Admissions for SAASS and

Strategic Thinkers Program

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.


AY25 Program Information:

Location:  Maxwell AFB, AL
Start:  July 2024 / End:  June 2025
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 online application window opens mid-August each year, and application packages are due one month later in the middle of September. Exact dates and an application hyperlink will be published here on a webpage banner when available--please check back mid-Aug.

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 mid-September. 

The SAASS Central Selection Board will be held mid-October. The SAASS Select list is scheduled for release by mid-December each year. Primary selects have until early Jan to commit (see selection PSDM for exact dates); each class typically has students selected from the alternate list (this typically occurs in first half of Jan). Orders are issued in the spring with a RNLTD of 30 Jun. Class typically starts the first duty day following the July 4th holiday.

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 already coming to Maxwell AFB for school, 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 SAASS selection board anticipates selecting up to one-half of the active duty Air Force and Space Force slots (~12-15 selects) via the ACSC Early Select Program. Selection results will be released in December.

Application Instructions:

For USAF and USSF Applicants To apply, complete the application form and attach any required documents if applicable. Be sure to indicate if you are applying to SAASS, STP, or both programs. Personnel records and letters of recommendation are not required.
For USA/USMC/USN Applicants only Please upload a copy of your last 5 personnel record evaluations (to include an OEB, ORB or equivalent) along with your application or, if unable to upload, send a copy of your record to via DoD SAFE at Please do not email your record without using DoD SAFE.
For AF Reserve and Guard component Please contact your respective branch point of contact below for more information on the application process. Air University Reserve Advisor: Col Eltressa Spencer; email: Air University National Guard Advisor: Lt Col Jeremy L Harris; email:

Strategic Thinkers Program Guidance

Air Force and Space 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)
One-Year Program Start:  August / End:  June 
Anticipated number of Air Force/Space Force seats:  2/1

Active Duty Air Force and Space Force officers seeking to attend STP will utilize the combined SAASS/STP online 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.

Other Sister Service members should apply to STP through their respective service representatives.