Fedweek

An Atlas V rocket launches March 12, 2015, from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The 45th Space Wing - now part of the US Space Force - supported the successful launch of NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission. (Courtesy photo by United Launch Alliance/Released)

A first look is due soon on the impact on civilian employees of creating the a US Space Force. DoD will soon present several planning documents on standing up the Space Force that will start defining what it will mean for civilian federal employees who work for the new military service.

The 2020 DoD authorization bill created the new Space Force as a separate branch of the military (although within the Air Force for some purposes similar to how the Marine Corps is within the Navy) but DoD has not yet specified how many civilian employees would be moved into the new service, when, and how the move might affect personnel policies for them.

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Under the law, the Air Force is to present to Congress by February 1 a proposed organizational structure for the new service.

That report is to include a description of staffing requirements and details on how the new service “is expected to affect the composition and function of current space elements of the Armed Forces.”

The law anticipates that all military personnel currently assigned to the Air Force Space Command – along with some other Air Force military personnel – will be transferred into the new entity, although it does not specifically say the same of civilian employees.

A separate report, due in late February, is to include legislative proposals – presumably to be considered in the upcoming budget cycle “to fully integrate the Space Force as an Armed Force, and the regular and reserve military and the civilian personnel of the Space Force.”

Yet another report, due in June, is to address a number of civilian personnel-related matters including career professional milestones and career progression; identification and establishment of space related career fields; pay and incentive structures; management and oversight; training; a “centralized method to control personnel assignments and distribution”; and more.

A Congressional Research Service analysis last May projected that DoD would treat the new service an intelligence agency and that some separate policies typical to the intelligence community could apply to them.

That could mean, for example, greater restrictions on bargaining rights and more leeway for management to reassign employees, but also potentially more flexibility to pay higher salaries to recruit and retain employees with needed specialized skills.

See also, Employees in Proposed Space Force Would Have Separate Personnel Rules