MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) — The Chief Master Sergeant Academy faculty at Maxwell Air Force Base is preparing for the first class of students in April. The academy’s activation re-establishes the fourth level of enlisted professional military education and marks the first time the Air Force has had a stand-alone faculty and facility dedicated to the development of its top enlisted grade.
The academy replaces the eight-day legacy, in-resident Chief Leadership Course that was closed in 2011 after seven years due to budget cuts, and the subsequent facilitated distance learning course that was discontinued after a one-year test.
“The new academy will deliver dynamic curriculum at a more executive level,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Scott, the academy’s first commandant. “We will teach to the joint and Air Force institutional competencies and ensure our chiefs are a ‘full-up round’ and ready to serve at higher levels of leadership.”
The academy fills the education void for enlisted members between the Air Force Senior NCO Academy and those assuming the rank of chief master sergeant, he said.
Though the Air Force SNCOA fulfills the necessity for its graduates to meet appropriate Air Force and joint institutional competency requirements, a similar course was needed for chief master sergeants to meet their rank-appropriate requirements.
The academy’s curriculum is designed to bridge students’ perspectives from the operational to the strategic level and is broken into five modules: educational theories; national security; strategic leadership; synergized engagement, including strategic thinking, communication and negotiations; and integrated development.
“The creation of this academy speaks to the tremendous impact and responsibilities of our chief master sergeants, providing our new chiefs the opportunity to reflect and think deeply about leading and cultivating a professional culture in the Air Force,” said Col. Ed Thomas, the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education commander. “It’s an in-depth, monthlong course that will drill in on today’s challenges, the skills required as airpower leaders and how to think critically and strategically as these leaders assist commanders in solving the problems we face today.”
A 32-hour prerequisite consisting of read-ahead material and general administrative tasks must be completed before students attend the course in residence. Students will receive access to Air University’s learning management system 30 days before attending the academy, which is housed in Kisling Hall on Maxwell’s Gunter Annex.
The first of three beta classes is scheduled to begin in early April, spanning 20 academic days with a mix of 48 total force chief master sergeant-selects and current chief master sergeants. The Air Force Personnel Center, along with its Air Reserve Component counterparts, has begun scheduling students for the class based on promotion sequence number. The Air Force Chiefs’ Group will select and schedule current chief master sergeants.
The two other beta classes are scheduled for June and August, each with 72 total force students, before the academy begins full production in November, concurrent with the 2016 E-9 promotion release.
Starting with the November class, the academy will conduct seven classes annually, educating 750 total force students per year (500 active-duty and 250 Air Reserve component members). Each class will be broken into nine seminars, each with 12 students.