Military Times

2012 Benefits Handbook

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Service academy applicants must be nominated to be considered for appointment. Most receive nominations from members of Congress. Other sources include presidential nominations for children of career service members, and regular and reserve unit nominations.

Applicants must be 17 to 23 years old by July 1 of the year of entrance; a U.S. citizen (except for limited numbers of foreign applicants); of good moral character; and able to meet academic, physical and medical requirements.

Applicants also must be single, not pregnant and have no legal obligation to support family members. Students are members of the U.S. armed forces and receive a fully funded education and an annual salary that helps pay for uniforms, textbooks, personal computers and incidentals. There is no tuition. The government provides room and board, and medical and dental care.

Upon graduation, students receive Bachelor of Science degrees with their commissions. In return, they must serve five years on active duty and three years in a reserve status. An extended service commitment applies to Air Force and Navy pilots and navigators.

Contact: Air Force Academy,; U.S. Military Academy,; Naval Academy,; Coast Guard Academy,


Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, supports the Air Force and national defense by providing degree-granting graduate and professional continuing education, research and consulting services that respond to Air Force and Defense Department needs.

AFIT has three resident schools for selected officers, noncommissioned officers, Defense Department civilians, nondefense civilians and international officers. The Graduate School of Engineering and Management offers doctorate and master’s degrees. The School of Systems and Logistics offers professional continuing education courses. The Civil Engineer School provides professional continuing education in engineering and environmental management.

Through its Civilian Institution Programs, AFIT also manages the educational programs of officers enrolled in civilian universities, research centers, hospitals and industrial organizations. In addition to the schools, the Air Force Center for Systems Engineering also is at AFIT.


The Judge Advocate General Legal Center and School of the Army in Charlottesville, Va., offers an accredited master’s degree in military law for judge advocates in all service branches and Army civilian attorneys, as well as short courses for judge advocates, commanders, general officers and Army civilians in diversified legal disciplines. The course runs from mid-August to late May. In addition to the basic graduate course, the school has a specialization program in contract and fiscal law, international and operational law, criminal law and administrative and civil law.


National Defense Intelligence College at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., awards a master’s degree in strategic intelligence, as well as diplomas through its postgraduate intelligence and undergraduate intelligence programs. U.S. government civilians and service members can attend the graduate program full or part time. Students must be nominated by their service or agency. The college also has an undergraduate program.


Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., provides graduate programs through four graduate schools: Business and Public Policy; Engineering and Applied Sciences; Operational and Information Sciences; and International Studies. Students come from all services and about 50 nations.


School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., is the Air Force’s graduate school for strategists. SAASS is a 50-week, follow-on school for selected graduates of intermediate-level Defense Department professional military education schools. Upon completion of all requirements and with faculty recommendation, graduates receive a master of air power art and science degree.

SAASS is the most selective of all Air Force schools. About 5 percent of eligible volunteers are chosen to attend. To become an SAASS student, an officer must graduate from an intermediate service school; be a volunteer; have a master’s degree from a accredited institution or have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.75 or higher; have less than 16 years of total active commissioned service; and be selected by the central selection board held at the Air Force Personnel Center.

The SAASS curriculum is designed to accomplish two major objectives: to enhance students’ ability to think critically about the role of military force in the art of statecraft through an extensive examination of both theory and historical experience, and to cultivate students’ ability to argue effectively and responsibly about strategy.


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., is the government’s only institution for attaining master’s and doctoral degrees in the health sciences. USUHS provides career medical officers to the Army, Navy and Air Force, and offers advanced nursing education.

U.S. citizens with at least a bachelor’s degree may apply. There is no tuition for the medical school or graduate programs. Books and equipment, with the exception of a personal computer, are provided. At graduation, students receive a medical degree and a promotion to captain or lieutenant. They must serve seven years on active duty, not including time served while obtaining additional graduate medical education.

The university has a graduate program leading to advanced degrees in the health sciences, a graduate school of nursing and a program of continuing education for health professionals.



Air Force Senior NCO Academy at Gunter Annex, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., instructs two courses: the Air Force Senior NCO Academy Course and Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Course.

♦ The Senior NCO Academy Course prepares senior master sergeants, those selected for promotion to senior master sergeant, and other master sergeants of the Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard to lead the enlisted force in the employment of air, space and cyberspace power in direct support of national security objectives. U.S. joint services and international senior NCOs may attend on a space-available basis.

The 33-academic-day program provides education in military professionalism, operational manager, expeditionary leader, joint war fighter and senior communicator fields. Students attending the Air and Space Basic Course, or ASBC, and AFSNCOA merge for three days of combined operations with the goal of increasing understanding of the talents officers and enlisted bring in projecting air power.


♦ The Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Course is the capstone of enlisted professional military education for personnel selected for promotion to chief master sergeant. The course gives the Air Force’s newest chiefs foundational strategic-level leadership perspective deemed invaluable to the employment of air and space forces. The course consists of 64 academic hours spread over eight days covering the Developing CMSgt, the Expeditionary CMSgt and the CMSgt Leader/Manager.

