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News > Air University hosts first learning symposium
Air University hosts first learning symposium

Posted 8/21/2014   Updated 8/21/2014 Email story   Print story


by Patricia Roberson
Air University Instructional System Specialist

8/21/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The first Air University Learning Symposium is Sept. 25 at the Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education on Maxwell.

The symposium theme is "The Essential Weapon of the Warfighter."

The symposium is designed for information sharing and the professional development of the civilian and military staffs at Air University, Maxwell and Gunter Annex. The scheduled speakers will present topics that point to critical thinking as a fundamental requirement for the warfighter.

Symposium topics include "The Challenges Facing the Warfighter"; "Professional Development: Critical Thinking and Effective Communication"; "The Use of Wargaming in Developing Critical Analysis"; and "Critical Thinking Applications to USSOCOM Red Teaming."

When one thinks of warfighters, an image of Airmen in camouflage on the battlefields of Iraq or Afghanistan likely comes to mind. The Airmen are serving to liberate and guarantee a future of freedom and prosperity for the people of the countries they are fighting in and for the American people. These Airmen are the men and women of the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force warfighters are the fighting core of our military. They are men and women of strong character, a belief in respect for others and committed to high standards and the core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.

The battlefield environment requires Airmen to be fit for the fight, proficient with using technologies found in a variety of combat system, such as body armor. They also must be equipped with the knowledge, education and courage to face the battlefield and the challenges of protecting our country. Air Force warfighters are required to process information from a broad spectrum of domains.

Air University offers a full spectrum of Air Force education and curriculum in military strategy for warfighters. The warfighters in Air University classrooms are engaged in professional military education, discussing military theory, strategy and campaign planning, warfare and terrorism, nuclear weapons, air power capabilities, global security and operational warfare studies. In the professional continuing education programs at the university, the warfighters' studies are focused on developing skills in leadership, critical thinking, decision making, communication and the profession of arms, as well as warfare and international security studies. This military strategy curriculum is designed to stimulate students' ability to think critically, lead successfully at the strategic level in a joint and coalition environment, analyze political-military situations and lead and command in complex, dynamic and ambiguous operational environments.

The blend of education and experience gained at Air University develops "The Essential Weapon of the Warfighter"--the warfighter's mind. With a mission to produce leaders of character, educated to think critically, strategically and jointly to master and deliver superior airpower in support of national security objectives, Air University equips warfighters for the battlefield and to maintain and enhance the Air Force's ability to "fly, fight, and win ... in air, space and cyberspace."

In 2012, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, stated, "The enduring purpose of professional military education is to develop leaders by conveying a broad body of professional knowledge and developing the habits of mind essential to our profession. Our joint education institutions will continue to be measured in part by the performance of leaders serving in areas where critical thinking skills are essential."
Two notable symposium speakers will be Lt. Gen. David Fadok, commander and president, Air University, and Dr. Matthew Stafford, vice president for Air University Academic Affairs.

Air University Learning Symposium speakers

Lt. Gen. David Fadok
Lt. Gen. David Fadok is the Air University commander and president. He provides full-spectrum education, research and outreach at every level through professional military education, professional continuing education and academic degree granting. He leads the intellectual and leadership center of the U.S. Air Force, graduating more than 50,000 resident and 120,000 non-resident officers, enlisted and civilian personnel each year. Additionally, he is responsible for officer commissioning through Officer Training School and the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Dr. Matthew Stafford
Dr. Matthew Stafford is the vice president for Academic Affairs at the Air University. He is responsible for providing a wide variety of developmental programs in education, research and outreach to enlisted, commissioned and civilian personnel around the world. These programs include professional military education, professional continuing education and academic degree-granting programs ranging from associates degree programs executed through the Community College of the Air Force through the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies doctoral degree program. The Air University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its intermediate and senior professional military education programs are accredited by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Process for Accreditation of Joint Education.

Col. Thomas McCarthy
Colonel Thomas McCarthy is the commandant and dean of the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Air University. SAASS is a highly selective one-year graduate school with an interdisciplinary focus on the ideas and forces that inform the modern security environment. As commandant, McCarthy is responsible for educating strategists who can optimize air, space and cyberspace power for the Air Force and the nation. McCarthy's tours include director USAF Center for Strategy and Technology, instructing as a professor at Air War College, interning for the deputy secretary of defense and serving on the Air Staff in A5XS Strategy Think Tank, the "Skunk Works."

Col. Jeffrey Smith
Colonel Jeffrey Smith is director of Studies, Analysis and Assessments, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. He is responsible to the AETC commander for command-wide professional development oversight, analytic and assessment policy and implementation. Smith has served in various assignments at all levels, including a staff assignment at Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., as deputy, chief strategist, for the Air Force Chief of Staff Think Tank, the "Skunk Works." He was also selected by the deputy chief of staff for Operations and Plans to obtain an in-residence doctorate at Washington State University. Prior to his current assignment, Smith was the commandant and dean of the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at the Air University.

Col. Walter Ward, Jr.
Colonel Walter Ward, Jr., is the director of Wargaming at the Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education, Air University. Ward is responsible for advising, advocating and shaping the presentation and application of airpower in Air Force and sister services' joint and multinational exercises, experiments and wargames. He provides operational- and strategic-level wargames to educate and train senior warfighters, commanders and their staffs. In a typical year, the directorate plans, develops and conducts approximately 40 wargames and exercises for over 10,500 participants. The Wargaming Directorate uses computer servers, simulation models, programming tools and seminars to address how the military forces deploy, fight and sustain combat.

August G. Jannarone
Retired Air Force Colonel Greg Jannarone is deputy division chief, Strategic Plans Division, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command. In 2011, he designed and still directs, the HQ USSOCOM "RED TEAM." He also leads behavioral assessment in strategic and compartmented planning activities. He joined HQ USSOCOM as a civilian in December 2008. Before his retirement from USSOCOM in early 1993, he had served as chief of plans for two and one half years and had directed the USSOCOM Joint Mission Analysis for future force capabilities the previous year.

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