DFPS Mission Statement: Our vision is to develop and inspire officers of character who are critical thinkers, empowered with an understanding and appreciation of the American political system, national security policy-making process, and the international environment.
As a department, our guiding principles include:
- Teaching excellence
- Promoting independent thinking
- Integrating a professionally relevant curriculum, and
- Cultivating a community of military scholars
A legacy of excellence and professional development …
Established as a separate department in 1957, the Department of Political Science has been an integral part of the Academy’s core curriculum since its inception, including courses on American and comparative government, international relations, and American defense policy. In that same year, the Academy began to offer academic majors – the first military academy to do so – including “Public Affairs” through the Department of Political Science.
Since then, many of the very best and most successful cadets have majored in Public Affairs, then International Affairs, then Political Science. Many of the very best and most successful officers in the Air Force have moved through the Department’s faculty. Alumni from the Department – both graduates and faculty members – have gone on to be Rhodes Scholars; White House Fellows; Member of Congress; National Security Advisor to the President; commanders of combatant commands; Ambassadors; Special Assistants to the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and other senior civilian and military leaders; university presidents; business leaders; and a host of other senior positions throughout the Air Force, Department of Defense, U.S. Government, and in the private sector.
At the heart of the Department’s educational outcomes is the recognition that the military instrument is inextricably linked to the broader political context in which national policy is made, and that the military profession must be grounded in the constitutional foundations that make the military accountable to our civilian leadership and those civilian leaders accountable to a free society.
The Brent Scowcroft Professorship in National Security Studies
Lieutenant General (USAF, retired) Brent Scowcroft served as the National Security Advisor to both Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H. W. Bush and has played—in both his military and civilian life—a significant role in shaping our Nation’s defense policy for over four decades. His distinguished military career includes service as Head of the USAF Academy’s Department of Political Science, where he emphasized the importance of intellectual achievement and an appreciation for the broader political and constitutional context in which the profession of arms exists. The establishment of a professorship named in honor of General Scowcroft commemorates his distinguished service to his country, both in and out of uniform, and provides a continuing reminder of the professionalism, integrity, and critical intellect that marked that service—ideals that we seek to infuse in our cadets as vital to their 21st century careers.
The Scowcroft Professorship is resident within the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies in the Department of Political Science (DFPS). The position is filled by a scholar of national reputation, combining academic achievement with experience in government. The Scowcroft Professorship further positions the USAF Academy as the leading undergraduate institution in the country in the study of national security, defense, and space policy.
Col Cheryl A. Kearney
Dr. Paul J. Bolt
Deputy Department Head
HQ USAFA /DFPS
2354 Fairchild Drive, Suite 6L116
USAF Academy CO 80840