ACADEMICS


Curriculum


The ACSC resident curriculum is a rigorous 10-month graduate-level program taught through intensive small group seminars and engaging lectures. Courses cover topics that include the profession of arms, leadership and ethics, joint operations, airpower, and the international security environment. Additionally, students have the opportunity to conduct research and participate in elective courses that explore topics of varying interests. Successful completion of the ACSC Resident Program are awarded Joint Professional Military Education I credit and the Masters of Military Operational Art and Science Degree to qualified students who meet all curriculum and criteria requirements.


The art of leadership is cultivating the capability, situational awareness, and self-governance to bring oneself to the right point in a particular time and place, with particular people, to achieve multiple overlapping goals.  Leadership and the Profession of Arms, comprising two phases, provides the opportunity to hone these abilities.  The first phase emphasizes personal development for leaders, from composing a leadership philosophy to studying ethical reasoning, emotional intelligence, decision-making, and influence, among other topics.  The second phase focuses on organizational leadership exploring culture, leading change, and elements of resilient, agile organizations.

Foundations of Military Theory fosters understanding of classical thought on the nature and character of war. The course introduces canonical works of military theory, drawing explicit links between historical concepts of war and strategy, the conduct of the profession of arms, and the tenets of contemporary doctrine. Highlighting the effects of emergent ideas and technologies on the practice of warfare, the course analyzes continuity and change in armed conflict over the past three centuries. Foundations of Military Theory is designed to elicit critical thinking about the organization and employment of joint forces in support of national strategic objectives and frame subsequent engagements in the ACSC program.


 ISMS explores the context of international security with a focus on the US national interest, as well as the tools at its disposal for the attainment of its interests. The course introduces “traditions” of International Relations (IR), which present distinct and contrasting perspectives on the causes of war, the conditions of peace, and, in turn, what counts as a national security interest. It reinforces questions of national interests by leveraging the debate over US grand strategy in the 21st century and explores the instruments of national power (DIME) by which national interests and objectives may be pursued and obtained. The course explores the concept of military strategy and what impedes effective strategy conception and execution. Finally, it applies these traditions and tools to better understand and develop responses to challenges in the strategic environment.

Airpower Strategy and Operations examines the emergence and development of airpower from World War I through the early years of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to better understand airpower employment today. Using the lens of strategic competition, the course analyzes the development of key ideas, capabilities, limitations, organizations, and practices that framed the conduct of air warfare in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries as airmen adapted and innovated rapidly in the air domain. The case studies examined in Airpower Strategy and Operations continue to inform debates about airpower’s purpose, utility, and effectiveness. Course readings, lectures, and seminar discussions will cultivate adaptive leaders and critical airpower thinkers. The course challenges students to improve their ability to lead in complex, uncertain times while making ethical decisions with the ultimate goal of applying air power in a joint context to serve national strategic objectives.

 
Leadership in Command arms students with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in command.  This course provides practical knowledge and lessons from graduated squadron commanders and other senior leaders in order to better prepare students for both the art and science of command.  Complementing and building on the personal and organizational leadership foundations gained from Leadership and the Profession of Arms, students have the opportunity to learn from scenarios, case studies, and crises that they may face in command.

The Joint Campaigning (JC) course is designed to demonstrate, at the operational level, how the U.S. joint force organizes, deploys, employs, sustains, and redeploys military capabilities in support of national interests. The primary purpose of the JW course is to comprehend and analyze how we, the Joint Force, go to war and prevail. The course will equip military and interagency professionals with skills to articulate and influence the application of the military instrument of power to provide commanders with options for the use of military force in support of national interests. Understanding operational art and design is essential for the military professional, no matter their specialty. Understanding operational context and strategic goals is necessary to properly plan and execute military operations in the modern operational environment. It is also imperative to understand how the U.S. military operates as part of a joint force in a multinational, interagency, and intergovernmental environment.

In conjunction with the core curriculum, students at ACSC take elective courses.  This academic year, the school provides students the flexibility to choose courses that cover various topics from almost seventy electives. These courses afford the students the opportunity to explore in-depth specific subjects that contextualize and enhance their understanding of the core curriculum. Elective courses are grouped into the following categories: Military and Operational Art and Science, Leadership and Culture, International Relations and Strategic Competition, Cyber, and Space.


Electives


In conjunction with the core curriculum, students at ACSC take elective courses. The school provides students the flexibility to choose courses that cover various topics from over 100 electives.


The Command Elective is for any ACSC student. It allows students to reflect on the importance of taking command, building a command climate and culture, and the unique challenges that come with command. The Command Elective is designed around three artifacts: a 90-day command plan, a command philosophy, and a command legacy. These artifacts are designed to provide deliberate personal reflection and dialogue with peers and senior commanders.  The Command Elective is a recommended course for any student taking command in the future.

