The US Space Force on Friday revealed its rank structure for officer and enlisted personnel, similar to that of the US Air Force.
While the ranks on the enlisted side closely resemble Air Force structure (sergeant, technical sergeant, master sergeant, etc.), the first four ranks will be referred to as Specialist 1, Specialist 2, Specialist 3 and Specialist 4. According to Politico, the use of specialist rather than airman aligns with a promise by the chief of space operations, Gen. Jay Raymond, to establish a gender-neutral rank structure.
The ranks on the officer side are identical to those in the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps, starting at second lieutenant and going up to general.
— Rachel S. Cohen (@rachelkaras) January 29, 2021
The new rank structure will take effect on February 1, according to a leaked memo shared online.
While some have speculated that the Space Force, which is currently part of the Air Force, would use its parent service’s rank structure, others assumed that the Space Force would instead use the Navy’s rank structure.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, in July 2020, proposed an amendment in the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act stipulating "the same system and rank structure as is used in the Navy" for the Space Force, Military.com reported at the time.
"A good reason to use Navy ranks in the Space Force is to better distinguish [Space Force] personnel from Air Force personnel, kind of like [the Marine Corps] using different ranks than the Navy," Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, noted in July 2020, following Crenshaw's proposed amendment.
William Shatner, the actor who played Capt. James Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the iconic original "Star Trek" television series, initially supported Crenshaw's idea.
"When you unveiled the Space Force logo, many immediately saw it as an homage to 'Star Trek' (even though our Delta was an homage to the previous military space insignias). Why not borrow back from 'Star Trek' and adopt our ranks as well?" Shatner wrote in an August 2020 op-ed."We took them from the Navy for good reason”.