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Air University (United States Air Force): Wikis


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Air University
Air University.png
Emblem of Air University
Active 1920-1942; 1943-Present
Country United States of America
Branch United States Air Force
Type Professional Military Education

The United States Air Force Air University (AU) is a component of the United States Air Force's Air Education and Training Command, headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Air University is the U.S. Air Force’s primary center for professional military education.



Air Force Institute of Technology
Air Force Research Institute
Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education
Air War College
Air Force Fellows
School of Advanced Air and Space Studies
Air Command and Staff College
Squadron Officer College
Air and Space Basic Course
Squadron Officer School
International Officers School
Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development & Education
Education Logistics and Communications
Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development
Commanders School
Air Force Chaplain Service Institute
Air Force Human Resource Management School
Defense Financial Management & Comptroller School
Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development
Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps
Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp
Officer Training School
Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education
Airman Leadership School
Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute
Air Force Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy
Correspondence Courses
Community College of the Air Force
USAF First Sergeant Academy

Schools and centers

The institutions that fall under Air University include:


Enlisted Professional Military Education

College for Enlisted Professional Military Education.png

The Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education (formerly the College for Enlisted Professional Military Education) is responsible for the instructional programs and faculty development for all Air Force enlisted professional military education programs. This includes the Airman Leadership Schools, Noncommissioned Officer Academies and the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

The Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy graduates more than 1,800 Air Force chief master sergeant selectees, senior master sergeants, senior master sergeant selectees, and non-commissioned officers from other U.S. military services and the services of international U.S.-allied nations annually. It is located on Maxwell AFB's Gunter Annex.

The NCO Academies provide selected noncommissioned officers quality professional military education to develop their skills and responsibilities in the United States Air Force. The objective is for the student to gain an understanding of their positions in the military structure and the need to develop the skills necessary for effectiveness in those supervisory positions. Several NCO Academies operate worldwide on various Air Force installations.

Officer Professional Military Education

The Squadron Officer College is designed to educate company grade officers on the basic concepts of modern air and space warfare and the essentials of military leadership. Squadron Officer college is composed of two educational schools: the Air and Space Basic Course and Squadron Officer School.

The Air and Space Basic Course is a six-week program organized to teach second lieutenants and civilian equivalents the essential concepts of how the Air Force prosecutes air wars. In July 2009, the program will have incorporated combatives and deployment training.

Squadron Officer School (SOS) is designed to teach the essence of military leadership, air,space, and cyberspace doctrine, international security issues, and communication skills. Students at SOS have achieved the rank of captain.

Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) is the Air Force’s intermediate professional military education school, prepares field grade officers of all U.S. services (primarily USAF majors), international officers and U.S. civilians to assume positions of higher responsibility within the military and other government arenas. The curriculum is geared toward teaching the skills necessary to conduct air and space operations in support of a joint campaign.

Air War College (AWC) is the Air Force professional military education school. It educates selected senior officers of all U.S. services (primarily Air Force lieutenant colonels), international officers and U.S. Department of Defense civilians of grade GS-14/GM-14 to lead at the strategic level in the employment of air and space forces. The curriculum focuses on coalition warfighting and national security issues, with emphasis on the effective employment of aerospace forces in joint and combined combat operations.

Officer Accessions

The Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools (AFOATS) operates two of the four officer commissioning sources. These are the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) and the Air Force Officer Training School.

Although they are USAF officer accession and training programs, the United States Air Force Academy and the Air National Guard's Academy of Military Science (AMS) do not fall under Air University. The Air Force Academy is a Direct Reporting Unit (DRU), and the Superintendent of the Academy reports directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff. Admission to and administration of the ANG Academy of Military Science is controlled by the National Guard Bureau.

Citizenship education

Air University administers the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) program. This program provides citizenship training and air and space science education via a cadet program for high school students.

Air University is the command echelon equivalent to a numbered air force for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official United States Air Force Auxiliary. CAP supports the nation through three missions: emergency services, aerospace education, and cadet programs for middle school/junior high school and high school students.

Academic Education

CCAF emblem

The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is the only degree-granting institution of higher learning in the world dedicated exclusively to enlisted personnel. CCAF offers educational opportunities for active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve airmen and NCOs to earn a job-related, two-year undergraduate associate of applied science degree. CCAF also facilitates selected professional certification and recognition for airmen.

