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Academy of Military Science moving to Maxwell's OTS

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- With the Academy of Military Science moving from Tennessee's McGhee Tyson National Guard Air Base to Maxwell's Officer Training School, all Air Force commissioning sources, except the Air Force Academy, will be under one roof, said the OTS commander.

"Starting this fiscal year, all officer trainees will go to OTS. This takes us back to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's vision of having all training at one location to produce officers that are best for our nation," Col. Laura Koch said. "This is a perfect way to bring members from all military forces together at an early time in their careers for the total and joint fight of the future."

The colonel said the AMS training will remain the same as at McGhee Tyson using the six-week training period, but OTS may explore "better ways to do business" for future classes.

"AMS will begin at Maxwell as Air National Guard Detachment 12, with plans on becoming the 225th Training Squadron in the future," Colonel Koch said.

ANG Lt. Col. Brad McRee, the AMS-OTS integration officer, said Det. 12 will be total force in nature and have 25 positions within the AMS system.

"This is not new for us at McGhee Tyson. We have had a total force staff since 1994," he said. "There will be 25 new positions assigned to Colonel Koch that are attached to Det. 12, with an additional person assigned to Air University's Holm Center and another assigned as deputy commander of the 225th TS."

Colonel McRee said the primary reason for AMS being a six-week course instead of the traditional OTS 12-week course is that 85 percent of ANG members have had prior military service when they arrive at the AMS course. He said, on average, about 40 percent of OTS students have had the prior experience.

"So, ANG students hit the ground running," he said. "Another difference is the AMS program doesn't operate on an upper-class/lower-class structure as does Basic Officer Training. But, our association with OTS hasn't just developed. We have enjoyed a long association with OTS who has written most of our curriculum for many years."

Colonel Koch said the AMS move was initiated by a question in 2006 from the CSAF about the potential of a "shared common experience" at a single location among active-duty, guard and Reserve officer candidates. She said the majority of the new staff will arrive at Maxwell in mid-July, and the first class will begin October 5.

"We will hold four classes each year with 125 students in each class. The course commander will be Maj. Ron Daniels, who is the current AMS commandant," the colonel said. "For the daily operation of the school, AMS will fall under operational control of OTS, but for administrative control, the school will fall under the Air National Guard Bureau."

Colonel McRee said ANG personnel will come to OTS under a "Title 10" assignment that precludes them from having to leave Maxwell to attend ANG training.

"This differs from the 'traditional guard,' or 'Title 32,' assignment that might require an interruption of instruction due to ANG training," he said. "Once ANG members complete their first Title 10 assignment here, they may be re-appointed to another AMS Title 10 tour or may return to their normal Title 32 assignments at their home bases."

Colonel McRee said May 26 was significant because it marked the day the "memorandum of agreement" was finalized between the Holm Center commander and the Air National Guard Readiness Center commander.

"In that agreement, all the specifics of operation at Maxwell were worked out. An advantage of having AMS at Maxwell is having access to the speakers who come to Air University," he said. "Also, coming to AU gives us access to the combative training and the excellent firing range we don't have at McGhee Tyson."

The colonel said a third benefit of the move was the possible expansion of the NCO Academy at McGhee Tyson. He said the NCOA has been there since 1968, and the move may allow for that expansion without a net loss to the academy and its personnel. Ultimately, the number of students graduating the McGhee Tyson academy each year could increase by about 800.