The United States Space Force (USSF) has been a huge “magnet” for young people who are interested in joining the military, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said Friday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
“One of the things that’s happening right now is that the Space Force has been an extraordinary magnet for young people to want to be a part of the military,” she said.
“Many young people have said, I didn’t want to be a part of the military but I want to be a part of the Space Force. So the applications, the online tapping to be a part of the Space Force has been significant,” she added.
She said the interest is not just affecting USSF candidates, but it is also boosting interest in the Air Force as well, and that she would not be surprised if it is also boosting interest in the Navy and the Army.
“The Space Force is bringing positive attention to the military,” she said.
President Trump stood up the Space Force, the military’s newest military branch since 1947, in December, accomplishing one of his top national security priorities despite pushback from Democrats.
Barrett said space has been “under-appreciated overall.”
“We went from a time when it was motivational to every — the Sputnik era — where every young person was motivated by it, to more recently, it’s been a shrug. But I think now, because of the Space Force, it is come into its own again,” she said.
“People haven’t understood how much they use it, but now they do. I think at first the Space Force was a mockery,” she said.
But now people are quite coming around to the point where the [National Defense Authorization Act] — 288 votes in favor, bipartisan, bicameral, great support for something that’s stood up as Space Force.
Space is invisible to most of us most of the time, but it’s ubiquitous, everybody is using it, we can’t live without it, and only when we stop and think about it do we realize both how important it is and how fragile it is, and therefore the space domain is an important place for us to pay attention to defending.
Trump highlighted the new force during his recent State of the Union address and one of its young potential recruits.
“Just weeks ago, for the first time since President [Harry S.] Truman established the Air Force more than 70 years earlier, we created a new branch of the United States Armed Forces, the Space Force,” he said during his speech.
He also then introduced 13-year-old Iain Lanphier, an eighth grader from Arizona, as “one of Space Force’s youngest potential recruits.”
“Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy. He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then, he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, ‘most people look up at space, I want to look down on the world,’” Trump said.
Lanphier’s great-grandfather Charles McGee is one of the surviving Tuskegee airmen, who Trump had promoted to brigadier general earlier that day.