Two and a half years after the Space Force was established, the Department of Veteran Affairs has finally and officially recognized the organization as a branch of military service.
The Space Force is structurally organized under the Department of the Air Force, quite similar to how the Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy. As the newest and smallest branch of service, the Space Force is made up of 8,400 personnel but has an annual budget of almost $20 billion.
The branch has 13 CONUS locations and four OCONUS locations.
The Space Force was formally established on December 20, 2019, when the National Defense Authorization Act was signed by then-President Donald Trump.
It wasn’t until 2021 that congress expanded the definition of “veteran” to include Guardians. In the same year, laws were passed that required the VA to include members of the Space Force in the pool of service members covered by their benefits.
'Space Force' Is Now Official to the VA, but Not Everyone Is on the Same Page https://t.co/siiEguwz1n
— Military.com (@Militarydotcom) May 3, 2022
Almost a year later, the VA has announced that their regulations have been updated to recognize the Space Force as a branch of service and include former Guardians as military veterans.
While this is a legislative win for the new branch, there have been no reports to date of Guardians, active or separated, being denied VA claims. Still, this legislative is not without immediate value to members of the new branch’s community.
Navigating the VA may not have been an issue for Guardians and their families, but acceptance elsewhere has been reported with an unsurprising level of frequency. Many Guardians and their dependents have reported issues receiving service from Tri-Care, Others report being denied military and veteran discounts from retailers and service providers.
One Guardian reported having trouble booking accommodations at a Navy facility as the online booking page did not provide “Space Force” as a service from which to choose in their booking menu. According to an article posted my MilitaryFamilies.com, the issue took three separate phone calls to solve.