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Air University, a major command direct reporting unit headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., is a major component of Air Education and Training Command, and is the Air Force's center for professional military education.

Mission

Air University conducts professional military education, graduate education and professional continuing education for officers, enlisted personnel and civilians to prepare them for command, staff, leadership and management responsibilities. Specialized and degree-granting programs provide education to meet Air Force requirements in scientific, technological, managerial and other professional areas. In addition, Air University is responsible for research in designated fields of aerospace education, leadership and management, provides pre-commissioning training, and offers selected courses for enlisted personnel leading to the awarding of select Air Force specialty credentials. Air University also contributes to the development and testing of Air Force doctrine, concepts and strategy.

Although Air University draws students from throughout the Department of Defense and from the military forces of other nations, its mission is more easily described in terms of the two main groups it is organized to serve: U.S. Air Force commissioned officers and enlisted members. For each group, educational opportunities begin before they enter active service and follow them throughout their careers.

Before deciding on a career in the Air Force, many young people receive education through Air University programs; such as Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, Air Force ROTC programs and the Civil Air Patrol. All are beneficial to individuals regardless of their later category of service. For future officers, AFROTC is one path to commissioning. For future enlisted people, participation in any of the three programs can lead to a higher initial rank upon enlistment. Upon enlistment, airmen begin earning credit toward a Community College of the Air Force associate's degree as they attend basic training.

Organization

The commander of Air University functions in a dual capacity as commander and also Air Education and Training Command's director of education.

Air Force Officer Accession And Training Schools
Nearly 75 percent of all newly commissioned officers begin their careers after completing Air University's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps or Officer Training School programs. In February 1997, in an effort to reduce duplication of effort and streamline administrative and reporting procedures within Air University, these two organizations realigned under the newly created Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools. This restructuring places three quarters of Air Force officer production under AFOATS and facilitates the sharing of manpower and expertise with minimum affect on the day-to-day operations of AFROTC or OTS.

AFOATS provides coordinated leadership and policy direction for the Air Force's officer recruiting, training and commissioning programs at Officer Training School and at Air Force ROTC detachments at 144 universities. The organization's staff manage support and develops curriculum to train tomorrow's Air Force officers. AFOATS also directs the Air Force's high school citizenship training program – Air Force Junior ROTC.

Reserve Officer Training Corps
Air Force ROTC, with its headquarters at Maxwell AFB, is the largest and oldest source of commissioned officers for the Air Force. The organization's mission is to produce leaders for the Air Force and to build better citizens for America. Air Force ROTC is active on more than 144 college and university campuses. More than 750 additional schools offer the program under cross-town agreements that allow their students to attend Air Force ROTC classes at an area host school. The program commissions about 1,900 second lieutenants each year.

Air Force ROTC also administers the Air Force Junior ROTC program. This program provides citizenship training and an aerospace science program for high school youth. The program focuses on self-confidence, self-esteem, teamwork, leadership and the importance of community service. Located on 609 high school campuses throughout the nation, in locations such as Guam, Puerto Rico and selected U.S. dependent schools overseas, Air Force Junior ROTC touches more than 91,000 young people every day.

Officer Training School
Officer Training School, located at Maxwell, is the "flexible partner" of Air Force commissioning programs. OTS provides two officer training programs: Basic Officer Training and Commissioned Officer Training. Basic Officer Training is an intensive 13-and-a-half-week program that prepares officer candidates for the technical, physical and professional requirements of commissioned service. Approximately 700 OTS graduates enter skill training or supervisory positions each year in all major career areas. In the past, OTS has surged to meet wartime officer requirements in its "flexible partner role," producing as many as 7,000 new second lieutenants in one year.

Commissioned officer training is located at Gunter Annex, and shares facilities with the Senior NCO Academy. This training provides initial officership training for nearly 2,700 Air Force judge advocates, chaplains, medical service officers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, bioenvironmental engineers and hospital administrators) and medical scholarship recipients each year.

Professional Military Education

Squadron Officer School
Professional military education for Air Force officers begins with Squadron Officer School. Captains build the foundations for their careers in four curriculum areas: officership, air and space power, leadership tools and applications. They develop skills, techniques and attitudes to better serve as leaders and mid-level supervisors in the Air Force. The academic curriculum is presented through readings, lectures and seminars.

