Barnes Center implements new PT and uniform standard for EPME

  • Published
  • By Brian Ferguson
  • Barnes Center for Enlisted Education

Servicemembers are now required to complete a mock physical fitness test within the first five days of any Air Force Enlisted Professional Military Education course lasting more than 20 days.

Col. Damian Schlussel, commander of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted education, set this expectation and others in an operational order to all BCEE affiliated schools, Aug. 17, 2023. The order addresses PT and dress and appearance standards for personnel attending enlisted professional military education courses and begins immediately.

Additionally, students attending any EPME will be required to wear the service dress uniform, or service class A equivalent, for graduation and a minimum of one additional academic day. Commandants do, however, have the authority to grant exceptions or modifications based on specific mission concerns or unforeseen circumstances.

Commandants also have the authority to consider any student who is non-compliance with dress and appearance standards or has an unsatisfactory mock fitness test ineligible for student award, according to the order.

“The Profession of Arms requires fitness, discipline and standards, and student awards should follow suit, rewarding those who exemplify what it means to be an Airman,” Schlussel said. “This order falls in line with what AU has already implemented across the force.”

In June, the AU Commander and President Lt. Gen. Andrea Tullos set her expectations of standards for personnel attending AU courses in a memorandum to Air Force commanders.

The memo, entitled “Air University Standards for Participation in Formal Education and Training,” states that students should meet all course requirements, joint service requirements where applicable, and meet service standards for fitness and dress and appearance prior to arriving at their designated course. All personnel will be subject to a mock Physical Fitness Assessment upon arrival to the school so both students and cadets have this initial and prioritize physical health from the onset.

This BCEE order serves as the “base guidance for Enlisted Professional Military Education (EPME) to align with Air University, service and Department of Defense standards,” the order states. “Students who attend EPME are expected to meet and adhere to service-specific physical readiness standards and uniform dress and appearance requirements.”

The order applies to all stateside noncommissioned officer PME courses, but Airman Leadership Schools and overseas or total force NCO Academies are highly encouraged to implement this order for uniformity of standards across the EPME enterprise.