Air Command and Staff College
Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), the Air Force's intermediate professional military education (PME) school, prepares field grade officers of all services (primarily majors and major selects), international officers, and US civilians to assume positions of higher responsibility within the military and other government arenas. Geared toward teaching the skills necessary for air and space operations in support of a joint campaign as well as leadership and command, ACSC focuses on shaping and molding tomorrow's leaders and commanders. The college's academic environment stimulates and encourages free expression of ideas as well as independent, analytical, and creative thinking.
ACSC traces its roots to the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) located at Maxwell Field from 1931 to 1942. After World War II, as the independent Air Force was formed, grew, and developed, the requirements and expectations of the school evolved to fulfill the service's educational needs. The vision of pre-World War II leaders has withstood the test of time. Although almost eight decades have passed since the founding of the ACTS, the present 10-month curriculum still focuses on expanding understanding of air and space power and on the growth of midcareer officers. In 1962, the school became known by its current name, Air Command and Staff College.
During academic year 1994, ACSC undertook the most significant change to its educational program since the school's inception. The school transitioned from a lecture-based to a seminar-centered, active environment with an integrated curriculum geared to problem solving across the continuum from peace to war. In academic year 1999, ACSC began efforts to align its curriculum under the Air University commander's Strategic Guidance for the Continuum of Education. The ACSC program now functions as a portion of a comprehensive and integrated career-long professional military education program.
The ACSC curriculum encourages the development of higher order thinking by challenging students to think critically and exercise a combination of analytical and practical tools required as leaders charged with the nation's defense. ACSC graduates are well educated in the profession of arms with emphasis on the use of air and space power in joint campaign planning and the operational art of war.
The ACSC curriculum:
- facilitates the air and space minded thinking of students,
- develops and enhances abilities for higher-level command and staff responsibilities,
- enhances students' abilities to think critically about operational air and space concepts in a dynamic international environment,
- broadens students' understanding of the nature of conflict and current and future threats to the United States and its allies, and
- develops and enhances students' abilities to plan and execute the joint campaign planning process and air and space operations to support the joint force commander.
ACSC's two deans --- academic affairs and distance learning-provide academic leadership to the school's faculty and student body. The dean of academic affairs, assisted by the associate dean for academic affairs and associate dean for operations, coordinates the integration of the final curriculum content and directs the planning and implementation of the academic programs of three curriculum departments: International Security and Military Studies; Joint Warfighting and Leadership; as well as the research program led by the Diorector of Research. The dean of distance learning is responsible for planning, organizing, and delivering the nonresident programs of instruction (Masters Degree and correspondence) through the departments of Curriculum and Operations.
The resident student population is led by the commander of the 21st Student Squadron. The commander and his staff are responsible for the health, morale, and welfare of 500 resident students and their families.
ACSC is located in Spaatz Hall on Chennault Circle at Maxwell AFB, AL. This historic building contains a 600-seat auditorium ideal for lectures by distinguished speakers, a smaller 135-seat auditorium for special presentations, plus a variety of conference rooms, staff and administrative offices, and lounge areas. Seminar sessions are held in specially designed rooms featuring closed-circuit television, an array of multimedia equipment, and student access to a school-wide computer network and the Internet. Students are issued more than 80 books to expand their professional capabilities and a personal laptop computer to use to keep track of the academic schedules, on-line reading assignments, and for use in examinations throughout the academic year.
Preparing for the Challenges of Tomorrow
ACSC continues to evolve as new challenges arise. In February of 2006, then USAF Chief of Staff Gen T. Michael Moseley introduced a bold new plan to include language and cultural/regional studies to Air Force education. The ACSC faculty enthusiastically responded to that vision with a comprehensive assessment and revision of course content. The revision effectively balanced our study of military history, leadership and joint warfighting with a focused examination of the regions of Africa; East Asia and the Pacific area; Europe; “Eurasia”; the Near East; and South and Central America. With this mandate, ACSC has created a fresh approach to teaching mid-career officers and civilians. Not only does ACSC provide language familiarization in Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, French, and Spanish, the Department of International Security and Military Studies addresses how political cultural, strategic military and regional contexts impact military operations. The department also educates students on how military planners and leaders think creatively about air space, and cyber power and examines how air power may be used to achieve national objectives. Furthermore, ACSC has utilized more exercises than ever before. The Joint Warfighting Department cooperates with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Naval War College in executing the Intermediate Level Exercise, and complex joint planning exercise. Student planning cells at the three campuses served as a joint task force headquarters and functional component headquarters responding to an emerging regional crisis. The AY06 event was a proof of concept exercise to validate educational objectives, exercise design and the ability to create a collaborative learning environment using state-of-the-art information sharing tools. The Intermediate Level Exercise continues to adapt to maintain currency and relevancy with real world environment. The final exercise in the curriculum is the Capstone Wargame, a fully collaborative exercise that gives students the opportunity to employ air, space, and cyberspace forces in a crisis action planning scenario. Students who successfully complete the 10-month resident program of study receive a master's degree in Military Operational Art and Science.
For further information please visit the Air Command And Staff College school website here.