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Air University Catalog 

School of Advanced Airpower Studies  
Col Stephen D. Chiabotti, Commandant and Dean  

Mission: To educate strategists in the art and science of aerospace warfare, thus enhancing the Air Force's capacity to defend the United States through the control and exploitation of air and space.

A revolution in Air Force professional military education (PME) began in the late 1970s. As it continued in the 1980s, the revolution led Air Force chief of staff Gen Larry D. Welch to charter a new graduate school, the School of Advanced Airpower Studies (SAAS), at Air University in 1988. Beginning with the graduation of the first class, SAAS has produced many of the USAF's most influential and innovative airpower strategists and leaders. The first class convened in the summer of 1991 and graduated in June 1992.

SAAS is an 11-month, follow-on school for selected graduates of intermediate-level Department of Defense professional military education (PME) schools. The School of Advanced Airpower Studies educates strategists in the art and science of aerospace warfare to enhance the United States Air Force's capacity to defend the United States through the control and exploitation of air and space. SAAS creates warrior-scholars who have a superior ability to develop, evaluate, and employ airpower. Upon completion of all requirements and with faculty recommendation, graduates receive a master of airpower art and science degree.

SAAS faculty members hold a doctorate degree or equivalent in their fields of academic expertise. The breadth, depth, and diversity of their expertise are enhanced by the fact one-half of the SAAS faculty members are field grade or higher officers; the remaining faculty members are civilian scholars.

Resident Curriculum

The curriculum has three phases. The first phase courses focus on theories of war and airpower application. Phase two courses focus on the experience of air and space power in all types of conflict. The third phase courses focus on providing students with opportunities to apply the insights and knowledge gained during the first two phases. The SAAS curriculum

  1. Develops and enhances students' abilities to think critically about important and complex issues
  2. Facilitates critical thinking by providing students with a knowledge base in military theory
  3. Facilitates critical thinking by providing students with a knowledge base in air and space power theory and history
  4. Facilitates critical thinking by providing students with a knowledge base concerning the political influences on airpower employment
  5. Develops and enhances students' ability to synthesize and articulate complex concepts concerning air and space power strategy and employment

The primary instructional forum is seminar based to encourage students to interact with each other and instructors.

Graduation and Degree Requirements

To graduate, a student must

  1. Achieve a weighted grade point average for all letter graded courses of 3.0 or higher
  2. Achieve a "pass" grade for all courses graded "pass/fail"
  3. Prepare a thesis based on research in original source materials that meets generally accepted standards of research, analysis, and expression at the master's degree level
  4. Successfully complete a comprehensive examination

Duration and Quota

The SAAS curriculum is an intensive 48-week program. Class size is limited to 25 Air Force officers plus one Army officer and an officer representing the sea services.

Prerequisites and Selection

Admission to SAAS is highly competitive. Those wishing to be admitted must formally apply while in residence at an intermediate service school. The application process includes a requirement to write an essay on a subject selected by the dean. Applicants must either already have a master's degree from an accredited institution or a bachelor's degree with an overall grade point average of 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 point scale. The Air Force Institute of Technology verifies all academic qualifications. A central selection board convened at the Air Force Personnel Center makes the final admission selections among qualified applicants.

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