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Air War College to launch revised distance learning program

by Lt. Col. Bryan A. Holt
Air War College

6/17/2008 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFPN) -- The Air War College will make significant changes to its distance learning program this summer and discontinue the previous 16th edition.

The revised distance learning program that closely parallels the resident course will soon be available to senior military officers and equivalent civilian personnel.

The new edition will better prepare the distance learning graduates for the challenges they will face as senior officers, said Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Miller, Air Force Doctrine and Development Center commander.

"The 17th edition represents a significant turning point in the evolution of the AWC distance learning program," he said.

A key change of the new edition is that students will apply critical analysis and creative thinking to answer essay questions in each of the five core courses. Students will tackle real-world historic or current situations, which require the application of strategic leadership skills to answer questions.

"The 17th edition is a more robust distance learning program with greater emphasis on professional development," said Col. Stephen Visco the AWC dean of distance learning. "It better prepares AWC students for future challenges in today's dynamic military environment."

Core courses of the newest edition include: Foundations of strategy, national security and decision making, global security, joint military operations and joint strategic leadership.

The revised distance learning program continues a self-study approach without restricting students to a particular place or time for class meetings. This is especially useful for students with unique work schedules, or for those who are deployed. The new edition builds on previous editions, and offers a curriculum with small format text books, multimedia CD presentations and Web-based online content.

Students will be allowed 36 months to complete the program. Students may finish the program in as little as 18 months by completing one lesson per week.

The AWC distance learning program requires students to work with the first O-6 or equivalent mentor in their rating chain. Additionally, students will have to complete the AWC culture simulation capstone event. This first-person realistic simulation brings together all the concepts learned throughout the course.

"During these challenging times we must continue to highlight the need for all senior leaders to better articulate the Air Force's mission and contributions to America's national security," Colonel Visco said.

AWC is designed to prepare Air Force senior officers for the responsibilities of institutional leadership. This includes the ability to articulate the value of air, space and cyberspace power in the joint environment.

Currently, there are more than 5,000 students enrolled in the AWC distance learning program.

To date, approximately 4,000 students from all service branches have graduated from the AWC Senior Leader Course 16th Edition. An additional 4,000 students are expected to enroll in the 17th edition over the next two years.

"Graduates of the AWC distance learning program gain a broad understanding of the national and international issues facing Airmen deployed to the various regions in the world," General Miller said. "Our effort to refine the AWC distance learning program reflects our goal to educate tomorrow's strategic leaders to lead Airmen in air, space and cyberspace power in the expeditionary world of the future."

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