June 30 (UPI) -- Fifty active-duty Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel have been chosen to transfer to the U.S. Space Force and will join the branch in July, the Space Force said on Wednesday.
The group will test integration efforts to bring additional personnel into the new military branch, founded in 2019 with a mandate to deter aggression and protect the interests of the United States in space.
The transfers, who will join the branch next month, were selected from a pool of 3,700 officers and enlisted personnel who submitted applications in March.
Another 350 will be selected for transfer in July, each matched to specific Space Force specialties, including space operations, intelligence, cyber, engineering and acquisition, a Space Force press release said.
"The competition for selection has been tough. So many of the applicants are top performers with experiences and skillsets well-suited for the Space Force," Patricia Mulcahy, Space Force Chief Human Capital Officer, said in the release.
"We had the tough job of reviewing the applications to select the 50 candidates for this first transfer opportunity, and will use a similar process for the remainder," Mulcahy said.
The 50, referred to as part of the Inter-Service Transfer to Space Force, Tranche 1, join about 4,800 personnel, largely from the Air Force, who currently comprise the Pentagon's newest branch.
The initial stocking of the Space Force came in 2020, when 2,410 active-duty Air Force personnel, from a pool of 8,500 who volunteered, were formally transferred.
At the same time, the Air Force identified 23 units and organizations, housed at Air Force bases across the country, to be transferred to the Space Force.
In December 2020, Space Force chief Gen. John Raymond, became the eighth member of the Defense Department's Joint Chiefs of Staff.