In a new study, the United States Space Force advocates for a new approach to attracting and retaining qualified employees, stating that service members and civilian employees should have more career options than they do under the old military personnel system.
At the Air Force Association’s Air, Space, and Cyber conference on September 21, Chief of Space Operations General John “Jay” Raymond revealed the “Guardian Ideal” manifesto. He described the document as “aspirational” and said it is meant to showcase the service’s basic values and aims for workforce development during a keynote speech.
“To be effective in the Space Force, we must think very differently about talent management,” argues the Guardian Ideal. According to the document, the Space Force must be technologically advanced to compete with fast-innovating opponents, and this requires a highly qualified crew.
“While all guardians will need some level of digital fluency to succeed, the Space Force will also need a cadre with a mastery of digital competencies such as agile software development, product lifecycle management, software product management, data architecture, data analytics, cyber defence, cyber security, and information technology infrastructure.”
Because these are abilities in high demand in the civilian economy, the Space Force requires a talent acquisition plan. According to the Guardian Ideal, a “new talent management technique to tap into and develop upon each person’s particular strengths,” according to the Guardian Ideal.
Guardians, according to Raymond, should be able to work part-time or full-time depending on their career goals. “They may go work for NASA Authority, for private industry,” he remarked, adding that they could switch back and forth. Under the present military personnel system, that flexibility is not conceivable.
Some of the flexibility needed by the Space Force is going to require congressional permission and legislation, according to Patricia Mulcahy, the Space Force’s chief human capital officer, who spoke to reporters at Air Space & Cyber. However, the Defense Department (DoD) already has some powers, like the ability to hire private-sector professionals for short-term tasks.
“Because this new talent management concept is distinct from the current military as well as civilian human approaches,” the memo states, “support from both the Department of Defense and Congress will be required and critical to accomplishing it.”
According to Space Force leaders, existing military recruitment strategies are incompatible with the service’s demands because they are meant to bring in vast numbers of individuals and train them in tightly defined and limited specialties.
According to the document, the agency suggests a targeted approach to acquiring fresh talent to “address priority deficiencies wherever they may occur.” Waivers and exemptions from existing service requirements may be required. Other noteworthy aspects of the talent strategy include:
- The Space Force must seek to become a fully digital service, necessitating more digital fluency among all guardians.
- The Space Force’s software coders, data scientists, and information technology professionals will be led by a cadre of “Supra Coders,” who will spearhead digital activities across the force.
- The Space Force is going to invest in individuals whose interests, abilities, and potential align with the service’s current and future needs in order to attract and retain personnel by tailoring policies and practices to provide more equity and flexibility.
- The document includes a “Guardian Commitment” that supports four principles that every guardian is required to possess: commitment, character, connection and courage.