Col. Devin Pepper, 460th Space Wing commander, speaks to military members and civilian personnel in the fitness center at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Jan. 16, 2020. Pepper held a commander’s call to address changes the creation of the Space Force will bring to Buckley AFB and its members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Haley N. Blevins)
By Airman 1st Class Haley N. Blevins, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --An empty gym fills up with military members and civilian personnel. The room is buzzing with excitement and anticipation about the news that will shortly be shared.
Col. Devin Pepper, 460th Space Wing commander, held a commander’s call, Jan. 16, 2020, at the Buckley Fitness Center to discuss how the creation of the U.S. Space Force will affect Buckley and its personnel.
"On Dec. 20, 2019 the sixth branch of the U.S. military was established as the U.S. Space Force with the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act," said Pepper. "This is the first time something like this has happened since the Air Force stood up in 1947."
Some major changes that have already occurred is Air Force Space Command is now the U.S. Space Force, and the 14th Air Force has transitioned to the Space Operations Command (SpOC).
At this time Gen. John Raymond, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, is the only person transferred into the USSF. Raymond will serve as the senior military member of the USSF.
During the commander’s call, many Airmen had an opportunity to ask questions about how this change would affect their careers.
Certain career fields, like medical, security forces, and wing staff agencies, are organic to the Air Force and will remain in the Air Force. Other career fields, like space operators, will be contacted within the near future and given the option to transfer into the USSF.
“For personnel in those career fields that are transferring to the USSF, you will not automatically transfer into the Space Force,” said Pepper. “It is a voluntary system. If you say no, then you will just finish out your term of commission or term of enlistment and you will just separate or retire.”
There is no set date currently, but another anticipated change will involve the installation’s name.
Buckley Air Force Base will be re-designated Buckley Space Force Base.
Additionally, members working at Buckley AFB are assigned under the Space Force, similar to being assigned to a joint base.
“If you are working at Buckley Air Force Base, you are actually working and assigned to a Space Force unit,” said Pepper.
Buckley isn’t the only base being changed by the creation of the Space Force. Schriever AFB, Peterson AFB, Vandenberg AFB, Patrick AFB and Los Angeles AFB are also embracing changes as they realign under the USSF.
Since the creation of the Space Force is new, there are still a lot of unknowns with many decisions that still need to be made.
“We just want everyone to know regardless of your AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code), in every conversation that we’ve had about the Space Force, we know that there are people and their families attached to those decisions,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Devall, 460th Space Wing command chief. “This isn’t going to be done haphazardly.”
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