Credit: Staff Sgt. James Richardson Jr.

Starting next year, Johns Hopkins University will help teach members of the U.S. Space Force, the nation’s newest and smallest military branch, university officials announced Wednesday.

Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will offer intermediate- and senior-level developmental education programs in Washington, D.C., for Space Force officers, other service members, and civilians.

“We are thrilled to partner with SAIS and the US Space Force in this important program that is focusing not only on a variety of national security and strategy-related courses but also on space focused master’s- level classes that will be beneficial to the future leaders of the USSF,” said Patrick Binning, chair of Hopkins’ Space Systems Engineering program, in a statement.

The U.S. Space Force was created in 2019 under then-President Donald Trump. It is the nation’s smallest military branch, with about 8,400 Guardians as of April 2022, and it is expected to grow by 200 new recruits in 2023.

Hopkins’ SAIS is a graduate school based in Washington, D.C., allowing students who are part of the U.S. Space Force to avoid a permanent change of station move, and improve their family stability, quality of life, and a “seamless transition to their follow-on assignment,” space force officials said.

Faculty from Hopkins’ engineering school will offer elective courses focused on space, with areas of study including systems engineering for space; fundamentals of engineering space systems; and spacecraft integration and testing.

Hopkins’ Engineering for Professionals program currently serves about 5,000 students globally, with more than 600 online classes offered.

“Our classes are taught by working engineers who not only provide students with real-world skills in their fields, but also the opportunity to forge lasting professional connections,” said Dan Horn, associate dean of Engineering for Professionals, in a statement. “We are excited to engage in this partnership.”

U.S. Space Force officials said the partnership will support the goals of Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond.

“Our service has been entrusted to protect and defend domains that underpin every other branch’s ability to execute their missions,” Raymond said in a statement. “We are capitalizing on a once-in-a-century opportunity to build and integrate structures, institutions, and processes that prepare our Guardians to take on the unique challenges and opportunities of space operations.”

Space force officials added that the collaboration between the military branch and a civilian education institution is “an innovative approach to deliver the best of both worlds to the officer development experience.”

“Our talent development processes must be uniquely designed to allow our Guardians to thrive and reach their full potential,” said Katharine Kelley, Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Human Capital, in a statement. “To develop superior space capabilities and deliver warfighting solutions, we must deliberately grow our Guardians to think, act, and fight strategically with an understanding of how they fit into the larger ecosystem of the space community.”

Maj Gen Shawn Bratton, Space Training and Readiness Command commander, said in a statement that the partnership with Hopkins will give the force’s Guardians “greater access to cutting-edge STEM electives, laboratory research opportunities, and a wider range of commercial space sector program opportunities in the Washington, D.C.-area.”

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at