Admission is restricted to those in military service, federal government employees, or international fellows who are chosen to undertake this work as in-resident students at Maxwell, AFB.
All students within the regular curriculum must complete six semester hours in the electives program. The electives program has the following objectives:
Professional Studies Paper (PSP)
The research requirement is designed to allow students to perform in-depth critical analysis on a subject of U.S. national security interest. The research process provides the opportunity to improve student argumentation and expression skills while creating products that address strategic and operational issues and topics vital to the national security community and its senior leadership. For successful completion of the research requirement, students must produce a professional studies paper (PSP) in accordance with college standards. Most research will be conducted as an individual effort, but the AWC may offer selected students the opportunity to complete this requirement via a faculty-led group research project. The research course has the following objectives:
International Fellows Field Studies
This course falls under the AWC Regional Security Studies program and is structured to enhance the educational and cultural experience of AWC international students, and to support Department of Defense Field Studies objectives for international military students by assisting AWC International Fellows in gaining a balanced understanding of US society, institutions, and goals. The course builds on the AWC curriculum by exposing International Fellows to US military operations, training, organization, equipment, and facilities during a series of major field studies trips. Trip durations range from 3 to 13 days. The AWC Field Studies Program exposes students to leadership and management techniques and concepts used in military, government, and industrial environments; and provides students the opportunity to interact with senior level commanders, managers, and executives within and outside the US government.
Regional Security Studies (RSS)
The Regional Security Studies (RSS) course is an integral part of the curriculum, preparing senior leaders to evaluate the political, military, economic, cultural, and security issues within a particular region. The RSS course provides students the opportunity to evaluate an area of the world where a unified combatant commander must implement the national military strategy in support of US security policy. The RSS course provides the opportunity for students to gain unique perspectives by studying and visiting regions all over the world. During the spring term, students complete 30 classroom hours (10 instructional periods) of focused academic preparation. The regional security study allows students to discuss security policy issues with senior political, military, cultural, and academic leaders. Logistics, administrative preparation, and travel planning for the regional field research is accomplished throughout the academic year.
Students selected to the Grand Strategy Concentration (GSC) seek a deeper understanding of the development and implementation of grand strategy than is attained through the regular curriculum. The concentration examines the historical practice of strategic art, the challenges of leadership and innovation at the strategic level, the relationship between the military instrument of power and national political objectives, and the interplay of global and regional security trends. Those selected for this concentration are degree-eligible students and complete all courses required for the Master of Strategic Study. The GSC is a volunteer concentration of approximately 12 students forming a separate seminar at the beginning of the academic year. As such, the GSC curriculum is tailored from the core to more deeply explore strategy and strategic leadership. However, the GSC course of study offers unique engagement opportunities with current and former military and civilian senior leaders and GSC-only field studies trips enrich student understanding of the GSC curriculum. Interested officers are encouraged to speak with faculty members associated with the program, but those officers with prior experience at strategic-level assignments, who have completed an Advanced Studies Group school and/or who have well-developed writing and critical-thinking skills are encouraged to apply. The AWC commandant will approve all selections for GSC enrollment. Course descriptions for the GSC follow the regular concentration course descriptions.
Note: All courses must be taken in residence at AWC. Courses taken in the distance-learning program may not be used to satisfy course requirements of the resident master’s degree or diploma.
This seminar concentration educates joint leaders in national strategy and integrated joint-campaigning with a focus on contemporary near-peer and future great power environments. Through this course, students will study historical vignettes and participate in interactive-exercises and field studies that highlight the art and science of war by connecting lessons from past wars to the competition continuum and future great power conflicts. Joint Warrior Studies Seminar graduates are able to plan, organize and lead all-domain, large-scale joint campaigns and operations, making them well-appointed to serve as future Joint Task Force Commanders and Joint Task Force Staff Officers.