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Holm Center provides foundation for future Air Force careers

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Editor's note: This is the second in a series highlighting organizations at Maxwell-Gunter commanded by women in observance of March's Women's History month. 

Producing more than 75 percent of the officers for the U.S. Air Force, the Holm Center is unique in that it provides the foundation that other Air University centers build on, according to Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric, commander of the Holm Center. 

Formerly Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools, the Holm Center includes Officer Training School, or OTS; Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC; and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, or JROTC. 

"We become that first layer, the foundation that the other centers build upon," General Djuric said while emphasizing the strong "synergy" that exists among AU centers. 

She added the Holm Center mission is to develop the best Air Force leaders and citizens of character, dedicated to serving the Nation. The Holm Center vision of the future is to "sustain a culture and environment of continuous learning, enthusiasm, pride and tradition," the general said. 

Among several initiatives of the Holm Center is tracking the implementation of expeditionary skills training into OTS, ROTC and the Air and Space Basic Course. ASBC is under the Spaatz Center. 

Tracking the expeditionary skills as ASBC is re-tooled, allowing the Holm Center and the Spaatz Center to work jointly to make sure that expeditionary skills training is layered and not redundant from commissioning sources to ASBC, she said. 

The Holm Center mission states how General Djuric and her staff will reach their goals to produce a graduate who knows what it means to be a good Airman, who represents the Air Force well and gives back to the country and the world at large. 

General Djuric explained that the "citizens of character" focuses on the JROTC mission. JROTC is a congressionally mandated and funded course for high school students, with the program's focus reflected by the motto, "Building better citizens for America." General Djuric emphasized that it also applies to the leadership and officership traits they teach in OTS and ROTC. 

Community service is integrated into all our programs to develop good citizenship. "JROTC is a great program that promotes community service, and instills responsibility, character and self-discipline," the general said.

The Holm Center JROTC curriculum is certified for high school credit, and the instructors are subject matter experts with many years of Air Force experience. General Djuric said that about 16 percent of JROTC cadets (all services) end up joining the Air Force, and you only need to talk to a high school principal or AFJROTC cadet to know that the mission of citizen development is being accomplished. 

The future of the Holm Center lies in sustaining continuous learning, enthusiasm, pride and tradition. General Djuric attributes success with delivering continuous learning and enthusiasm to the instructors and student synergy. The general said the instructors make the compelling curriculum come alive for their students. A sense of tradition is inherent in those students who excel will train the lower class of students with mentoring from AFJROTC, OTS, or AFROTC instructors. Personal pride is built as the students train themselves to be leaders, she said. 

According to the Air Force Personnel Center, 20.48 percent of current Air Force officers were commissioned through the U.S. Air Force Academy, 43.13 percent through ROTC and 19.38 percent through Officer Training School. The remaining 17.02 percent were commissioned through other sources such as direct appointment. 

Some other examples of Holm Center initiatives now underway include growing the number of AFJROTC high schools and bringing back AFROTC's Gold Bar recruiting program. Best practices are shared in joint operations opportunities. There are also changes coming in Total Force areas such as moving the Air National Guard Officer Training School known as the Academy of Military Science from McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn., to Maxwell Air Force Base in the fall. 

Performance measures remain staunch. The general said they are the same from the top down, but personalized for practical application. 

The Holm Center performance measures are the same ones the AETC commander provides to the Air University commander and other Center commanders, and they track that at all levels. "We just try to make it personal and think of how it applies to each one of our commanders. If you look at it, we have about 150 commanders across the Holm Center. So how do you make it real for them? How do you transcend the metrics that make sense to their mission?" 

She said there is one metric that states you need to have Air Force Smart Operations 21, or AFSO21, projects. "I'm a huge advocate of AFSO21 because I've been involved in seven AFSO21 events, it doesn't take a lot of time and you see instant improvement," General Djuric asserted. "Even if it's just a value stream mapping event, you teach everybody not only about the value of efficiencies and effectiveness of AFSO21, but you also teach them about their mission." The Holm Center's Support Directorate leads the way in implementing smarter operations in the areas of personnel, finance and communications. 

General Djuric feels balancing Airman duties and family is always something to keep at the top of her list. Also, she finds opportunities to reach out to the families of deployed Airmen. Civilians are also highly valued, and the balance between workload and overtime hours is tracked. 

"Here at the Holm Center we're committed to developing the best Air Force leaders and citizens of character," General Djuric stated. "And our diversity across the Holm Center faculty and staff contributes to building the confidence of more than 117,000 cadets and trainees who know they can achieve anything in their lifetime regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, career field, or commissioning source."