The Air Force and Navy signed an agreement yesterday to form an alliance between the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Monterey, Calif.
The resulting alliance is designed to enable the Air Force and Navy to provide airmen and sailors with a relevant, high-quality education that is more aligned with defense needs while eliminating duplicate degree programs and consolidating educational resources.
This initiative was prompted by a joint study chartered by Secretary of the Air Force James G. Roche and Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England to review each of their service's graduate educational processes.
"This is a tremendous effort to maximize the strengths of both AFIT and NPS and form solid alliances for a truly joint environment," said England.
Under the agreement, NPS will be the lead institution for meteorology and acquisition management. AFIT will offer an aeronautical engineering curriculum for both services.
Air Force and Navy officers will be given priority at the other's institution if there are no openings in a particular area of study at their service's institution. This will help reduce the number of airmen and sailors that are sent to civilian universities to complete their advanced degrees.
Additionally, an Air Force colonel will serve as the deputy superintendent and chief of staff of the NPS, and a Navy captain will serve as the vice commandant and director of staff at AFIT. Each will serve as their service's senior liaison officers at these institutions.
"By working together, we hope to minimize redundancy at each institution while still providing a world-class education in which officers from all services can engage in education and research programs in a joint environment," Roche said.
Both services, as alliance partners, will establish joint boards to ensure the educational requirements of each service are met and to provide joint oversight. The chair of the aeronautical engineering board will be a Navy flag officer while the meteorology and acquisition boards will be chaired by an Air Force general officer. Peter B. Teets, undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, will be the initial chair of the space board until a flag or general officer can be selected from within the NRO. Each board will provide a periodic report to the board of visitors from Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the board of advisors from the NPS.