Space Officials Wooing Intelligence Airmen
Article by Rachel S. Cohen May 20, 2020 (airforcemag.com)
• Space intelligence is one area the military wants to expand and refine for intelligence Airmen who opt to join the Space Force. Space Force intends to build its own core intel capabilities, separate from the Air Force, to better identify objects in space and whether they pose a threat to U.S. assets. Working with the National Reconnaissance Office, Space Force Intelligence will encompass space-based ‘intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance’ (ISR) of the low orbit space between the Earth and the Moon.
• Space Force is considering how Airmen could broaden their understanding of the space domain by working in multiple career fields, according to Colonel Suzy Streeter, Space Force’s ISR director. Building the new service from scratch allows intel professionals hold command positions usually taken by Airmen who operate satellites, for instance, said U.S. Space Command’s ISR boss, Brigadier General Leah Lauderback.
• Adding new perspectives to Space Force leadership depends on how Airmen plan out their career paths. One option is having Space Force recruit start as a ‘space operator’ for the first four years, move into intelligence for ten years, and then decide whether to jump back into space operations or remain in Space Force intel. “That will give… a more integrated approach,” said Streeter. Any intelligence professional coming up the ranks in Space Force could become ‘chief of space operations’ after three to five years. Or an Airman could enter Space Force as a traditional intelligence officer and remain so for the rest of their career. They could still dabble in space operations, as the Force needs “ISR visionaries”.
• It has also been suggested that the service bring in new officer level recruits from the other services and industry, starting them as captains and majors. This could prove beneficial for targeting, intel collection management, and cyber operations. Enlisted personnel could also be ‘streamlined’ into operations intelligence and cryptologic analysis fields.
• All intelligence Airmen can apply to join or transfer into Space Force, whether they worked for Air Combat Command, Air Force Space Command, or another USAF organization. “It is likely that the [selection] board will be looking for personnel with a wide range of experiences, to ensure that USSF does not pigeonhole itself into one way of thinking.” The Space Force is accepting transfer applications from intel Airmen through May 31.
• In October, ‘selection board’ panels staffed by senior Air Force and Space Force leaders will decide which intel, acquisition, and other space professionals will join the Space Force starting February 1st, 2021. This panel will also process promotions until the Space Force’s ‘Space Training and Readiness Command’ (‘STARCOM”) is up-and-running and able to tailor a new process to the specific needs of Space Force.
• New Space Force bases will open up for intelligence assignments that weren’t previously used by the Space Force’s predecessor, Air Force Space Command, including Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada; Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; Fort Meade in Maryland; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio; and assignments at the Pentagon and in Chantilly, Virginia.
• [Editor’s Note] Space Force Intelligence, just let us know when you would like a briefing.
New opportunities will open up for intelligence Airmen who opt to join the Space Force, intel officials said in a recent livestream.
Space intelligence is one area the military wants to expand and refine as a result of creating a new armed force focused on the cosmos. The Space Force envisions building its own core intel capabilities, separate from the Air Force, to better identify what and where objects are in space and if they threaten U.S. assets. The career field will work with the National Reconnaissance Office in new ways, encompass space-based ISR of the Earth below, and is pushing into cislunar orbit as well.
In March, the Air Force listed several intelligence organizations that are newly assigned to the Space Force. Some officials have suggested that the National Air and Space Intelligence Center could ramp up its help for the Space Force or spin off a separate space-focused center as well.
The Space Force is considering how Airmen could work in multiple career fields to broaden their understanding of the space domain, according to Col. Suzy Streeter, the service’s ISR director. Building the new service from scratch allows it to shake up its leadership echelons and let intel professionals hold command positions usually taken by the Airmen who operate satellites, said Brig. Gen. Leah Lauderback, U.S. Space Command intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance boss.
Adding different perspectives to Space Force leadership depends in part on how Airmen transfer in and plan out their career paths.
One staffing option gaining traction is having every member of the Space Force start as a space operator, or 13S. Someone could serve as a space operator for the first four years, move into intelligence for 10 years, and then decide whether to jump back into space operations or remain in intel, according to the presentation’s slideshow.
“That will give, really, a more integrated approach as you’re looking at futures, including, quite frankly, the chief of space operations,” Streeter said. “Why not have that open to whoever is a space professional?”
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