Sweeping Changes Proposed For Officer Training

Air Education and Training Command headquarters and the Air Staff are reviewing proposals from the Officer Training School that would make dramatic changes to the way the Air Force prepares its new officers. The proposal would merge OTS’s three separate officer programs into a single course combining Active Duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard officer candidates and new officers with direct commissions as judge advocates, medical professionals, and chaplains. OTS, based at Maxwell AFB, Ala., currently runs the Basic Officer Training School for prospective Active Duty and Reserve officers, the Academy of Military Science for ANG officer candidates, and the Commissioned Officers School for direct-commissioned non-line officers. “We want to change that,” Lt. Col. Ryan Aerni, commander of the 24th Training Squadron, told Air Force Magazine. “We want a common officer training experience” to give Total Force officers a shared foundation for their service. Aerni asked why the Air Guard needed its own officer training process, and said some non-line officers consider themselves different from all the other Air Force officers. He cited the recent “crossing the blue line” ceremony, in which all three schools joined to show their commitment to Air Force service, as a start.