The US Army is utilising cadets to expand its space force in order to meet the growing need to deliver space capabilities to troops on the ground.

The army has designed a programme to allow cadets to quickly become Functional Area 40 (FA40) space operations officers.

FA40 forms the core of the army space force and provides expertise to leverage space-related assets. In addition, it delivers space capabilities to troops.

Currently, there are 285 active component FA40 space operations officers.

According to officials, the ground demand for space operations expertise is helping the expansion of the army’s space force.

Army Space Personnel Development Office director Mike Connolly said that the army intends to recruit and fill a rapidly increasing demand for army officers into the FA40 career field.

Initially, the programme will see ten of these officers transferring as cadets through the Assured Functional Area Transfer (A-FAT) programme.

Alternatively, officers can enter the army space force before they commission under the A-FAT programme.

As part of this, selected cadets with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees will be guaranteed transfer into FA40 Space Operations after serving four years in their career.

In a statement, the army said: “While in their basic branch, the officers must remain in good military standing, and if selected, sign a contract to transfer into the army space force as a space operations officer.”

Following their selection, FA40 officers are required to complete the Space Operations Officer Qualification course.

Officers can also opt for the Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program to seek a branch transfer into the army space force.