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Air University Catalog 

Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools  
Officer Training School  
Col Darrell Sims, Commander  

The Air Training Command activated the Officer Training School (OTS), at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, on 1 July 1959. OTS moved to the Lackland Training Annex in 1961. In November 1971, the Air Staff launched an extensive curriculum review that produced a core curriculum common to the Air Force Academy, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and Officer Training School. On 22 September 1993, an era ended as OTS class 93-06 graduated at Lackland AFB. Officer Training School began a new era at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, on 25 September 1993 when it became a part of Air University. From its inception, OTS has been committed to providing the best officers in the United States Air Force--a mission requiring dedication, superb instruction, and hard work.

Throughout its history, OTS has adapted to an intense training environment. After graduating 12 women and 78 men in its first class, OTS successfully commissioned more than 500 second lieutenants its first year. By 1964, more than 10,000 individuals had graduated, and to date more than 96,000 officers have entered the Air Force through OTS. Over the years, OTS has functioned as a flexible commissioning program to meet the constantly changing manning requirements of the Air Force. Additionally, the school began training already commissioned medical students, chaplains, and judge advocates in 1981 and medical service officers in 1991. The school has trained more than 5,000 such officers since OTS began operations at Maxwell.

Officer Training School trains and commissions quality officers for the United States Air Force. OTS commissioning and training programs

  • Instill a commitment to the profession of arms
  • Inspire internalization of Air Force core values
  • Enhance officership skills
  • Provide a relevant, up-to-date curriculum
  • Meet USAF production goals
  • Create the best possible training environment


The Officer Training School consists of two commissioning programs: Basic Officer Training and Commissioned Officer Training. Basic Officer Training (BOT) leads to a line officer commission as a second lieutenant. Commissioned Officer Training (COT) provides initial officership training for Air Force judge advocates, chaplains, and medical service officers.

Basic Officer Training

Basic Officer Training is an intense program that imparts to its graduates the importance of discipline, attention to detail, dedication to service, and leadership. It stresses commitment to the profession of arms and motivates graduates to achieve the highest standards of integrity, excellence in all they do, and service before self. This regimented environment provides numerous tests for leadership skills through classroom and field training exercises, and operation of the officer trainee wing. Training culminates with Vigilant Warrior (VW)-a four-day, three-night leadership laboratory that offers many opportunities to reinforce leadership lessons and introduces trainees to field conditions.

Commissioned Officer Training

Commissioned Officer Training provides the fundamentals of officership and the initial leadership training required for newly commissioned Air Force officers. The rank of COT students ranges from second lieutenant to colonel depending on the newly commissioned officers' professional qualifications. A 4-day, 3-night aerospace expeditionary force exercise (AEFE) is the capstone event of COT. AEFE allows students to demonstrate their leadership skills and function in a field environment with practical applications in land navigation; nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) defensive measures; medical triage and transport; air transportable hospital (ATH) construction and operation; and tent construction. The exercise includes scenarios specifically designed for chaplains and judge advocates. Judge advocates complete firearms training on the first duty day following graduation from COT.

Programs and Operations

OTS continues to gather survey data and review course content and execution to improve program effectiveness. In September 1996, OTS began the new four-week COT course approved by the secretary of the Air Force. To improve field training (Vigilant Warrior and AEFE), exercises have been relocated from Maxwell AFB to a 200-acre field-training site near Lake Jordan, Alabama. Vigilant Warrior employs a realistic scenario for "military operations other than war" in which trainees develop a concept of operations, establish a mobility processing line, and man a 24-hour command post. Individual trainees are evaluated in hour-long leadership scenarios during the day; the officer trainee student wing is evaluated as a whole during night exercises patterned after operational readiness exercises. Trainees receive instruction on chemical suit wear, field hygiene, site defense, land navigation, tactical movements, and field communication. During Vigilant Warrior and AEFE, students complete a demanding 15-obstacle confidence course.

Improving facilities is a top priority, and OTS continues to make progress towards a new, consolidated campus. The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract for construction of the campus. A new fitness center opened the summer of 1999, and the academic facility opened in January 2000.

OTS makes every effort to furnish incoming officer candidates with information to facilitate their transition to commissioned officer status. The OTS home page (, launched in January 1996, gives prospective trainees ready access to current information on OTS. The school is creating a new orientation video to present an accurate view of the rigorous OTS programs. The video and home page assist trainees in preparing mentally and physically for OTS.

Other initiatives include a newly revamped, intensive physical conditioning program designed to build endurance and strength and to improve students' knowledge of the Air Force wellness lifestyle. Integration of the Pisces war game into the curriculum provides students with real-time scenarios designed to complement their understanding of war. Formal retreat ceremonies instill a sense of pride for Air Force customs and courtesies. C-130 rides introduce cadets to Air Force aircraft. Interservice competition with Army and Navy counterparts in joint military athletic events increase pride.


The major areas of instruction are leadership studies, military training and application, profession of arms, military studies, and communications skills. OTS teaching methods include auditorium lectures, flight room classes (informal lecture, guided discussion, and case studies), and field leadership activities (sports campaigns, Leadership Reaction Course, and Vigilant Warrior).

Duration and Quota

OTS currently conducts eight BOT classes and 12 COT classes each year. The BOT program is 12 weeks long (60 training days) and the COT program is four weeks long (20 training days). In fiscal year 2000, BOT will have about 100 officer trainees per class. COT will conduct six classes of 140 students, two classes with 168 students, and two with 338 students.

Prerequisites and Selection

Students attending Basic Officer Training must have a bachelor's degree, be less than 30 years of age (waivable to the age of 35), and meet the minimum physical requirements for becoming an officer. Competition for entry into this program is quite rigorous; typically, only one person is selected for every 14 applicants.

Basic Officer Training
Curriculum Summary
Instructional Area Academic Hours
Leadership Studies 47.75
Communication Skills 42.75
Profession of Arms 39.50
Military Studies 38.00
Military Training and Application 92.33
Admin/Testing 107.83
TOTAL 368.16

Commissioned Officer Training
Curriculum Summary
Instructional Area Academic Hours
Leadership Studies 33.75
Communication Skills 9.50
Profession of Arms 33.00
Military Studies 16.75
Military Training and Application 22.25
Admin/Testing 49.50
TOTAL 164.75

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