Air War College receives joint Phase II certification|
by Karl Duckworth
Air University Public Affairs
12/6/2006 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFPN) -- Air War College, the Air Force's senior service school, located at Air University here, received Joint Staff J-7's recommendation for Joint Professional Military Education Phase II certification at the culmination of a visit by a certification assessment team in late November. The recommendation becomes final once approved by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Process for Accreditation of Joint Education team announced their recommendation to an assembled crowd of AWC students and faculty at the end of their six-day evaluation.
The recommendation, once approved, will be effective for the college graduates of academic year 2007 and beyond, and the certification for the school will last for two years.
JPME Phase II encompasses seven program standards and seven learning areas taught by the college faculty throughout the academic year and is the second of three elements required to become a joint specialty officer. The joint specialty rating indicates an officer who is experienced and knowledgeable in working with other military services in the warfighting environment.
The first of the three elements, JPME Phase I, has been integrated into AWC's curriculum since 1992. Phase I also can be accomplished at the intermediate development education level, which provides the basis for the Phase II now to be offered at the senior level. The third element is an assignment to a joint billet.
Until this year, Phase II education was available only at specialized military education facilities, such as the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
"The services themselves recognize the value of joint officers and want to broaden the pool of senior joint officers at the phase II level," said Col. Stephen Wright, dean of Academic Affairs at AWC. "Fundamentally, we want to graduate more senior officers who are capable at the national and strategic level in joint and interagency operations. At the end of the day, one of the most important things we can do at Air War College is joint certification."
Although AWC follows the Marine Corps War College as the second military senior service school to receive the certification, by end of fiscal 2007 all military senior service schools are scheduled to undergo the certification process.
Even though the accreditation of all the senior service schools was specified in the 2005 National Defense Authorization Act, accreditation is not automatic. It is a multipart process, which includes a self-assessment and a peer review and begins with a two-year certification. The self-assessment completed by AWC provided the basic understanding of the AWC program to the16-person team, composed of military leaders and academics from each of the sister senior service schools, for the peer review.
Once on site, the assessment team looked into key curriculum areas, such as national security strategy, joint warfare and information operations, and looked at the college through a lens of commonly-accepted education standards, including program effectiveness, student achievement, faculty development and institutional resources.
The college was lauded in 13 out of the 14 categories assessed, according to Army Col. Larry Smith, team chief. Twenty-five superior performers were identified by both the PAJE team and AWC leaders as providing outstanding support for both the preparations and supporting efforts during the week-long visit.
"It's difficult to get accreditation," said Army Brig. Gen. Arthur Bartell, a member of the executive committee of the assessment team. "It's tough, and it ought to be. That says something about the hard work being done here and the quality of faculty. I am proud of their effort."
In addition to being a win for AWC and the Air Force, it is a win for students of the college and commanders on the front line.
"From a human element, graduates will not have to spend another three months away from home to receive Phase II qualification; they are already qualified," said Colonel Wright. "From an operational standpoint, it means that a gaining unit in, say, European Command, won't have to give a person up for three months for more training."
"This was a tremendous performance by Air War College, across the board, and is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people," said General Bartell.
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