ACSC welcomes class for 2014 school year



by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs


8/9/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- The Air Command and Staff College welcomed its new student body to the 2014 school year during its annual in-processing event Tuesday at the Maxwell Club.

The class of 510 students is comprised of 304 active duty Air Force, 15 Air Force Reserve, 10 Air National Guard, 47 Army, 31 Navy, 13 Marine Corps, 17 civilians and 73 international officers from 61 nations.

"The start of any school year is very exciting, and this year is no different," said Lt. Col. Bridget McNamara, commander of the 21st Student Squadron.

McNamara is responsible for leading the students under the guidance of Brig. Gen. Thomas Deale, ACSC commandant.

"This year serves as a strategic pause in the career of each one of our students," she said. "When our students depart the ACSC in June 2014, we want them to be re-energized, freshly motivated and ready to take on the challenges of leadership in a complex strategic environment."

Over the next 10 months, ACSC students will engage in a core curriculum of joint warfare, airpower, international security studies and leadership. In addition, students will take electives that will personalize their academic experience.

Maj. Houston Hodgkinson, class president, said that he is thrilled to have the opportunity to attend ACSC this year.

"I may never have the opportunity to be surrounded by such a diverse group of exceptional military leaders," Hodgkinson said. "The student body consists of members from all five military branches and civilians. Add to that the experienced ACSC faculty and staff and you have an undeniable aura of military experience that is tough to beat."

Hodgkinson is a member of the First 50. Each year, 50 students are selected to attend a two-week program prior to the arrival of the main student body. These members receive guidance on policy, curriculum and administration, which helps streamline the transition for the remaining students. In addition, they help to create the command staff that governs the student body.

Hodgkinson believes that the school year will help to better prepare him and his classmates for the uncertain times within the military.

"I cannot remember a time since I have been serving that the military has faced more uncertainty," Hodgkinson said. "From the drawdown in the Middle East, budget constraints and the Pacific Pivot, we must prepare mentally, physically, spiritually and socially to meet the challenges of this dynamic global environment. The ACSC will prepare us to face these uncertainties, head on."