AWC graduates class of 2012|
by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs
5/24/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Two hundred and forty-two students graduated from the Air War College Thursday after spending the school year expanding their capacity for strategic leadership and critical thought.
"These new Air War College graduates are better prepared than any class in the school's history to take on the challenges of creating and integrating United States and Allied national security policy during this period of fiscal austerity," said Maj. Gen. Scott Hanson, commandant.
This year's class consisted of 111 Airmen, 12 from the Air National Guard, nine from the Air Force Reserve, 34 Soldiers, 10 Marines, 10 Sailors, one from the Coast Guard, nine civilians and 46 international fellows.
Lt. Col. Stephanie Wolfgeher earned the DL Academic Excellence Award .
Col. David Lowthian from the royal Canadian air force earned the Wright Brothers Officership Award.
Students put their new skills to the test May 14-18 during the Global Challenge wargaming exercise, applying critical and creative thinking to a real-world scenario.
Global Challenge differed from previous year-end exercises.Students were no longer assigned to national- and theater-level roles, but played as a council of colonels to formulate advice, said James Powell, the wargame director for the LeMay Center Wargaming Institute.
"For the first time, the exercise equally engaged U.S. and international students with their faculty teaching teams from all the AWC departments," Powell said. "To be successful, the students truly had to leverage information from across their entire curriculum to analyze the scenario and formulate their advice for senior strategic leaders."
During Global Challenge, students confronted plausible crises, recommended priorities to achieve national interests and compared strategies, applying knowledge gained from AWC courses.
"This comparison opportunity, along with feedback from the faculty, increases their depth of understanding of the dynamics associated with developing military strategy, and thus helps prepare them for senior leadership at the strategic and operational levels of war," said Dr. Bert Frandsen, exercise director and AWC associate professor.
Global Challenge is part of the Air War College's mission to provide a balanced and challenging curriculum, developing students' leadership skills.
"(The students) should be proud of their accomplishments this year," Hanson said. "We look forward to watching them apply the skills gained during a difficult year of study from leadership positions within both military and civilian institutions around the world."