The field leadership program uses a spectrum of competitive activities to develop students' leadership techniques and problem solving skills in a pressure-packed environment. Classes are seven weeks long with an enrollment of more than 700, including 25 civilians in each class. Three courses each year include international officers. With six classes each year, more than 3,800 students attend this course annually.

Air Command And Staff College
Air Command and Staff College, the next level of officer PME, is foremost among professional military education schools in developing new teaching and learning techniques. The college uses computer-based education and world-class hyperinformation systems to annually educate almost 600 resident and more than 7,000 nonresident mid-career officers and Department of Defense civilians.

ACSC's 40-week curriculum focuses on educating students on the profession of arms, the requisites of command, the nature of war, and the application of air and space power at the theater warfare level. The college prepares officers to apply air and space power during peace and war and challenges faculty and students to think critically and creatively. The curriculum emphasizes warfare at the operational and strategic levels through nine major courses of study woven around a problem-solving methodology for a theater-joint campaign.

Air War College
Air War College is the senior school in the Air Force professional military education system. The college prepares selected senior officers for key staff and command assignments, where they will manage and employ aerospace power as a component of national security.

The curriculum focuses on warfighting and national security issues, with emphasis on the effective employment of aerospace forces in joint and combined combat operations. Each class lasts 44 weeks. Its enrollment of more than 250 consists of officers from all branches of the armed forces, international officers and civilians of equivalent rank from U.S. government agencies.

Special activities throughout the year complement the learning process in many phases of the Air War College curriculum. Each year the college conducts a one-week National Security Forum which brings students into contact with business, civic and professional leaders from throughout the U.S. to discuss issues affecting national security. The forum is a highlight and the culmination of the ten-month Air War College course of study.

College for Enlisted Professional Military Education
Headquartered at Maxwell's Gunter Annex, the College for Enlisted Professional Military Education is responsible for designing the curriculum taught at Airman Leadership Schools, noncommissioned officer academies and the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy. The college directly operates the two advanced phases of enlisted PME, the stateside NCO academies and the Senior NCO Academy. Major commands operate their own Airman Leadership Schools using curriculum designed by the college.

All enlisted PME courses contain instruction in areas designed to prepare students for positions of greater responsibility. Airman Leadership Schools prepare senior airmen to be noncommissioned officers. NCO academies prepare technical sergeants to be senior NCOs. Each level of education contains instruction in military studies and communication, as well as leadership and management. Completion of the appropriate level of PME is a prerequisite to sewing on the next stripe.

U.S. Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy
The capstone of enlisted professional military education is the Senior NCO Academy, located at Maxwell's Gunter Annex. The school puts the final professional polish on senior enlisted leaders from the Air Force and selected individuals from the other services as it prepares them to be chiefs.

Designed for professional managers, the curriculum focuses on leadership and management, communication skills and military studies. The academy uses case studies and group problem solving as well as lectures and small-group activities to promote the exchange of ideas. The academy conducts five, seven-week classes each year and has an annual enrollment of almost 1,800 students.

Academic Education

Community College of the Air Force
The Community College of the Air Force is the only degree-granting institution of higher learning in the world dedicated exclusively to enlisted people. CCAF offers a unique opportunity for motivated, career-oriented airmen and NCOs to earn a job-related, two-year undergraduate degree.

Open to active-duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members, the college awards Associate in Applied Science degrees. The curriculum is designed to fuse technical and professional military education with off-duty education at civilian institutions. This careful mix of education from diverse sources equips graduates with information and mental tools needed for enhanced performance within their Air Force specialties.

The Community College of the Air Force is America's largest community, junior or technical college. The college has awarded more than 125,000 associate in applied science degrees since it first opened in 1972. CCAF is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Air Force Institute Of Technology
Meeting the Air Force's graduate education needs is the Air Force Institute of Technology, known as AFIT, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. AFIT grants masters and doctoral degrees at its two resident graduate schools and supervises students enrolled in its civilian institutions program. AFIT's Graduate School of Engineering is among the nation's top engineering schools and provides advanced education and research focused on aerospace technology. AFIT's Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management provides officers the advanced expertise they need to manage the life cycles of complex weapons systems.