  • Possession of a CCAF degree has in recent years become a de facto mandatory requirement for promotion to Senior Master Sergeant and higher, regardless of whether or not the candidate has a civilian degree such as a baccalaureate. This de facto status is now official: starting with the 2007 promotion cycle, promotion candidates cannot receive critical endorsements on performance reports without having first received an Associates Degree from CCAF.
AFIT emblem

The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) supports the Air Force and national defense through responsive degree-granting graduate and professional continuing education, research and consulting services to Air Force and Department of Defense agencies. Graduate-level work offers selected Air Force members, Air Force civilians, and international officers the broad educational experience necessary for understanding the role of technology in national defense and in analyzing and solving defense-related problems.

Professional continuing education

The Air Force Doctrine Development and Education Center is a result of a merger between the College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research and Education (CADRE) and the Air Force Doctrine Center.

The Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development provides continuing education and technical training to Air Force and other Department of Defense personnel and international officers, including resident and distance-learning courses for a variety of Air Force specialties.

The International Officer School conducts classes to enhance international officers' understanding of the United States and to prepare them to attend Air War College, Air Command and Staff College or Squadron Officer College.

Advanced Professional Military Education

The School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS) is the US Air Force graduate school for airpower and space power strategists. A highly qualified and motivated faculty, a small and very carefully selected student body, a coherent and challenging curriculum, an outstanding educational and research resources, and a well-designed facility combine to produce tomorrow’s senior military leaders who are experts in the employment of air and space forces. SAASS is a follow-on school for selected graduates of intermediate-level professional military education schools. The focus of SAASS is to educate officers in the art and science of air and space warfare to enhance the Air Force's capacity to defend the United States through the control and exploitation of air and space.



  • Authorized as the Air Service School by the War Department on February 25, 1920, and established that same year, exact date unknown
  • Redesignated: Air Service Field Officers' School on February 10, 1921
  • Redesignated: Air Service Tactical School on November 8, 1922
  • Redesignated: Air Corps Tactical School on August 18, 1926
  • Discontinued on October 9, 1942
  • Established as: Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics, 16 Oct 1943
History and insignia of Air Corps Tactical School bestowed upon activation.
  • Redesignated as: Army Air Forces School on June 1, 1945
Established as Major Command: 29 November 1945
  • Redesignated as: Air University on March 12, 1946
Reassigned to Air Training Command on 15 May 1978, losing major command status
Returned to major command status effective 1 July 1983
Changed from a major command of the United States Air Force to a subordinate organization of Air Education and Training Command on 1 July 1993.



See Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics page for World War II units and stations assigned

During 1943-1945 the Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics operated a combat simulation facilty in Florida. Units and airfields were established throughout an 8,000-square-mile (21,000 km2) area of north central Florida designated a mock "war theater" stretching roughly from Tampa to Titusville to Starke to Apalachicola in which war games were conducted.


The Wright Brothers established the first U.S. civilian flying school in Montgomery, Alabama in 1910. By the 1920s, Montgomery became an important link in the growing system of aerial mail service. It was in the early 1930s when the Army Air Corps Tactical School moved to Maxwell Field and Montgomery became the country's intellectual center for airpower education.

Air University (AU), established in 1946, continues the proud tradition of educating tomorrow's planners and leaders, in air and space power for the Air Force, other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, federal government civilians and many international organizations. Today, AU has a reach worldwide affecting the careers of every Air Force member.


As a result of the US Army Reorganization Act of 1920, the Air Service authorized the establishment of an Air Service School on 10 FebRuary 1921 at Langley Field, Virginia. To reflect its primary mission of preparing senior officers for higher Air Service duty, the Air Service redesignated the Air Service School as the Air Service Field Officers' School.

Following the decision to let all Air Service officers attend the institution in 1922, the Air Service redesignated the Air Service Field Officers' School as the Air Service Tactical School. In conjunction with the 1926 redesignation of the Army Air Service as the Army Air Corps, the Air Service Tactical School became the Air Corps Tactical School. To take advantage of the propitious climate and facilities expansion potential, the Army Air Corps began moving the Air Corps Tactical School from Langley Field in Virginia in 1931 to Maxwell Field, Alabama.