Contact: 334-416-1651; DSN 596-1651

Air Force First Sergeant Academy at Gunter Annex, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., instructs two courses — the Air Force First Sergeant Academy Course and the Additional Duty first sergeant Seminar — with the mission to develop selected senior noncommissioned officers to serve as advisers to commanders on issues that affect airmen in accomplishing the Air Force mission.

The First Sergeant Academy prepares selected master sergeants within the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard to be first sergeants. Upon graduation, each master sergeant is awarded the special duty AFSC 8F000, First Sergeant, providing a dedicated focal point for all readiness, health, morale, quality of life and disciplinary issues within their organization of assignment.

The 15-academic-day program uses informal lecture, guided discussion and case studies. Guest speakers provide students with perspective on leadership and joint and deployed environments. Eight in-residence courses per year graduate about 500 first sergeants.

The five-academic-day Additional Duty First Sergeant Seminar is taught by academy instructors to senior noncommissioned officers who are performing the duties of the first sergeant but do not have the special duty AFSC 8F000. The seminar is held at Air Force installations around the world about 12 times per year, graduating about 1,400 senior noncommissioned officers.

Contact: 334-416-2900

Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, offers a nine-month resident course for full-time soldiers and a two-year nonresident program for reservists. Both are the capstone of NCO education in the Army. The academy also offers a three-week first sergeant course and a four-week battle staff NCO course, and is the proponent agency for the common-core content of the Warrior Leader, Basic NCO and Advanced NCO courses.


Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy in Petaluma, Calif., convenes classes 10 times a year — nine for active duty and one for reserves. Class size is limited to 72 students. The 33-day program is for newly advanced chief petty officers. Senior CPOs and master CPOs also are eligible.


Marine Corps Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy. Six campuses and several distance programs provide professional military education for enlisted Marines.

The three courses are the SNCO Advanced Course for gunnery sergeants, the SNCO Career Course for staff sergeants and the Sergeants Course. Each resident course requires the completion of a distance education program as a prerequisite.

The SNCO academies at Twentynine Palms, Calif., and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, host the resident Sergeants Course. The academies at Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Camp Hansen, Okinawa; and Quantico, Va., host the resident Sergeants, Career and Advanced courses. One-week seminars are held each year for first sergeants and master sergeants at Quantico, Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton, Camp Hansen and Kaneohe Bay.

The Marine Corps University’s Lejeune Leadership Institute annually conducts the Russell Leadership Symposium for Marines in various grades, based upon requirements established by the commandant of the Marine Corps and the president of Marine Corps University. The Marine Corps University Enlisted Professional Military Education Branch annually holds the two-week First Sergeants Course for newly selected first sergeants.


Navy Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, R.I., is a six-week resident course aligned with the Chief Petty Officer’s Mission, Vision, Guiding Principles and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education requirements. It offers concentrated studies in communications skills, leadership and organizational behaviors, national security and military operations, fitness and wellness, and sailor professional development.

The academy leverages the nearby Naval War College to deliver presentations and run a capstone, one-day competitive war game that integrates Senior Enlisted Academy content. The SEA’s nonresident course provides a similar, though limited, experience through distance learning coupled with a two-week, in-residence curriculum.

The program is open to active-duty and reserve Navy E-8s and E-9s. The academy also admits a limited number of Navy E-7s, as well as E-8s and E-9s from the other U.S. military services and international navies. The staff comprises senior enlisted leaders from all the services.



Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., prepares field-grade officers, their international counterparts and civilian equivalents for positions of higher responsibility within the military and other government agencies. ACSC encourages the development of higher-order thinking by challenging students to think critically and exercise a combination of analytical and practical tools required of leaders and commanders.

ACSC focuses on the development, employment and command of air, space and cyberspace power in joint, multinational and interagency operations.

ACSC offers three programs of study: a 10-month in-residence course, an online master’s degree, and a distance-learning correspondence program. ACSC annually educates more than 500 in-residence students and more than 11,000 via distance learning. Air University confers a master of military operational art and science degree to students who complete the 33-semester-hour resident and online programs.


Army Command and General Staff College at the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., is the Army’s primary institution for developing war-fighting skills in midcareer officers at brigade, division and corps command levels.

The resident 10-month Intermediate Level Education course consists of a common core phase and an advanced war-fighting and operations phase for officers of the line branches. Specialty officers receive common core training at satellite locations. Follow-on training for specialists may involve graduate school, training with industry and other tailored programs, depending on the functional area. Other components include the School of Advanced Military Studies, School of Command Preparation, Combat Studies Institute and Directorate of Nonresident Studies.


Army Management Staff College has a main campus at Fort Belvoir, Va. AMSC is leading the way in establishing the Civilian Education System, the leader-development component of the newly established Army Civilian Corps.

