“Finally, a vision we pushed for hard from day one at the White House is becoming a reality,” said Mir Sadat, former National Security Council official and now editor of the Space Force Journal.

Sadat said in a social media post that the secretary of defense should “push the other service secretaries to lateral a few flag/general officers from sisters services.” This will help the Space Force build its own culture and become more integrated with ground and sea-based forces, he said.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...