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Air Force Officer Accession Planning: Addressing Key Gaps in Meeting Career Field Academic Degree Requirements for Nonrated Officers

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Technical Report

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RAND Corporation Project Air Force Santa Monica United States

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Our approach to the study had four components. One was to evaluate the academic degrees necessary to staff the Air Forces career fields. The second was to analyze the overall Air Force officer accession process for meeting these needs, with a particular focus on matching AFROTC scholarship awards with accession requirements. To accomplish these goals, we conducted semistructured interviews with officer accession process owners and with career field managers CFMs responsible for identifying what academic degrees are important to their career fields. We also applied more broadly the survey work we began in FY 2013 to identify the required capabilities for officers in a career field and the mode of learning that best prepares the officer for each capability. We helped several CFMs apply what they learned from these surveys to define or refine their stated education requirements for accessions. Third, we analyzed the policies and practices for stating education requirements and then filling them with officers with the appropriate degrees and developed a new framework defining requirements, a new model for determining aggregate accession needs by degree type, and a method for evaluating whether education goals for accessions are being met. Finally, we collected, evaluated, and analyzed data on the use of AFROTC scholarships to meet officer accession requirements by degree.

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