Key elements of the structured, progressive and sequential development system include a distributed learning foundation course for new employees, and basic, intermediate and advanced courses for employees as they change from direct to indirect leadership positions. Resident portions of the courses are conducted at Fort Belvoir and Fort Leavenworth, Kan.


Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Va., provides a 10-month intermediate course and an advanced intermediate course of professional military education to field-grade officers, offering them an optional master of military studies degree for completing several requirements beyond the core curriculum. Twenty percent of Marine officers attend the school.

The college is geared toward preparing officers for command and staff duties with Marine air-ground task forces and assignment with joint, combined and high-level service organizations. It has two resident schools: the Command and Staff College and the School of Advanced Warfighting. A limited number of credit hours from each can be transferred to other colleges and universities.


Marine Corps College of Continuing Education is the Corps’ primary organization for Advanced Distributed Learning designs, develops, delivers and manages distance-learning products and programs through a worldwide network of satellite campuses, learning resource centers and video teletraining centers. Regional coordinators at major installations facilitate local professional military education seminars for the Command and Staff College and the Expeditionary War School for nonresidential students.


MarineNet is an enterprise delivery network that allows active and reserve Marines and the civilian workforce to access professional military education classes, computer training and professional development and job aids online.

MarineNet offers courses such as Fundamentals of Marine Corps Leadership and the Marine Corps Planning Process, and other required training, such as the Operational Risk Management Course.

All personnel entered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, database are authorized to use MarineNet free. Marine family members can take hundreds of online professional and personal development courses in addition to the Lifestyles Insights Networking and Skills Course for Marine Spouses.

Many online courses are accepted for college credit or professional certification.


College of Naval Command and Staff at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., is a 10-month intermediate-level professional military education program meeting Navy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff requirements for Joint Professional Military Education Phase I, a prerequisite for assumption of commander-level command or its equivalent for naval officers. Attended by midgrade officers of all services and U.S. government civilian employees, the interdisciplinary graduate-level curriculum focuses on strategy and war, national security decision-making, and joint maritime operations.

Resident students begin in August, October or February, and graduates may earn a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies. They are joined by about 35 international officers. They are prepared to excel in command and operational-level staff billets on a numbered fleet, fleet, joint, interagency or multinational staff.



Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., is the Air Force’s senior professional military education school. The 10-month resident course for lieutenant colonels, colonels and civilian equivalents prepares students to lead in a joint, interagency and multinational environment at the strategic level across the range of military operations.

The course focuses on developing cross-domain mastery of joint air, space and cyberspace power and its strategic contributions to national security through graduate seminars, exercises, lectures, international field research and the Secretary of the Air Force’s National Security Forum.

About 240 students graduate each year from the resident program. On average, another 2,000 complete the program through distance learning each year.


Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., is the Army’s senior service college for colonels, lieutenant colonels and civilian leaders. It offers graduate-level education in a 10-month resident program and a two-year distance education program. Instruction focuses on strategic use of land power and its application in joint and combined operations. The college sponsors the Advanced and Strategic Arts Program and the National Security Policy Program.

Supporting institutions include the Center for Strategic Leadership, Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, Army Heritage & Education Center and Military History Institute.


Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Va., is a 10-month program providing Phase I (Senior Level) Joint Professional Military Education and offering students a master of strategic studies degree. Up to half of a student’s grade comes from participation in seminars and small-group discussions and debate. Admissions are based on a small number of allocations split among officers in paygrades O-5 and O-6 and federal civilian employees in the GS-15 and GS-16 grades.


National Defense University offers advanced national security studies. At Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., are the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the National War College, the Information Resources Management College, the Institute for National Strategic Studies, several regional centers and the university’s special academic programs. The Joint Forces Staff College is in Norfolk, Va.


Naval War College in Newport, R.I., is a 10-month professional military education resident program that meets both the Navy senior-level and the statutory requirements for JPME Phase II. The interdisciplinary graduate-level curriculum focuses on strategy and policy, national security decision-making and joint military operations.

Students are O-5 and O-6 military and U.S. government civilian employees, who begin in August, November or March. They are joined by almost 50 international officers. The course is designed to produce broadly educated leaders who possess a strategic perspective, underpinned by strategic analytical frameworks. Graduates apply disciplined, strategic-minded critical thinking to challenges in multiservice, multiagency and multinational environments, and they are prepared to be able strategic planners and joint war fighters who are effective maritime advocates. Graduates may earn a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies.


Navy College of Distance Education provides active-duty officers, reservists, eligible U.S. government civilian employees and a limited number of allied naval officers the opportunity to complete the Navy’s intermediate-level professional military education curriculum. Students may attend seminars at selected military bases throughout the U.S. via an evening Fleet Seminar Program, a Web-enabled program or a CD-ROM-based correspondence program. Completion times for these nonresident programs vary.


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