Admissions for SAASS and

Strategic Thinkers Program

Application window opens on 17 August 2021

Current application information and instructions are provided below.

SAASS Guidance

Strategists manage context for advantage. We gain that context by deliberately pursuing insights from diverse and varied viewpoints. As we educate strategists for the nation, SAASS is committed to recruiting a diverse student body, and supporting those students with a faculty dedicated to inclusive teaching and scholarship.


Program Information:


Location:  Maxwell AFB, AL
Start:  July 2022 / End:  June 2023
Class Size:  45 total; anticipated 37 seats for active duty Air Force and Space Force

Eligibility Requirements


  • Rank of O-4 or O-5
  • Less than 16 years total active commissioned service at the start of SAASS
  • Graduated from or currently enrolled in an in-residence IDE program (ACSC/CGSC/etc.), program equivalent, or the ACSC Online Master’s Program (note: must be IDE in-res/equivalent/OLMP complete by the start of SAASS)
  • Possess a Master’s Degree from an accredited institution or have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.25 or higher
  • Career field release from their respective Career Field Team (CFT) Assignment Officer. The release may be in email format converted to PDF and included with the application.

The SAASS application window opens 17 August 2021, and application packages are due to SAASS NLT 13 September 2021. Officers can access and submit the SAASS application via this page. A link will be provided here once the application window opens.

Applicants without a master’s degree documented in military personnel records must provide an official copy of college transcripts to SAASS by the application deadline. SAASS/CC is waiver authority for basic eligibility requirements, with the exception of the rank requirement. Applicants should submit any waiver requests addressed to the SAASS/CC with their application packages. Applicants will receive a message confirming receipt of application package by 17 September 2021. 

The SAASS Central Selection Board will be held mid-October 2021. The SAASS Select list is scheduled for release by mid-December 2021.  

For SAASS application information and questions concerning program selection procedures/eligibility criteria, please contact Mrs. Sheila McKitt at 334-953-5155 (DSN 493-5155) or  


ACSC Early Select Program


For officers who are selected to attend IDE in residence at Maxwell AFB, SAASS now offers the opportunity to apply early for the following academic year.  This early-application opportunity is available only to IDE-selects coming to Maxwell AFB for school in 2022, giving a small group of early SAASS-selects the advanced knowledge that their upcoming assignment to Maxwell AFB will be two years instead of one.  The fall 2021 SAASS selection board anticipates selecting up to one-half of the active duty Air Force and Space Force slots (~12-15 selects) for AY23-24. Selection results will be released in December 2021.

Town Hall Information


To familiarize new ACSC-selects with SAASS and to inform potential application decisions, the SAASS/CC hosts a series of virtual town halls via Zoom.  Recordings of last year's town halls are available at SAASS Virtual Town Hall (password: ppwe3^N=). New links will be provided as SAASS conducts new town halls this year.

Strategic Thinkers Program Guidance

Air Force officers eligible for SAASS may, as an alternative, apply for and attend the Secretary of Defense’s Strategic Thinkers Program (STP).  The newest addition to the Advanced Study Group, STP is a partnership between the Department of Defense and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) offering a unique, in-depth graduate level education designed for intellectually talented military officers who wish to enhance their analytical and strategic thinking skills.


STP students will be educated in strategic thinking, warfighting, and interagency strategic decision-making, using interactive historical case studies and war games as problem-solving experiences while drawing on the disciplines of applied strategic studies, history, and other subject areas. Graduates will be equipped with the advanced cognitive and analytical skills necessary to engage civilian and military leaders on the development and conduct of military strategy and operations in the broader context of national policy objectives.  Graduates earn a Master’s degree in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University. See for further details.

Location:  Washington, D.C. (Johns Hopkins University-SAIS)
Start:  August 2022 / End:  June 2023
Anticipated number of Air Force/Space Force seats: 3-6

Air Force and Space Force officers seeking to attend STP will utilize the combined SAASS/STP application form and comply with all SAASS application requirements and timelines. The combined application form offers three options:

  1. Apply to SAASS only.
  2. Apply to STP only
  3. Apply to SAASS and STP.

If selected by the SAASS/STP Central Selection Board, STP nominees will undergo a second application process through the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training.  Officers who apply to both programs and are nominated but not ultimately selected for STP will be considered primary selectees for SAASS.