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AFCLC Faculty Advise Award-Winning AWC and ACSC students

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  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

The Air Force Culture and Language Center’s (AFCLC) faculty members are not only experts in their respective fields of study, but they also teach a variety of courses at the Air War College (AWC) and the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC). Most recently, three of AFCLC’s faculty members advised students writing award-winning Professional Studies Papers (PSPs).

Each year, the ACSC and AWC award accolades to students for their research papers. This year, three AFCLC faculty and several of their students received such awards: Dr. Elizabeth Peifer and her student, Mr. Calvin S. Hall II, GG-15/Colonel (Retired) USAF; Dr. Angelle Khachadoorian and her student, Lt Col Jim Roth of the South Carolina Air National Guard; and Dr. Scott Edmondson and his students, LCDR Gabriel Burgi (USN), Maj Amy Natalini (USAF), Maj B. Cuthbert SOMDA (Burkina Faso), and Maj Fatima SANGARE (Mali).

Dr. Peifer’s student, Mr. Hall, received the Culture and Language Center (CLC) Award for his PSP entitled, “The White Supremacy – Anti-government Movement and the U.S. Military: The Lost Decade.”  The CLC Award “recognizes the best AWC PSP that critically analyzes and offers strategic-level insights into the significance or impact of culture on any aspect of Airmen’s work, such as strategic thinking, planning, doctrine development, analysis, operations, diplomacy, advising, partnership building and/or other related issues.”

In 2009 the Department of Homeland Security issued a report highlighting the risk of white power groups’ recruitment of military personnel. Congress denounced the report as disrespectful of the military and disbanded the office that produced it. Hall’s paper examined the decade since that report and the dangers posed by failing to recognize and address the issue. Hall further recommends the military and Guard improve training and education in recognizing and confronting extremist behavior, institute zero-tolerance of membership in anti-government groups, and screen military recruits more thoroughly.

“Hall was ahead of the curve when he commenced his research in the fall of 2019…by the time he submitted his final draft, it had become a part of the daily news, and the FBI had elevated the threat to the same level as ISIS,” said Dr. Peifer.

Dr. Khachadoorian’s student, Lt Col Roth, received the prestigious AWC Commandant’s Award for his PSP entitled, “SWIPE Right: Tapping into the Unique Chemistry Between Generation Z and the Air National Guard.” The AWC Commandant’s Award “recognizes the top overall research product from all award categories produced by Air War College.” This means that Lt Col Roth’s paper was chosen as the best from more than 200 PSPs completed this academic year.  In his paper, Lt Col Roth devised a culturally appropriate acronym for these “Gen Z-specific needs to which the Air Guard will be expected to rise are Stability, Wellness, Impact, Personalization and Experience (SWIPE).”

“Roth’s paper was a deeply researched and engagingly written examination of the social realities and cultural values of Generation Z (individuals born from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s). He devised creative solutions to Air National Guard recruiting issues by showing the ways that Gen Z’s cultural values align with the organizational structure and values of the Air National Guard,” stated Dr. Khachadoorian.

Dr. Edmondson’s students, LCDR Burgi, Maj Natalini, Maj SOMDA, and Maj SANGARE, received the ACSC Dean’s International Security Studies Award and the ACSC Commandant’s Research Excellence Award for their paper, “Human Security and Great Power Competition in Africa: Balancing the Future Needs of USAFRICOM.” This joint, multinational student coalition collaborated on this paper as their final project for their elective course, “Power, Identity, and Security in the African Postcolony,” taught by Dr. Edmondson.

The ACSC Dean’s International Security Studies Award recognizes “research that provides the best investigation into the theory and practice of international political or military strategic studies.” The ACSC Commandant’s Research Excellence Award “recognizes the top overall research product that significantly contributes to areas of leading, developing, employing, commanding, and supporting air, space, and cyber power across the spectrum of service, joint, and combined operations.”

Watch their award ceremony here:


The faculty and staff of the Air Force Culture and Language Center congratulate these outstanding students and their faculty-mentors on these academic achievements and a job well done!

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