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Blue Horizons Program SDE Application

Congratulations on your selection to attend Air War College for Academic Year (AY) 2020!  As you prepare for the move to Air University, we would like you to consider applying for a unique type of educational experience for the year ahead—the Blue Horizons program. 

Blue Horizons is a competitively-selected, multi-rank IDE/SDE program, chartered by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (see attached) to "explore future geo-strategic and military-technical competition to build advantage for the United States." Blue Horizons Fellows participate in this program full-time in lieu of attending AWC or ACSC. This year, we plan to select 16 participants: 5 Lt Cols from the incoming AWC class and 11 Majors from the incoming ACSC class. We’re looking to build a team that represents a diverse array of Air Force specialties—from operations and acquisition to support career fields. 

The program occupies a unique space in Air Force education, sitting at the crossroads of innovation, strategy, operations, technology, and intelligence. The ten-month program includes robust reading and writing requirements, class discussions, group trips to national labs and industry sites, as well as numerous interactions with leaders in government, academia, and industry. We work at all levels of classification. 

These activities spur the development of research that can inform the thinking of senior leaders in the Air Force and DOD. Beginning with AY 2018, Gen Goldfein tasked Blue Horizons to conduct research in the form of rapid prototypes of new operational concepts, organizational constructs, and applications of technology. Half of our projects from the first year were adopted for further development by other organizations in DOD. We’ve attached a current list of our projects, so you can get a sense for what we’re working on now. 

The Blue Horizons program prides itself on being “deliberately unorthodox”. We believe that the only way to succeed as an Air Force is to approach problems as challengers rather than as reigning champions. That is, we identify as Airmen who recognize that repeating the success of the past does not guarantee victory in the future.  Fellows share ownership of this learning process with faculty in a dynamic educational environment. Creativity and initiative are vital. 

The outplacement of graduates is specially-managed through a process governed by VCSAF, which aims to ensure that Blue Horizons graduates have maximum opportunity to create and integrate innovative ideas and problem-solving techniques within the broader Air Force and Department of Defense. This could be through a return to a graduate’s community for command-track positions—which are #1 priority in this process—or in staff positions focused on innovation and capability development at places like A5, J5, DARPA, AFWIC, etc. 

The Blue Horizons program is accredited to confer its own Master’s degree. However, like other Air Force fellowships, the Blue Horizons program does not give JPME Phase II credit. If necessary, SDE graduates will receive JPME II credit by participating in the Joint Forces Staff College, when sent by AFPC or CVXO (formerly DPO) in preparation for a joint assignment.
 
We invite you to apply to compete for a position in our next class. Instructions for how to apply can be found below. All Air Force personnel with an active TS/SCI clearance who have been designated to attend Air War College are eligible to apply.
 
You can read more about the program here.  We also invite you to contact our current fellows about their experience; this year's class is listed here.  

Please feel free to send us questions at awc.csat.workflow@us.af.mil

We hope to hear from you soon.
 
V/R,
 
The Blue Horizons Team
 

 
***APPLICATION PROCESS***
 
To apply for the Blue Horizons program, please email our Workflow (awc.csat.workflow@us.af.mil) with the following materials by COB, Friday 1 March 2019:
1. A statement acknowledging that "I am a volunteer to participate in the Blue Horizons program for Academic Year 2020.  I understand that my participation in the program will be in lieu of attending AWC, and that I will need to attendJoint Forces Staff College in order to receive JPME Phase II credit if I am not already JPME Phase II complete." 
 
2.    Indicate whether you are currently a select or alternate.
 
3.    Submit a short response (max 250 words) to each of the following three prompts:

A.      What is the greatest operational or strategic challenge facing the Air Force over the next two decades? How would you address this challenge using strategy and/or technology?
B.      Describe a situation in which you used a creative approach to solve a problem.
C.      How do you view success, failure, and risk in pursuit of your goals?

You can write and submit these essays within the body of an email or as a separate word document.

At their discretion, the Blue Horizons faculty may also conduct a phone interview to assist in the process of selecting next year's class. We expect to announce selections in April.

Blue Horizons

USAF Center for Strategy and Technology
325 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112