Air War College

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Air War College
Established 1946
Location Montgomery, Alabama, US
Campus Maxwell-Gunter AFB

The Air War College (AWC) is the senior professional military education school of the U.S. Air Force. A part of the United States Air Force's Air University, AWC emphasizes the employment of air, space, and cyberspace in joint operations.[1] Headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, its higher headquarters is Air Education and Training Command (AETC) at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.[2] It is one of six war colleges within the Department of Defense's Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase II Education Program.[3]


The Air War College was founded in 1946 by the United States War Department (subsequently merged with the Navy Department to form the Department of Defense) at what was then Maxwell Field. The college has operated continuously since its founding except for a period of six months during the Korean War.[4] AWC operates alongside the Army War College, the Naval War College's College of Naval Warfare, the Marine Corps War College, and the National Defense University's National War College, Armed Forces Staff College (AFSC) and Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) programs within the Department of Defense's Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase II Education Program.

Professional Military Education[edit]

In 2006, the Air War College (AWC) curriculum was certified as a JPME Phase II program by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for AWC classes in Academic Year 2007 and subsequent.[5] According to the most recent posting on the official Air War College webpage "The AWC resident program class membership includes senior officers in the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel or U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard Commander (O-5), and Colonel or USN/USCG Captain (O-6) level] from each U.S. military service (both Active Component and Reserve Component, the latter to include the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard), civilian employees of federal government agencies at grade GS-14/GM-14 or GS-15/GM-15, and equivalent rank military officers from the international community of nations."[6]

Senior member Lieutenant Colonels (as opposed to Cadet Lieutenant Colonels) and above of the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, are also eligible to attend Air War College via "distance learning," e.g., individually via correspondence course/CD-ROM, or in a traditional classroom setting as part of a year-long on-base seminar program at an active USAF installation, which is also an option exercised by many senior Active Component and Reserve Component U.S. military officers.[7]

The AWC resident program consists of ten (10) months of graduate level courses for a total of 36 credit hours. Graduates receive a Master of Strategic Studies consisting of 4 credit hours in electives, 5 credit hours in research, 3 credit hours in Joint Strategic Leadership, 3 credit hours in National Security Decision Making, 5 credit hours in Foundations of Strategy, 6 credit hours in Warfighting, 4 credit hours in Regional and Cultural Studies, 3 credit hours in Global Security, and 3 credit hours from the capstone Global Challenge Wargame. The AWC Website curriculum page at contains details on admission, graduation requirements, and descriptions of core and elective courses.

Course description[edit]

The Air War College is the senior professional military education school of the U.S. Air Force. It emphasizes the development of joint knowledges, skills and attributes required of all Air Force, Sister Service, and international senior officers as well as Department of Defense and other National Security civilians, with special focus on their application to large organization and institutional leadership responsibilities. The resident course is ten months long. The school also offers a ten month non-resident seminar program on select active USAF installations and at the Pentagon which mirrors the same ten month academic schedule of the resident program. There is also a non-resident Air War College CD-ROM/correspondence course that is typically completed in 20 months or less.[8]

The Air War College's Mission is to: "prepare students to lead in a joint, interagency and multinational environment at the strategic level across the range of military operations; to develop cross-domain mastery of joint air, space, and cyberspace power and its strategic contributions to national security; and to advance innovative thought on National Security, Department of Defense and Air Forces issues."[6]

The AWC curriculum focuses on five learning areas of emphasis:[6]

  • Learning Area 1: Profession of Arms Emphasis. Graduates are capable of leading in a joint environment at the strategic level across the range of military operations.
  • Learning Area 2: Warfare Studies Emphasis. Graduates make sound judgments on the cross-domain use of joint air, space and cyberspace power to maintain national security.
  • Learning Area 3: Leadership Studies Emphasis. Graduates are prepared to exercise transformational leadership at group/wing command and above levels in service, joint, and coalition settings.
  • Learning Area 4: International Security Studies Emphasis. Graduates are equipped to advance innovative thought on national security, Department of Defense and Air Force issues.
  • Learning Area 5: Communication Studies Emphasis. Graduates can communicate complex information in a clear, concise and logical manner in both written and oral formats.


The umbrella organization for AWC, the Air University, is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is authorized to grant the following degrees:

Master of Strategic Studies – offered by the Air War College

Master of Military Operational Art and Science – offered by the Air Command and Staff College

Master of Aerospace Studies – offered by the School of Advanced Airpower Studies

Master of Science in Flight Test Engineering – offered by the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School

Associate in Applied Science – offered for USAF enlisted personnel by the Community College of the Air Force with majors in 68 areas

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Welcome to Air War College, Air University. (2012-03-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  2. ^ AETC - Home. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ Air War College receives joint Phase II certification. (2006-12-06). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ "AU A4/6: USAF Distance Learning (DL) Courses". CAP University. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]