World War II

See Also: Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics

Because of the wartime need for officers of the caliber of those attending the Maxwell institution, in May 1941 the Army Air Corps suspended instruction at the tactical school and reduced its faculty and staff to seven officers. Anticipating the institution's eventual reopening, the Army Air Corps moved the skeletonized Air Corps Tactical School to Washington, D.C., and placed it under the Directorate of Individual Training. In spite of the institution's successful efforts in developing Air Corps planners and leaders, the Air Corps discontinued the Air Corps Tactical School on 9 October 1942 with the intention of reopening it after the war.

To partially fill the educational void left by the discontinuance of the Tactical School and to correct the growing shortage of experienced Air Corps officers, the Air Corps authorized the establishment of the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics on 9 Oct 42. The Army Air Forces activated the AAF School of Applied Tactics at Orlando Army Air Base, Florida, with the mission to train "selected officers" under simulated combat conditions. Based on lessons learned in the combat theaters and the school's actual operational experiences, the AAF established the AAF Tactical Center with the AAF School of Applied Tactics as a subordinate unit. Due to a major reorganization of the Tactical Center and a change in the types of courses conducted by the institution, the Army Air Forces redesignated the AAF School of Applied Tactics as the AAF School on 1 Jun 45.

Postwar Era

In preparation for its post-war educational operations, the Army, Air Forces transferred the AAF School from Orlando to Maxwell Field, Alabama on 29 November 1945 and assigned it directly to the AAF as a major command.

In the first conclave of its kind since the end of World War II, the AAF Educational Conference ended after a three-day meeting on 20 Feb 1945 to discuss the post-war AAF educational structure. The Army Air Forces began the first instructor training course in March 1946 for preparing instructors to teach at the post-war AAF educational institutions.

HQ AAF redesignated the Army Air Forces School as Air University (AU) on 12 March 1946 and established the Air War College, Air Command and Staff School, and Air Tactical School as its subordinate units. The AU commander organized the Air University Board of Visitors, composed of senior educators and university administrators, to meet regularly and advise him on educational matters.

Air University became operational on 1 April 1946 when the AAF transferred the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, Texas, from Air Training Command to Air University. To take advantage of existing facilities, Air University transferred the Air Tactical School from Maxwell Field to Tyndall Field, Florida on 21 May 1946. Major General Orvil A. Anderson was appointed the first commandant of the Air War College, the senior school in the three-tiered AAF officer professional military education (PME) system.

Assuming responsibilities comparable to those of the Army and Navy advisers on the HQ AU staff, the Royal Air Force liaison officer became a part of the HQ AU staff on 1 June 1946. Members of the Air University Board of Visitors concluded their first meeting. With such dignitaries as Gen Carl Spaatz, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces; Air Marshall Hugh P. Lloyd, Royal Air Force; and the class members of the Air War College and the Air Command and Staff School participating, Air University was officially dedicated during a ceremony at Maxwell Field.

Classes began at the Air War College and the Air Command and Staff School on 4 September 1946, fulfilling the "dream for education in airpower" of most post-war AAF leaders and planners. The Air Tactical School, the Junior officer PME program of the AU educational system, began classes at Tyndall in January 1947. Later that year, the Royal Canadian Air Force sent its first group of students to the two-week indoctrination course at Maxwell. With Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson as the guest speaker, the Air War College and the Air Command and Staff School conducted a combined graduation ceremony. for 185 senior and field grade officers.

As a result of the National Security Act of 1947, the United States Air Force became a separate and independent branch of the US military on 18 September. In keeping with the Air Force's new status, HQ USAF redesignated Maxwell Field as Maxwell Air Force Base on 13 January 1948.

On 12 July 1949, HQ USAF established the Air University Human Resources Research Institute. It was one of three USAF field agencies created to conduct research on the human factor in Air Force planning and operations. Air University established the 3894th AU School Squadron to provide administrative support to Air Force instructors and students at the various service schools operated by the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. With a mission to "preserve for those who come after us an accurate and objective account of our present experience," the USAF Historical Division relocated from Washington, D.C., in September 1949 to Maxwell and became a part of the Air University Library.


Air University was awarded the Space Foundation's inaugral Space Achievement award in 1995[1]


External links


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