Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy


Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy is the third level of enlisted PME and prepares Master Sergeants selected for promotion for positions of increased responsibility. There is a single in-resident SNCOA located at Gunter Annex, Ala. The program consists of 195 classroom hours over 25 academic days. There are 6 classes a year with up to 308 students in each class. SNCOA is required for promotion to SMSgt.

SNCOA incorporates in-class exercises as well as performance tasks to assess the students’ comprehension of the lesson concepts and principles. The course helps prepare senior enlisted leaders to think strategically and critically, relevant to operating environments.

The mission of this course is to prepare SMSgt(selects) for increased leadership responsibility in the joint, combined, interagency and intergovernmental operational and strategic environments.

CSAF Action Orders

Action Order A – Airmen-Line of effort: Transform the way we learn across all facets of the USAF Education and Training.

Action Order C – Competition: Ensure PME educates Airmen for competition including the strategy, force design, and warfighting approaches for key adversaries.

As directed by the CJCSI, the objectives of the faculty of the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy are to:

  • Help students understand the effect and relationship between all instruments of national power: diplomatic informational, military, and economic
  • Provide instruction and guidance to enable students to adapt the ability to look “up and out” while simultaneously remaining focused “down and in” and communicating effectively through all levels of the chain of command
  • Help students to operate and lead in the Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational JIIM) environment  
  • Encourage students to develop awareness, perspective and understanding; to anticipate and adapt to surprise and uncertainty, recognize change, and assist in transitions and fully exemplify the attributes of mission command (understanding, intent, and trust)
Course Effective Date 1 July 2021 New Learning Outcomes Effective Date 17 October 2023

Module 1 Leadership:

  1. Intro to leadership
  2. Innovation and agility within organizational structures
  3. Effective onboarding and training in organizations
  4. Innovation, agility, and lethality
  5. Leading a multi-generational workforce
  6. The reality of change management
  7. Leading an effective, agile and lethal force

Module 2 Culture: 

  1. Introduction to culture
  2. Social media and the organization
  3. Resiliency
  4. Mission command
  5. Assessing and shaping organizational culture
  6. Ethics as an organizational leader
  7. Introduction to DEOCS
  8. Cultural impact of leadership modules.

Module 3 Problem Solving

  1. Introduction to problem solving
  2. Clarify and validate the problems
  3. Breakdown problems and ID performance gaps
  4. Set improvement target
  5. Determine the root cause
  6. Develop countermeasures
  7. See countermeasures through
  8. Final problem-solving actions

Module 4 Mission:

  1. Introduction and Air Force core missions
  2. Mission lab
  3. Capstone

Module 1 – Organizational Leadership Environment

Explain how critical thinking, creative thinking, and ethical decision-making affects SNCO effectiveness                  

Utilize organizational leadership strategies to address contemporary leadership issues while preparing an organization to conduct operations  

Module 2 – Foundations of National, Military and Airpower Strategy

Leverage National Military and Airpower strategy foundations to address evolving strategic and operational issues

Illustrate how the relationships between the US Constitution, NSS, NDS, NMS, AF Doctrine, and concepts regarding the profession of arms affect national security within the context of a JIIM environment

Demonstrate strategic and critical thinking necessary for independent action in the art and science of warfighting

Module 3 – Integrated Deterrence and Strategic Competition

Understand (explain) how integrated deterrence and strategic competition promote national security and the DAF’s role in those efforts

Predict the impact of integrated deterrence and strategic competition on DAF priorities and efforts to win future wars

Create potential solutions and develop courses of action for integrated deterrence

Module 4 – Capstone (Wargame Scenario)

Demonstrate proficiency in critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, problem framing, problem-solving, ethical decision-making

Examine a given sequence of events and develop courses of action that align with national policies to achieve national interests and meet commander intent

Demonstrate an understanding of integrated deterrence and predict responses in a simulated scenario