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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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The Air Force commissions thousands of officers each year. Three sources provide the vast majority of these officers: the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC), and Officer Training School. Typically, about 3,000 of these newly commissioned officers become what are called line officers. Within the line category, they subdivide into two additional categories, rated and nonrated. Broadly speaking, line officers exercise command authority and lead the combat and combat support elements of the service. Nonline officers are specialists, such as doctors and chaplains. Rated officers serve in flying assignments as pilots, pilots of remotely piloted aircraft, combat systems officers, and air battle managers. The nonrated officers serve in assignments related to such specialties as logistic, maintenance, and personnel. The Air Force spends considerable effort matching the skills and abilities of incoming officers with career field assignments. It uses the type of academic degree the newly commissioned officers have earned as one proxy for the skills and abilities desired for specific career field assignments. A multitude of staff and field activities manage the accession process to ensure the Air Force obtains officers qualified to perform various Air Force missions in particular career fields. Key to this goal is satisfying the academic degree requirements that functional authorities and career field managers (CFMs) have established.



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