There are two types of language courses available for students at ACSC. One type is a deep-study in certain languages and cultures (French, German, and Spanish). These courses will constitute all three of the electives and are year-long and require a certain proficiency. The other option is a Language Immersion course that is held through Terms A, B, and C and meet Mondays and Fridays opposite your core course schedule. This course does not count for credit. Several languages are offered for the immersion courses to include Chinese, Russian, Arabic, etc. Spouses are allowed to sign up for the Language Immersion courses with instructor approval.

The Research Task Force Electives are year-long electives conducted with the Air War College. Each Task Force spends the year examining a critical component of the joint fight. The current Task Forces are Airpower C2, Cyber, Deterrence, ISR, Virtual Reality, and Acquisitions. Participation in these electives requires current TS/SCI clearance. Each of these Task Forces go TDY for professional development, curriculum objectives, and assisting with collecting research for the final projects.

Along with the various electives and research task force options, students can elect to use their elective credits to complete an independent research project. Students would select a faculty member at ACSC or within Air University to mentor them on their project. They would submit a research proposal within the first few weeks of school. Once approved the student works directly with their chosen faculty member to complete the independent study. Depending on the scope of the project, students can use one, two, or three elective periods for their independent study. For every elective course (equaling 2 credits) a student would need to produce a 20-25 page research project.

Year-Long electives offer students the opportunity to deep dive into one main topic over the course of the entire year. These electives span three terms and make up all the elective credits necessary for program completion. The students will be in-class for two of the terms and spend one term completing the course project. The current Year-Long electives are Small Wars, Theories of International Politics, The Peloponnesian War, History of U.S. Foreign Policy, and History and Theory of Modern Terrorism. The instructors teaching these courses are experts on the subjects and have been offering these or similar courses for several years.


Joint All Domain Strategist (JADS)

Joint All Domain Strategist was formerly Multi Domain Operational Strategist (MDOS) and was re-designated JADS in AY21 by the Air University Commander, in order to capture the joint nature of the course.  In 2018, MDOS received the AETC innovation award for furthering the CSAF's priorities of expanding the joint and multi-domain warfighting abilities of airmen.  The concentration is a selective year-long advanced program specializing in developing leaders who understand the employment of joint all domain operational maneuver to counter future threats in contested and degraded environments. The curriculum focuses on improving critical thinking and problem solving skills at the operational level of war.  It prepares selected students for future operational and command assignments requiring advanced knowledge of the capabilities, methods, and challenges associated with operations within and across the six domains (electromagnetic spectrum, space, air, land, maritime, and human).  Additionally, students study and apply strategic and operational design, reflexive control theory, aggregation theory, decision making theory, and risk analysis. JADS students have participated in events such as AUSTERE CHALLENGE, PACIFIC FURY, ABMS, Doolittle wargames, WEPTAC as well as German and Polish war college exercises.


Academic Year 23 Application Process: The Application deadline has been extended to 15 March 2022.  

  1. Complete the online form, which is available here: https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/ACSC/JADS-Application/ 
  2. Email a current SURF (or equivalent short-brief) to the JADS org box
  3. Email 1 page letter of intent to the JADS org box 

For questions about JADS, please email the JADS team at ACSC.JADS.OrgBox@us.af.mil 

 


School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies (SANDS)

 

School of Nuclear Deterrence Studies Patch

The School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies (SANDS) program was founded in July 2015 by Air Force Global Strike Command to develop field grade officers into the next generation of nuclear deterrence leaders and experts. In 2018, the school was incorporated into ACSC to leverage the wealth of academic knowledge offered by Air University in order to enrich our student’s academic experience. The core mission of SANDS is to study military theory focused on strategic deterrence. Over the course of the rigorous 10-month graduate-level program, our students study the history of deterrence application, modern operational deterrence theory, and formulate how deterrence will change in the future.

 

 

 


Political Affairs Strategist

The Political-Military Affairs Strategist (PAS) program is designed to meet ACSC’s mission to educate and develop air-minded joint leaders and simultaneously meet SAF/IA’s mission to develop International Airmen capable of strengthening US and global security across all US Air Force mission areas. In addition to the ACSC core curriculum, the PAS program is designed to provide a broad knowledge of political-military affairs through a series of SAF/IA-sponsored lectures and specially approved elective courses that focus on joint, interagency, interorganizational or multinational (JIIM) topics. Upon successful completion ACSC-PAS graduates will earn a secondary AFSC of 16P which denotes qualification as a political military affairs strategist. Graduates will normally participate in one career broadening tour in an International Affairs position as their first or second post ACSC assignment. These officers fill vital positions across OSD, JCS, COCOM, Air Staff, MAJCOM, and NAF staffs. Additionally, many go on to fill interagency, exchange, or other positions across the security cooperation enterprise. The PAS program is governed by guidance in AFI 16-109.

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