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Air Force Reservists Can Apply to Become Full-Time Guardians in June

As the Space Force starts the process of adding Reserve elements and creating a unique system that combines full-time and part-time Guardians, it will start accepting applications June 1 for Air Force Reservists in space-related roles who want to become full-time Guardians.

“This is an important first step toward fully integrating critical space expertise from the Reserve into our force,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman said in a release. “We’ve been serving side-by-side together, supporting the same mission, for longer than the Space Force has existed.”

The move is one of the easier parts in a planned five-year implementation period for the Space Force’s new personnel management system.

Officials say the new structure, authorized by Congress last year, will allow Guardians to seamlessly move between part-time and full-time status, reducing bureaucracy, providing career flexibility, and helping leaders manage their missions more effectively. Earlier this month at the Council on Foregin Relations, Saltzman predicted that the system will be a “game changer.”

It does, however, require the Space Force to build new management systems and definitions to track part-timers, something Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force John F. Bentivegna noted during an AFA event earlier this month.

Reservists who want to be full-time Guardians, by comparison, pose little complication. The application window for full-time positions will run through Nov. 30. The assignments for newly minted Guardians will be determined using existing Space Force methodology, considering mission requirements, developmental needs, and member preference.

Air Force Reserve officers with specialized roles not currently in the Space Force, such as scientists, will be assigned as developmental engineers or acquisition managers.

“The Space Force is about to integrate some of the most talented space operators,” Air Force Reserve Commander boss Lt. Gen. John Healy said in a statement. “I have no doubt they will be key to advancing security in the space domain.”

Once the transfer starts in fiscal 2025, most new Guardians are expected to relocate, according to a “Frequently Asked Questions” document released by the Space Force. Those already located near Space Force bases may stay if there are vacancies; otherwise, they might be reassigned, possibly requiring a permanent change of station. The service currently has six main operating bases across Colorado, California, and Florida, but there are opportunities at other smaller units available around the world.

The eligible positions include, but are not limited to:

Eligible Air Force Reserve officer positions (must be colonels and below)

  • 13S – Space Operations
  • 17D – Cyberspace Operations
  • 14N – Intelligence
  • 62E – Developmental Engineer
  • 63A – Acquisition Manager
  • 61X – Scientist

Eligible Air Force Reserve enlisted personnel positions

  • 1C6 – Space Systems Operations (iC6)
  • 1N0 – Intelligence
  • 1N1 – Imagery Analysis
  • 1N2 – Signals intelligence
  • 1N3 – Cryptologic Language Analysis
  • 1N4 – Network Intelligence Analysis
  • 1N8 – Targeting Analyst
  • 1D7X1 – Cyber Defense Operations
  • 1D7X2 – Spectrum Operations Technician
  • 1D7X3 – Cable and Antennae Defense Operations

Applications for part-time roles will open for the Reservists in 2026, the Space Force noted in a release. Eventually, all Reserve Airmen in space operations will face a choice: transition to the Space Force, switch career paths within the Air Force, or leave service.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Air Force is also trying to build up the Space Force’s new structure by transferring Air National Guardsmen conducting space missions into the USSF. However, the service’s move to bypass state governors’ authority over these units was met with intense backlash, leading the House Armed Services Committee to pass an amendment to the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act last week that would require the Air Force to work with governors to make any such moves—it remains to be seen if that language survives the legislative process, or if any governors would accept such a move.

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