School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS) and Secretary of Defense’s Strategic Thinkers Program (STP) Application Call

  • Published
  • School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

SAASS is the US Air Force’s graduate school for strategists. A highly qualified and motivated faculty, a small and carefully selected student body, a coherent and challenging curriculum, and outstanding educational and research resources combine to produce tomorrow’s senior military leaders who are experts in the role of military force in the art of statecraft. 

The intensive 11-month SAASS curriculum emphasizes the strategic nexus where military professionals interact with national decision makers on policy, diplomacy, and geopolitics, with a specific focus on the development and employment of military power across the air, space, and cyber domains. Graduates earn a Master’s of Philosophy in Military Strategy. For a select number of graduates, SAASS offers a Doctorate of Philosophy in Military Strategy.

Location:  Maxwell AFB, AL
Start:  July 2021 / End:  June 2022
Class Size:  45 total; anticipated 37 seats for active duty Air Force and Space Force

Basic 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 14 August 2020, and application packages are due to SAASS NLT 21 September 2020. Officers can access and submit the SAASS application via three methods:

  1. Visit the SAASS Applications webpage:
  2. Through designated representative at IDE program.
  3. By contacting SAASS directly (see contact information below).

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 23 September 2020. 

The SAASS Central Selection Board will be held 19 - 23 October 2020. The SAASS Select list is scheduled for release 7 December 2020 (subject to change).  

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  

Secretary of Defense’s STP

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.

Location:  Washington, D.C. (Johns Hopkins University)
Start:  August 2021 / End:  June 2022
Anticipated number of Department of the Air Force (USAF and USSF) seats: 3-4

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.

**September 2020 UPDATE** Early Application Opportunity for new ACSC-selects.  SAASS is expanding its application window to give new ACSC selects an opportunity to apply this fall (2020) for entrance into the AY22-23 SAASS class. This early-application opportunity is limited to IDE-selects attending in-residence programs at Maxwell AFB, as the intent is to promote family and career stability through earlier knowledge of a two-year assignment. 
To familiarize new ACSC-selects with SAASS and to inform potential application decisions, the SAASS/CC recently hosted a series of virtual town halls via Zoom.  To watch a recording of one of those town halls, visit: SAASS Virtual Town Hall, password is:  ppwe3^N=