All cadets complete mandatory courses referred to as the core curriculum. All core courses contribute to a professional nucleus for future officer development and form a broad critical and analytical foundation upon which all academic majors are built.
The MSS core courses provide the cornerstone and capstone for an officer’s strategic thinking. These courses impart and develop professional knowledge as well as build skills in strategic thought and theoretical analysis. They reinforce the direction set in key USAF institutional documents such as Secretary of the Air Force Letters to Airmen and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Vectors. To meet USAF requirements and provide cadets operational relevance and intellectual rigor, we compare, update, and coordinate the MSS core with other academic departments for content integration. Additionally, we continually collaborate with professional military educational programs including US war and staff colleges, the USAF School for Advanced Air and Space Studies, USAF battle laboratories, appropriate civilian undergraduate and graduate programs and selected foreign military curricula. The MSS curriculum builds knowledge of classic military theory prompting critical study of contemporary strategy and doctrine, ensuring cadets graduate with a strong foundation for continued professional education and development. The MSS curriculum employs group dynamics and a learning-focused classroom model combining experience, training, and education processes to motivate cadets and explore key concepts. Cadets learn through classroom interaction, debate, case study and application to prepare for entry into
the military profession.
- MSS 200 Air, Space and Cyberspace Power
This course provides cadets the professional military cornerstone for development as an Air Force officer through independent, critical military thinking. Drawing on a wide range of relevant military thought, cadets scrutinize theories of warfare and approaches to strategy, adaptively formulating and applying concepts in contemporary and notional contexts. This course seeks to develop Air Force leaders who can form creative solutions to complex problems. Final exam. Prereq: None. Sem hrs: 3 fall or spring.
Upon completion, cadets should be able to:
1. Appraise the value and limitations of military theory.
2. Appraise the value and limitations of military strategy.
- Examine the evolution of classic and contemporary military theories
- Apply the concepts to contemporary conflicts
3. Value the characteristics and relevance of good officership.
- Examine the relationship between war and politics.
- Examine the concept of grand strategy.
- Examine the challenges of creating and executing military strategy (reconciling ends, ways, and means)
- Apply knowledge in scenarios based on current strategic issues
- Embrace the concept of becoming a "strategic lieutenant" with the ability to think big picture
- Embrace the "Warrior Ethos" prepared to risk ones life to defend the nation
- Comprehend the concept of "Service to the Nation".
- Develop loyalty to ideals of the Constitution, the Oath of Office, and the Air Force Officers Commission
- MSS 415, Contemporary Joint Operations: Strategy in Regional Contexts or
MSS 416, Contemporary Joint Operations: Strategy and Technology
First-class cadets (seniors) choose one of these seminars. MSS 415 focuses on strategic military assumptions, processes, and interactions across and within regions of interest to the U.S. military. MSS 416 focuses on strategic military assumptions, processes, and interactions across and within U.S. military operational domains, including emerging strategic technologies. In both courses, cadets apply the capabilities of all U.S. military services across domains, illustrating strategy, doctrine, technology, and service culture within diverse threat contexts. Emphasis is on teamwork. These are primary contributors to developing and assessing these USAFA Outcomes: Teamwork, National Security & Full Spectrum of Coalition Warfare, Service to the Nation.
Upon completion, cadets should be able to:
- For MSS 415:
- Analyze and assess the evolving capabilities and contributions of US and coalition forces to a Joint or Coalition Force Commander. (Block I)
- Analyze the threat in a given region/Combatant Command and assess potential joint and coalition responses. (Blocks II-V)
- Comprehend, analyze, and evaluate the role and importance of cultural, structural, functional, institutional and technological factors influencing US strategy in a particular region in relation to a particular issue. (Blocks II-V)
- Synthesize the inherent capabilities of US military power alongside the constraints associated with applying those capabilities to the issues discussed; then evaluate the efficacy of the military instrument of power in comparison with using non-military instruments to the issues discussed. (Blocks I-V)
For MSS 416:
- Analyze and assess the evolving capabilities and contributions of U.S. and coalition forces to a Joint or Coalition Force Commander
- Evaluate the attitudes and culture of various nations and groups regarding technology and its use in warfare.
- Comprehend and analyze the role and importance of the various cultural, structural, functional, institutional, and technological factors influencing military strategic-technological change.
- Conceptualize military strategic-technologic reform and innovation processes within a framework of theory and experience.