Professional, personal education key to Air Force future|
by Master Sgt. Mitch Gettle
Air Force Print News
4/26/2006 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The Air Force is the most technologically advanced and capable air force in the world, in part due to the professional and personal education Airmen obtain, the secretary of the Air Force said recently.
“We need our people to be highly qualified and we set that standard from the first line of accession, and we retain that standard throughout a person’s career,” said Michael W. Wynne. “We actively encourage this development and we want our Airmen to think of themselves on a quest for personal and professional development.”
The Air Force relies on many internal professional development courses for enlisted and officer education and training, but also seeks interaction and support from educational institutions in the United States.
“We sit in the cradle of education throughout America; we revel in the fact that our educational opportunities are the best in the world,” he said. “We need to take advantage of that and leverage the investment made by our senior educators across America.
“We can do this by making sure our personal and professional education dovetail into accessible degrees,” he said.
The secretary said he has asked Air University leaders at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., to come up with partnerships to ensure Airmen can receive transferable credit to civilian institutions for all courses offered by AU.
The pursuit of or earning a degree is a very personal decision, the secretary said.
“I don’t want to stretch our personnel to exhaustion, but we want to foster our Airmen to quest after personal and professional education in any ways or means they can,” Secretary Wynne said.
In a joint letter released from Secretary Wynne and Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff, they stated that promotion boards will once again consider officers’ educational progress as they advance in rank.
“Once a degree is achieved, you can (do an Internet search on) almost anyone’s background to see (he or she) earned a degree, and we find that we are trying to withhold information from that most vital element -- the promotion board,” Secretary Wynne said.
The change in policy will not take effect until fiscal 2008.
“I did not want to dispose of the policy of masking degrees right away,” he said.
“Because we have some people who felt they may have been disadvantaged because they didn’t get the opportunity to show they had a degree, we are giving this time to all individuals who may not have had the opportunity to get a degree,” he said. "Interestingly enough, for (our enlisted, masking degrees) has never been the case. All enlisted promotion selection boards have seen, in succession, the educational success of those individuals up for promotion.
“Our future relies on educated Airmen, whether they are active duty, Reserve or Guard,” Secretary Wynne said.