MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (April 2, 2015) – The Army vice chief of staff spoke of the importance of learning and working in a joint environment during his presentations to two of the Air Force’s premier colleges, March 31.
In speaking to students and faculty at the Air University’s Air War College and Air Command and Staff College, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn shared with audiences his experience of taking part in a joint Land, air, sea exercise, or JLASE, at the Naval War College.
“Shortly after I left the joint exercise with 14 individuals, I found myself serving with six of them in Iraq less than a year after the exercise here,” Allyn said. “The relationships you build in a joint environment will last you throughout your careers and after.”
Air War College, established in 1946, is the senior service school for the Air Force. In 2008, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also known as JCS, accredited the college to grant joint professional military education, or JPME, Phase II credit to U.S. students as a senior development education/senior-level college. There are 33 Soldiers in the student body of about 245 students in the current class attending the 10-month program, with seven Army faculty members.
Air Command and Staff College, or ACSC, is recognized by the JCS as an accredited JPME Phase I program. The college was established in 1962 and traces its roots to the Air Corps Tactical School. It is the Air Force’s intermediate development education institution. Of the more than 450 students in its current 10-month program, 45 are Soldiers, and eight Soldiers serve as faculty members.
“When you come to a joint school, like Air Command and Staff College, the curriculum is similar because we are still talking about the operational level of planning when comparing curriculums at ACSC and Army Command and General Staff College,” said Army Col. Jimmy McConico, Army advisor to Air University.
In a joint education environment, you develop an appreciation and understanding about the skill sets and capabilities that the sister services bring to the fight, McConico said. That becomes an advantage because the more you become exposed to the joint environment early, the better, he said.
Professional military education is “absolutely critical” to a military member’s career, he said. The JCS chairman’s Officer Professional Military Education Policy, or OPMEP, clearly lays out how an officer is to perform professionally and how PME contributes to officer development, he said.
“There are several schools that bring in a higher level of deep strategic thought, and Air War College definitely does that,” McConico said. “The college continues to focus on the joint interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environment, but at the same time, students are thinking at a more strategic level. They understand the cultural aspects of conflict, but are also developing habits of mind that they can rely on to address some of the challenges facing the nation.”