AFIT's Civilian Institutions Program places students in more than 400 civilian universities, research centers, hospitals, and industrial organizations throughout the United States and in several other countries. Through its two resident schools and the Civilian Institutions Program, AFIT graduates about 800 degree students annually.

AFIT also has two resident schools dedicated to short, specialized courses in professional continuing education, and to provide expert consultation services to Air Force commanders and their staffs. The Civil Engineer and Services School provides engineering, environmental, services and management courses to customers throughout DOD and other federal agencies. The School of Systems and Logistics was instrumental in creating the Air Technology Network, where students learn in a classroom without walls. By providing courses via satellite, many more people have access to AFIT's courses without compromising learning, yet still providing a significant cost saving for customers. Building on AFIT's success, distance learning is expanding across Air University

In all, well over 30,000 students graduate from these continuing education programs each year.

Continuing Professional Education

Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development
The first, the Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development, consists of six schools. With 6,000 students attending each year, it is Air University's largest resident college. The college draws students from an extraordinarily broad spectrum of ranks and occupations.

The College for Professional Development provides courses for chaplains, commanders, personnel and manpower managers, comptrollers, family support center mangers, judge advocates, first sergeants and historians. In addition, the college awards Air Force specialty codes to paralegal specialists and chaplain assistants.

College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research And Education
The second organization is the College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research and Education, or CADRE. In addition to a Contingency Wartime Planning Course and a Joint Doctrine Air Campaign Course, CADRE conducts both a Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course and a Joint Forces Air Component Commanders Course, each offered two times a year. These two courses prepare general officers from all military services for leadership positions in the joint war fighting environment.

CADRE is also responsible for doctrine research and education. Its doctrine analysts examine both existing and proposed concepts and strategies and deliver the results directly to the Air Force Doctrine Center. Also, CADRE's Air Force Wargaming Institute conducts numerous games each year to enhance the war fighting skills of both U.S. and international military officers. Competing demands for war gaming support make the Air Force Wargaming Institute a highly visible entity throughout DOD.

Other AU Organizations

Office of Academic Support
The Office of Academic Support directs organizations which enhance the ability of Air University's major schools to accomplish their missions. These organizations include: Air University Library, which provides educational and research library services and cartographic support to the headquarters, schools, colleges and tenant units; Academic Instructor School which prepares AU and other Air Force instructors for both resident and distance learning education; and the International Officer School which prepares international officers to enter schools and courses. Other organizations under the OAS include: Air University Television, which supports resident and distance learning instruction; the Extension Course Institute, which publishes approximately 330 correspondence courses in specialized, career development and PME; Air University Press, which acquires, edits and publishes books, monographs, and journals on airpower topics; and Educational Technology.

Civil Air Patrol
The Civil Air Patrol, or CAP, has its national headquarters at Maxwell. Chartered by Congress as the official auxiliary of the Air Force, it is a private, non-profit organization with three missions: emergency service, aerospace education, and conducting a cadet program.

An Air Force liaison staff provides advice and assistance to CAP's full-time corporate staff. CAP's members manage all aspects of their day-to-day operations. The Civil Air Patrol program has more than 50,000 members in 52 wings; one in each state, as well as in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. CAP units also exist at several American installations overseas.

42nd Air Base Wing
The 42nd Air Base Wing, as the host base organization for Maxwell and Gunter, provides a wide range of support for Air University and other organizations and personnel assigned to the installations. Essentially, the wing owns and is responsible for the facilities' infrastructure and provides support to all assigned personnel. Organized with support as a primary function, the 42nd Wing is divided into three groups, an operations squadron and a comptroller squadron.

History

At the close of World War II, as plans were made to establish the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the armed forces, officials recognized that continuing professional education would be as important to the new service's future as its inventory of weapons.

In 1946, under the direction of Gen. Muir S. Fairchild, a group of educational pioneers made plans for a new professional military educational system. They envisioned a centrally managed university complex with schools and colleges to meet a variety of needs. Today, Air University and its educational facilities stand as visible evidence of the soundness of their planning.

POINT OF CONTACT

42nd Air Base Wing, Public Affairs Office; 50 LeMay Plaza South; Maxwell AFB, Ala. 36112-6334; DSN 493-2014 or (205) 953-2014. For the Air University home page, go here.

Above Information Courtesy of United States Air Force

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