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Air War College (SDE) Distance Learning Program


SDE / AWC Distance Learning Curriculum Flow

Program Description:

The Air War College (AWC) distance learning program is a senior developmental education (SDE) program. The AWC DL curriculum is based on the five core areas central to all levels of professional military education—leadership, profession of arms, warfighting, national/international security, and communication studies. As an Air Force SDE program, AWC DL provides a strategic, “air-minded” curriculum that prepares graduates to provide strategic leadership, appropriate expertise and critical thinking in support of national security objectives. 

The AWC experience is designed to “…develop Airmen who are critical and creative thinkers by implementing an agile, individually tailored approach to life-long education….” (USAF Strategic Master Plan, May 2015). The new curriculum provides students with peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration opportunities, facilitation of online seminars by professionally-certified faculty, and the ability to customize the program to suit personal and professional needs.


Student HandbookStudent Handbook


The AWC distance learning program produces graduates who are able to…

1. Illustrate the skills required to lead successfully at the strategic level in the complex national security environment; 

2. Analyze the contextual requirements for the effective strategic employment of airpower; 

3. Comprehend the elements of successful military strategies which, in concert with other instruments of national power, support national security objectives; and 

4. Critically analyze complex political-military issues and clearly articulate national security strategy options. 


The eligibility criteria for AWC DL are found in Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-2670, Total Force Development​

Military. The program is offered to O-5 selects and above. Persons may be active duty, Air Force Reserve (AFRES), or Air National Guard (ANG); sister-service active duty, Guard, or Reserve; or Civil Air Patrol (CAP). 

Note for US Army: Officers will not enroll in other than Army schools without written approval of the DCS, G-3/5/7 (Director of Training) per Army Regulation(AR) 350-1.

Civilian. Department of the Air Force civilian employees in the grades of GS 13/14/15 (or equivalent), or lab/demo employees in grades DRIII/IV. 

International. International Officers: Requests for international students must be forwarded to the Air Force Security Assistance Training Squadron through the applicable country Security Cooperation Organization or embassy. The request must identify an existing source of funding (for example, FMS training case) or request preparation of a new training case; provide the name, address, email, and phone number for the U.S. military officer or U.S. civilian employee who will sponsor the student; and include written verification by the U.S. sponsor that the student meets the rank prerequisite for the desired program and is proficient in the English language to complete the program successfully.

  1. If you meet the program eligibility, you must create an AU Portal account before enrolling. A CAC card is required to create the account.

    1. Go to AF Portal and login

    2. Under QUICK LINKS, scroll down to EDUCATION/TRAINING/FORCE DEVELOPMENT, and click on Air University Portal.

    3. Go to the silver bar that reads "Click here to login or create a new account," and click on "Create Account." (if you already have an AU Portal account skip to step 6)

    4. Finish creating the account by filling in the applicable information.  We strongly recommend using a civilian email address.  The military email filters may block the onboarding email in step 11 below.

    5. Once you have established an AU Portal account, go down to the menu bar on the left side of the AU Portal page and hover over "Distance Learning," then hover over “AWC DL 18.0” and select "Apply."

    6. On the Apply for Admission page, select “AWC” the Eligibility criteria.  If you do not meet the criteria do not apply, the system will prevent entry, but it will waste manpower to review flagged applications.

    7. If you meet the eligibility criteria, select “Check for Eligibility”.  This does not actually check eligibility, it only allows you to update your profile information.  Please ensure you provide a civilian email address that you can access.  Once your profile is updated, go to step 2 and select “next”.

    8. Step 3 confirms your contact information has been updated.  Then click “Submit Application”

    9. If you are military, the system will run checks and automatically enroll you in the program if eligible.  You should receive an email notifying you of your status.  If the email confirms you are admitted to the program, then expect another email from within 2 business days to initiate the onboarding into the AWC DL 18.0 program. 

    If you are not able to create an account for any reason, please email your request to

Civilian Enrollment Instructions

For course descriptions and requirements, see the current Air University Catalog.

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