Air University launches space opportunity for international partners

  • Published
  • By Billy Blankenship
  • 42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Air University recently launched a new class for international students as part of the Squadron Officer School Prep Course at International Officer School.

Space 101 is designed to enhance allies and partners’ understanding of space as a warfighting domain and how it relates to the security environment.

The one-hour block covers joint warfighting principles at all levels of warfare to aid in building students’ awareness of the U.S. military’s mission, doctrine, and organization while they are attending the mandatory prerequisite course prior to their SOS experience. Students should be able to better understand instruments of national power and United States national security.

“Many international officers have never discussed space operations before until they arrive to SOS,” said Maj. Walliot Pietri, the course director for IOS. “In a future conflict, the United States will rely on its allies, and vice versa, and it is imperative that we are able to successfully operate together.  This space lesson is one small step towards reaching this goal.”

Through this opportunity, students will be exposed to United States society and democratic institutions and ideals. Both in their primer courses and their follow-on educational program at Squadron Officer School, students will learn about concepts that should enhance their engagement both in and out of the classroom.

“Almost every allied and coalition operation, no matter how simple, rely on the backbone of space,” said Col. Kevin Lee, the commandant of SOS. “Communication, timing and navigation all rely on space.  In the Air Force we have grown-up as officers with space and are comfortable with its usage and integration.  Not all of our international officer students have that background, so the addition of space concepts into IOS set a level playing field and allow us to have more informative and operationally relevant discussions in the classroom.”

The SOS Prep Course is a seven-week experience designed to prepare international officers in the equivalent ranks of first lieutenant and captain to participate in the Squadron Officer School resident program. Instruction focuses on leadership, teamwork, problem solving and followership. While in the preparatory environment, students are engaged in academic writing, seminar discourse and critical reading. They receive needed instruction on the U.S. military organization and national security strategy, along with field studies program events and physical fitness.

“Having the international officer perspective makes U.S. students more prepared to handle future tasking with our partners and allies by helping them know how to lead, follow, and communicate within an international environment,” Lee said. “One of our main goals at SOS is to develop thinking and problem-solving skills within our students to solve to problems they will face in the future. The internal officers provide unique insights for problem solving usually not present in the American cultural landscape.”