Produce leaders of moral character in an environment of mutual respect and dignity
Total Force Officer Training
Personnel and resources
The Officer Training School staff consists of full-time active duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard members, including 92 officers, 42 enlisted and nine civilian personnel, as well as nine Air Force Reserve Individual Mobilization Augmentee officers. OTS is a group-level command with three squadrons and one Air National Guard detachment that trained 2,848 officers in fiscal year 2016 (1,708 Total Force Officer Training, 985 in Commissioned Officer Training and 155 in Reserve Commissioned Officer Training. OTS graduates enter the Air Force in all components: active duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard).
The $78 million OTS complex on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, 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, confidence course, and two expeditionary assault courses. OTS also hosts over 2,000 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets during their summer Leadership, Evaluation and Development Course.
The United States Air Force initiated OTS at Medina Annex, Lackland AFB, Texas, in 1959. The school subsequently moved to Maxwell AFB 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, Florida, with the mission of training and commissioning officers from within the enlisted ranks. OCS moved to Lackland AFB in the spring of 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.
The purpose of Total Force Officer Training is to train and commission second lieutenants to fulfill Air Force active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard requirements, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Force ROTC. TFOT accession numbers fluctuate in response to variations between projected and actual U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Force ROTC officer accessions, and Air Force end strength requirements.
Commissioned Officer Training
The TFOT program consists of 30 hours of pre-requisite distance learning and eight weeks of military training and leadership development for college graduates, leading to a commission as a second lieutenant. The goal of this training is to instill high standards of conduct and provide cadets 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 become effective Air Force officers, OTS faculty members provide instruction and guidance in critical officership areas such as leadership studies, professional knowledge, communication skills, military studies and field leadership application.
TFOT instructs these areas concurrently, emphasizing team building, followership and knowledge acquisition during the first half of training, followed by leadership application during the second half. Lectures, 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 commissioned officers in the Air Force.
TFOT is, above all, a leadership laboratory. One of the experiential leadership learning opportunities 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 TFOT cadets successfully complete all OTS graduation requirements, they receive the oath of office and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Air Force.
Most of these new lieutenants attend follow-on training after OTS. Training specialties include pilot, navigator, 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 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.
Motto and Honor Code
The OTS motto "Always with Honor" is 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 cadet. OTS expects each graduate to adopt the code as the ethical standard maintained throughout their Air Force careers.
COT also executes a 13-day Reserve Commissioned Officer Training program for extremely difficult to recruit Reserve medical officers as determined by their respective functional managers.
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 Total Force Officer Training. However, the program is more compact than TFOT 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 AFB. 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.
For more information
For more information on Air Force OTS, visit the OTS web site at http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/holm-center/OTS/. If you are interested in a career as an Air Force officer and considering applying to OTS, contact your local Air Force recruiter via the Air Force recruiting web site, http://www.airforce.com. If you are currently an active duty Air Force enlisted member, contact your base education office or military personnel section.
(Current as of January 2018)