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Air University Catalog 

Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development  
International Officer School  
Col George F. McCarthy Jr., Director  

The International Officer School was established in 1954 as the Allied Officer Preparatory School. Since then, 8,821 international military students from 128 countries have completed the program. The school conducts five classes each year. These classes are six- or seven-week courses to prepare international officers for attendance at Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, or Squadron Officer School.

The preparatory courses improve the ability of students to express their ideas clearly (in both speaking and writing) and to read and comprehend written and spoken materials used in Air University classes. A program of planned classroom activities, informational trips, and a civilian sponsorship program (called Alabama Goodwill Ambassadors) introduces students to the political, military, and socioeconomic aspects of American culture. This orientation enables students to adjust more readily to the US Air Force and civilian communities. Academic requirements for each course are geared specifically to the PME school the students will attend.

The International Officer School's Operations Division functions as the International Student Military Office and provides administrative support to all international students attending any Air University School.

Mission: Educate and support international officers and their families, and it manages international programs enabling Air University to accomplish US security assistance objectives, support USAF international involvement, and build lasting international military relationships.

Goals: Expand the capacity of international officers to participate more effectively in military education and duty assignments.

Objectives: This course develops

  • An appreciation of American society, institutions, and ideals
  • An awareness of the mission and organization of US military forces and US military terminology
  • An ability to speak and understand American English (SOS, ACSC, and AWC only)
  • An awareness of the organizational structure, curriculum content, and instructional methods employed in Air University schools (SOS, ACSC, and AWC only)
  • An ability to participate in physical training activities (SOS, ACSC, and AWC only)

Initiatives Summary

Believing that the school's vitality demands change and innovation, ongoing research is an integral part of the faculty's responsibility. Research-ranging from instructional methodology to cross-cultural communications-identifies academic subject areas, lesson formats, and instructional techniques required for the curricula. Such research and the resulting innovations enhance student learning and the achievement of school objectives. Examples of improvements are the continuing expansion of the interactive videodisc, computer-assisted instruction laboratory and the formalization of language training to provide integrated American English instruction with other curriculum topics.


The school's curriculum consists essentially of preparatory courses that have three basic functions. First, they provide curriculum orientations to follow-on school topics and methodologies. Second, they serve as periods of cultural adjustment for international officers and their families. Third, they accomplish the administrative requirements and informational program objectives outlined in international military training management directives. Attendance at IOS is a prerequisite for international officers attending SOS, ACSC, and AWC. International students coming to Air University for the Air Command and Staff College and Air War College should preview Air University Catalog for the relevant masters degree, accreditation, degree granting authority, and eligibility requirements spelled out in the descriptions of each school in this catalog.

Duration and Quota

Course titles, duration, and student quotas for each class are as follows:

Course Title Duration Quota
IOS/SOS (3 classes) 6 weeks 32
IOS/ACSC 6 weeks 80
IOS/AWC 6 weeks 45

Prerequisites and Selection

IOS/SOS and IOS/ACSC require an English comprehension-level (ECL) test score of 70 while IOS/AWC requires an ECL test score of 80. Students are also expected to meet certain physical standards outlined in AFCAT 36-2223, USAF Formal Schools.

Course Areas

Each course includes the following phases.

Student Administration. During this phase of the course international officers in-process and to receive tours and briefings about Maxwell AFB and Montgomery. They receive orientations in various aspects of the individual International Officer School courses. This area includes welcome and graduation ceremonies, curriculum and schedule briefings, and a tour of the AU Library. Students participate in formal, structured feedback conferences with instructors; informal conferences take place throughout the courses as needed.

Informational Program. The Informational Program provides opportunities for students to gain a better understanding of US ideals, institutions, and culture. Some of the topics included are the American way of life, education in the United States, US government institutions, and the US news media. A significant portion of this program is devoted to human rights and related training in keeping with State and Defense Department objectives for security assistance training. Field trips and tours are conducted in the Montgomery area and to Washington, D.C.

Communications Development. Communications Development constitutes a significant portion of the instruction at IOS. It includes English enhancement instruction designed to increase the students' ability to speak and understand American English and communicate ideas both orally and in writing.

In addition, basic writing and briefing instruction, with application exercises, is provided based on the PME follow-on school's communication techniques. This area also includes computer instruction with hands-on training in applications appropriate to the specific follow-on PME school.

Military Studies. The Military Studies area introduces the students to the mission, organization, policies, concepts, and terminology of the United States military.

Curriculum Summaries
Squadron Officer School Course
Instructional Area Academic Hours
Student Administration 18.5
Informational Program 66.0
Communication Development 75.0
Military Studies 7.5
Leadership 35.5
TOTAL 202.5

Air Command and Staff College Course
Instructional Area Academic Hours
Student Administration 16.0
Informational Program 75.5
Communication Development 91.0
Military Studies 22.0
Leadership 1.0
TOTAL 205.5

Air War College Course
Instructional Area Academic Hours
Student Administration 19.0
Informational Program 70.0
Communication Development 65.5
Military Studies 44.5
Leadership 4.0
TOTAL 203.0

Leadership. Students are provided an introduction to various leadership concepts and models. Again, the instruction is geared at a level appropriate to the follow-on PME school. This area also introduces the physical training requirements of the follow-on PME school with emphasis on field leadership and teamwork--particularly important for students preparing to attend Squadron Officer School.

Other Programs

IOS conducts several nonacademic programs to enhance the experience and education of international officers and their families.

Alabama Goodwill Ambassadors. Alabama Goodwill Ambassadors is the Air University official sponsorship program for international students and their families. This program makes the international students and their families feel welcome and acquaints them with aspects of American culture that they may not otherwise be exposed to through their formal Air University courses and activities.

International Family Loan Program. This program lends international students and their families (for a nominal fee) such essential household items as dishes and utensils. This service relieves students of the need to spend large sums of money on items they would discard before leaving Air University.

International Family Orientation Program. This two-week family orientation course is conducted each summer for the wives and children of the international officers who will attend ACSC and AWC. The course provides an orientation to American culture and to the Montgomery public school system. When possible, limited English language instruction is provided. Many recreational activities are also conducted for the children.

Air University International Honor Roll. This honor roll recognizes international graduates of Air University PME courses who have gone on to become heads of service, ministers of defense, heads of state, or other high-level officials within their own countries.

International Wives English Course. This six-week course, conducted each fall or winter, provides conversational English skills that spouses of international officer students will need in their day-to-day activities.

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