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NEWS | Jan. 10, 2024

Air University launches Space Force track at SOS

By Billy Blankenship Air University Public Affairs

Air University now offers a Space Force-focused track at Squadron Officer School to address the primary level education needs of Guardians and total force Airmen in space-focused career fields.

Known as the Spacepower Education and Advanced Readiness Track, the program is designed to provide Space Force officers their own specialized training, education and doctrine to develop space-minded leaders prepared to lead at the tactical level.

“At this level in their careers, most captains have been solely focused on getting good at their very specific niche task, be that engineering, cyber, intel or other function,” said Space Force Maj. Joseph Calidonna, Space Force’s academic program manager at SOS. “Most captains have not yet been made to truly think about how their specific jobs and actions fit into the larger space enterprise or how their spacepower discipline integrates with the other disciplines. The SPEAR track is the first step among many in their journey as officers to understanding how the Space Force delivers independent options to a joint force commander. SOS has provided us with a great opportunity to get our Guardians to start that journey.”

While curriculum follows similar basic outlines as the Air Force-specific SOS course, specialized consideration for space went into the development and adaptation to best form the upcoming Space Force leaders. To do so, SOS faculty utilized resources from around Air University, Space Delta 13 and Space Training and Readiness Command to quickly launch the course.

The SPEAR track, which is currently in its fourth course iteration, changed from a three-class elective in October 2022 to a full five-week track of SOS by February 2023. To date, 154 Guardians and total force Airmen have gone through the course as part of the updated experience, and Space Force captains will take part in a custom-built wargame called “Project Olympus.”

The exercise focuses on integrating spacepower concepts by reading the National Security Strategy and other important space policies, performing mission analysis and course-of-action development on an exercise operations order and playing a low-fidelity tabletop game that prompts students to discuss how they plan to solve a series of injects with limited resources.

The SPEAR track further includes a lesson on sleep hygiene and an additional lesson developed by the Space Force on psychological safety as part of their human performance curriculum with the goal of expanding the program to additional areas of the “Guardian Ideal.”

“The SOS team developed the SPEAR Track in a short time, which is nothing short of amazing,” Calidonna said. “We integrated pre-decisional doctrine, organizational constructs like the component field command that were published while we developed the program and the Space Force’s foundational warfighting competencies directly into the program. We did this in preparation for Delta 13 to take ownership of captains’ professional military education in fiscal year 2025.”