OTS restructures program to increase quality, quantity of officers

Air Force Commissioned Officer Training course trainees stand in formation, May 24, 2018, on Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. OTS has recently merged COT with the Total Force Officer Training course to increase the quality and quantity of officers it can produce annually. Photo by Airman 1st Class Samuel Contreras

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE – The Air Force’s Officer Training School is changing the paradigm for building officers, pivoting away from separate programs for line and non-line officers and conducting merged classes beginning in January 2019.

The Total Force Officer Training and Commissioned Officer Training courses will be phased out over the course of 2019, according to Col. Pete Bailey, OTS commandant. They will be replaced by a combined eight-week course, which will offer an off-ramp for a limited number of non-line specialties.

“The purpose for this change is twofold,” Bailey said. “First, we are ensuring the best leadership training is offered to all who attend OTS, in a setting which better mirrors the environment in which they will serve. Also, this change assists in the development of a more resilient organization, which is effectively resourced to meet both steady state and surge requirements of the Total Force.”

The OTS “One Syllabus for One Officer” concept is enabled by moving from its current three-training squadron construct to a more efficient two-training squadron model, said Lt. Col. Erick Saks, 24th Training Squadron commander. With two squadrons training both line and non-line officers, OTS can increase the quantity and quality of its officers. The initiative increases officer production capacity from around 2,700 graduates annually to 3,300 with a surge capability of up to 3,800. Students also gain the opportunity to train alongside officers who they would not have interacted with until much further along in their careers, providing a shared foundation for both line and non-line officers.

“The real nexus behind the new syllabus was to make the right training, for the right Airman, at the right time,” added Bailey. “Producing good officers and good leaders is not only a force multiplier, but will also help revitalize the organization that we take to war, which is the squadron. When you have the responsibility of training over 54 percent of the officers who access into the United States Air Force annually, you have to get it right.”


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