The Air Force in August will launch its first test of a turbo-charged commissioning program that seeks to turn senior enlisted airmen into officers in as quick as 14 training days.
The beta test of the Officer Training School-Accelerated Commissioning Program will take place at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, and shorten OTS from its current length of 40 training days, Air Education and Training Command officials said in a Wednesday release.
The first test will include 36 senior noncommissioned officer candidates, AETC said. Of those master sergeants, senior master sergeants and chief master sergeants, 26 will be active duty, five will be reservists and five will be from the Air National Guard. To qualify, they must have completed the SNCO Academy course, either in-residence or via distance learning. They were selected through the normal OTS selection board process that took place in January and February.
A second beta test is expected to follow in October. After the tests are finished, the Air Force will study the results to see how successful they were.
AETC said the experiment with a shorter training schedule is part of its Continuum of Learning initiative, which aims to combine education, training and experience as airmen develop, giving them more flexibility to steer their own development, at their own pace. In the release, AETC said the Air Force could expand the program and experiment with awarding officer candidates competency credit for their pre-existing education, training and experience.
“Ultimately, the aim is to drive agility and flexibility in our processes and programs so that we more efficiently and effectively deliver qualified, trained, educated and experienced airmen to meet mission requirements,” the release said.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.