Officer Training School

Produce motivated officers of character who embody the American warrior ethos and are culturally aware, expeditionary minded and prepared to lead.

Personnel and Resources
The Officer Training School staff consists of more than 150 full-time active-duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members, including 95 officers, 50 enlisted and seven civilian personnel, as well as 10 Air Force Reserve Individual Mobilization Augmentee officers. OTS is a group-level command with three squadrons and one Air National Guard detachment that trained 2,548 officers in fiscal 2012: 642 in Basic Officer Training, 1,273 in Commissioned Officer Training, 200 in Reserve Commissioned Officer Training and 433 in the ANG's Academy of Military Science. OTS graduates enter all Air Force Total Force components: active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

The OTS complex on Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., consists of two academic buildings with auditoriums, four dormitories, dining facility, physical conditioning center, parade field, running track and sports fields. Additionally, OTS maintains an Air Expeditionary Force garrison training site, a 200-acre field training facility, high ropes course, confidence course and two expeditionary assault courses. OTS also hosts 2,400 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets during their summer Field Training encampments and 280 Air Force civilians attending the Civilian Acculturation and Leadership Training program throughout the year.

Air Force OTS began at Medina Annex, Lackland AFB, Texas, in 1959. The school subsequently moved to Maxwell in September 1993 as part of the Air Force chief of staff's vision to align all officer education and training programs under Air University. Its predecessor, the Officer Candidate School, was established in 1942 at Miami Beach, Fla., with the mission of training and commissioning officers from within the enlisted ranks. OCS moved to Lackland in 1944 and gained the additional mission of training officers directly from civilian status in September 1951. OCS closed its doors with its last graduation in June 1963.

The first OTS class was comprised of 89 trainees, including 11 women. Accession numbers have varied over the years, from 323 the first year to a high of 7,894 officers in 1967.

Basic Officer Training
Basic Officer Training trains and commissions second lieutenants to fulfill Air Force active duty and Air Force Reserve requirements in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. BOT accession numbers fluctuate in response to variations between projected and actual Air Force Academy and Air Force ROTC officer accessions and Air Force end-strength requirements.

The BOT program consists of nine weeks of military training and leadership development for college graduates, leading to a commission as a second lieutenant. Training goals are to instill high standards of conduct and provide officer trainees with the essential military knowledge and skills needed for effective performance as Air Force leaders.

To ensure OTS graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective Air Force officers, faculty members provide instruction and guidance in critical officership areas such as leadership studies, professional knowledge, communication skills, military studies and field leadership application.

BOT instructs these areas concurrently, emphasizing teambuilding, followership and knowledge acquisition during the first half of training, followed by leadership application during the second half. Lectures, readings, guided discussions classroom exercises, field leadership exercises and after-hours training activities combine to provide graduates with an in-depth understanding of their roles as future Air Force commissioned officers.

BOT is, above all, a leadership laboratory. One of the highlights is the Leadership Reaction Course. The LRC is a field exercise using a specialized obstacle course where small groups of students practice handling stress in situations that test their ability to reason quickly and lead effectively. The program also features an Air Expeditionary Force exercise, a capstone field leadership assessment event, during which students demonstrate their ability to integrate and apply the communication and leadership skills learned throughout the course.

Once BOT trainees successfully complete all OTS graduation requirements, they receive the oath of office and are commissioned on extended active duty as second lieutenants in the Air Force. Most of these new lieutenants attend follow-on training after OTS. Training specialties include pilot, navigator or air battle manager; space and missile operations; and several other support career fields. The length of training varies according to the specialty.

Commissioned Officer Training
Commissioned Officer Training is a five-week program that provides initial officership training to Air Force judge advocates, chaplains, health professionals (doctors, nurses, dentists, biomedical science corps officers and hospital administrators) and medical scholarship recipients. COT conducts training for Air Force active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve officers. There are six COT classes per fiscal year.

COT also executes a 13-day Reserve COT, or RCOT, program for extremely difficult to recruit Reserve medical officers as determined by their respective functional managers. There are two RCOT classes per fiscal year.

COT students receive direct commissions prior to training, and their military rank is awarded based on their professional credentials in their respective fields, typically ranging from second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel.

The program began in September 1996 and combined three previous courses: Air Force Officer Orientation Course, Health Professions Officer Indoctrination Course and Military Indoctrination for Medical Services Officers.

The COT program covers the same subject areas as Basic Officer Training. However, the program is more compact than BOT due to its shorter length and the recognition given for the advanced professional and educational experiences of the students.

Upon completion of COT, judge advocate and chaplain officers normally attend career specialty schools offered at Maxwell. Medical scholarship recipients report back to various medical schools located throughout the country, and most health profession officers report to their operational units throughout the world.

Academy of Military Science
The Academy of Military Science is a detachment of the Air National Guard Readiness Center. Originally located at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Knoxville, Tenn., AMS relocated to Maxwell in 2009. AMS is a six-week program designed to train and commission second lieutenants to fulfill Air National Guard requirements.

AMS was established in 1971 and has commissioned more than 15,500 officers. AMS accession numbers have varied over the years, peaking at 569 in 2003. Currently, AMS has the capacity to produce 500 second lieutenants a year, with a surge capacity of 560.

The AMS program covers the same subject areas as BOT and COT and also provides education in the heritage of the Air National Guard and their role as Citizen Airmen, as the majority of AMS students are traditional Guard members who also have civilian careers. The training program is accomplished in six weeks in order to support civilian employers by educating the Citizen Airman in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Once AMS trainees successfully complete all OTS graduation requirements, they receive the oath of office and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Air National Guard, with both state and federal responsibilities.

Most of these new lieutenants attend follow-on training after OTS. Training specialties include pilot, combat systems officer or air battle management; space and missile operations; and several other support career fields. The length of this training varies according to the specialty.

Motto and Honor Code
Officer Training School's motto is "Always with Honor," reflected in the school's honor code: "We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does." The code is a standard of personal conduct for each officer trainee. OTS expects each graduate to adopt the code as the ethical standard maintained throughout their Air Force careers.

For More Information
For more information on the United States Air Force Officer Training School, visit the OTS web site at

Civilians interested in a career as an Air Force officer and considering applying to OTS need to contact a local Air Force recruiter via the Air Force recruiting web site, Current active duty Air Force enlisted members need to contact their base education office or Military Personnel Flight.