The Future Role of the USAF Technical Officer
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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This paper examines the role of USAF technical officers TOs as envisioned by the post-World War II Scientific Advisory Board SAB report, Toward New Horizons, co-authored by General Henry Hap Arnold and the renowned aerodynamicist Dr. Theodore von Karman. The current role of TOs according to existing career path guides and the future role as envisioned in the latest SAB report, New World Vistas are also examined. The examination of the TO role addresses advanced technical education and a clear path to senior leadership positions. The current path to senior leadership positions for TOs appears to be solely through acquisition management. These two areas are addressed explicitly in New World Vistas, which highlights the importance of these issues and the future role of TOs ensuring USAF technological superiority in the 21st century. A working definition of USAF TOs is formulated which includes the scientific research and development Air Force Specialty Code AFSC 61SX and the developmental engineering AFSC 62EX as well as the acquisition manager AFSC 63AX. These specialties currently reside within the acquisition and financial management career area. The author concludes by proposing a number of innovative ideas. Concepts such as the formation of a technical officer corps TOC and its vigorous management by the personnel system to ensure there are no recruitment and retention shortfalls are recommended. This vital national security resource-the USAF technological superiority and the men and women of the TOC who are key to Americas current and future technical supremacy-guards our nation from any future technological surprises which may threaten America and the free world.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations