New CAF Space Specialist Skill Badge

News Article / May 11, 2020

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By Lieutenant Nora Amrane

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel who have achieved a combination of formal space qualifications and experience are now eligible to proudly wear the Space Specialist Skill Badge (Space SSB).

“It’s my pleasure to introduce the new Space Specialist Skill Badge to recognize members who have been trained and directly employed in diverse and rapidly evolving CAF Joint Space force development, force generation and force employment roles,” said Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Space SSB was endorsed as a Specialist Skill Badge at a National Defence Clothing and Dress Committee in October 2019. CAF SSBs are intended to recognize exceptional qualifications – in this case, the fast-evolving space discipline. Core Joint Space cadre positions include those where the majority of primary duties are dedicated to the development, employment, or generation of space capabilities.

The metal badge of a silver colour is aimed to reflect diverse space mission area qualifications and experience. The design element of the badge holds significant meaning. The maple leaf, a symbol long associated with Canada, identifies the wearer of the badge as having met the qualifications and experience of CAF personnel employed in a Space role. The globe represents the Earth as viewed from space. It is centered as it is both the origin and the control point for all satellites. The lines of latitude and longitude emphasize the global nature of space operations. The satellite that surrounds the globe represents Alouette I, the first Canadian satellite. Its ellipse represent the orbital paths traced by the satellites in orbit. Finally, the base upon which these elements rest – the laurel wreath – symbolizes the excellence in training and execution of duty.

“The Space SSB is prominent recognition of our dedicated space professionals who possess unique skill and experience essential to addressing rapidly evolving space domain requirements for the CAF,” said Brigadier-General Kevin G. Whale, Director General Space/CAF Space Component Commander. “The Space Cadre is an integral part of Canada’s defence forces, and this is another step forward in the ongoing evolution of this capability.”

Canada was an early adopter of space capabilities and was the third state to become space-faring with the Alouette I, a Defence research satellite that was launched in 1962 to study the impact of the ionosphere on radio communications. Today, Canada has over 50 active commercial, civil, and military satellites in orbit, including those directly in support of the CAF. Additionally, the CAF collaborates broadly with Combined Space Operations (CSpO) allies and partners, as well as with other departments such as the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to strengthen deterrence, improve the resilience of space systems, and optimize resources across nations.

The CAF recognizes the critical and expanding role of the Joint Space cadre in developing, employing and generating space capabilities and effects in support of CAF missions at home and abroad. Space is a congested, contested and competitive operational domain and space capabilities are critical enablers to CAF, NORAD and NATO operations in the form of surveillance of space, surveillance from space, satellite communications and position, navigation and timing.

As a means of recognizing Joint Space cadre contributions, the Space SSB will be a visible recognition of the Space qualifications, skills and experience within the CAF.

Full details on the Space SSB background, policy direction, and merit criteria can be found in the Air Force Order (AFO) 1002-1 Space Specialist Skill Badge. For those interested in applying for the Space SSB, a form is available in ANNEX D of the AFO 1002-1.

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