The Air University (AU) is the U.S. Air Force's primary center for professional military education, the need for innovative Airmen drives Air University to develop leaders, enrich minds, advance airpower, build relationship, deliver solutions and inspire service. The university's vision is to be the intellectual and leadership-development center of the Air Force.
As a regionally accredited, joint accredited and internationally recognized academic institution, AU annually produces more than 76,000 resident and 154,000 nonresident graduates in programs that include not only short certificate courses but also degrees ranging from the AA to MA, MS, and PhD.
The 2015 USAF Strategic Master Plan identifies four trends that are shaping the Air Force's operating environment:
- rapidly emerging technological breakthroughs,
- geopolitical instability,
- a widening range of operating environments,
- and increasing importance and vulnerability of the global commons.
As the strategic environment evolves, AU says it must evolve to prepare leaders to confront emerging challenges. The Air Force has released its 2105 Air University Strategic Plan that will help AU meet the Air Force's long range plans.
In the strategic plan, the Air Force described AU's 5 lines of operation and their associated goals:
- Deliver the best training, education, and leadership development opportunities possible to all Airmen and other Air University students.
- Recruit and retain high quality faculty.
- Improve the selection, recruitment and assignment of students
- Continuously improve curricula and teaching methodologies in all AU schools and programs.
- Aid Airmen and students in capturing and transporting their educational accomplishments.
- Facilitate incorporation of competency-based educational programs where appropriate for the accomplishment of the missions of individual colleges, schools, and centers within the university.
- Conduct research and analysis to make recommendations that address Air Force, national security, and leadership challenges of today and tomorrow.
- Improve the university's ability to conduct research and problem-solving efforts and to respond to requests for research, analysis, consultation, and support.
- Be a major source for research needs critical to USAF strategic and operational challenges.
- Expand capabilities and use of war games, simulations, exercises, and experimentation to explore and develop concepts and research projects.
- Improve integration and outreach.
- Improve internal AU integration to facilitate synergy and maximize use of expertise and resources.
- Improve AU outreach to promote airpower and engage externally to effectively address Air Force issues.
- Execute robust lessons-learned and doctrine development, delivery, and education programs that underpin and guide Air Force and airpower strategies, concepts, and operations.
- Improve doctrine revision, production, and dissemination.
- Enhance collaboration within the doctrine design, development, and feedback processes.
- Enhance delivery of doctrine in support of operations.
- Recruit and retain high quality doctrine action officers.
- Build Air University's capability to deliver development opportunities, research/problem solving, outreach, and doctrine.
- Improve the collection and dissemination of lessons learned about USAF activities.
- Foster professional and effective learning and working environments.
- Improve the institutional tools, processes, facilities, and support to meet AU goals and objectives.
The Strategic Plan goes on to say AU must become an agile, learning organization capable of quickly adjusting to the demands of a rapidly changing environment. AU must build a common operating picture that effectively and efficiently captures what has been done, what is currently in work, and what challenges are on the horizon.
Finally, AU's identity as a military organization with an academic mission must always guide its organizational choices, processes, and actions. AU's programs address practitioners of the profession of arms. While theory is a critical component of education, AU's ultimate emphasis must always be on putting theory into practice. AU must combine the academic understanding of important issues with an appreciation for the accomplishment of military missions.
In summary, six principles will guide transformation actions across AU:
- Embrace AU's identity as a military organization with an academic mission
- Invest in people constantly
- Align authority, responsibility, resources and accountability to support decentralized execution
- Share information to build an AU-wide shared consciousness of actions and opportunities
- Focus relentlessly on outcomes
- Ensure AU programs are responsive and relevant to AF needs
Success for Airmen is not measured in numbers of sorties flown, bombs dropped, satellites launched, or cargo tons delivered. Success is measured by the effects those sorties, bombs, launches, and tons of cargo achieve. Similarly, AU must bring new attention to the effects it achieves, its outcomes, in every endeavor including those proposed in this plan.