United States Air Force Academy

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Military Education

At the United States Air Force Academy, military education plays a critical role in preparing cadets to become leaders in the Cadet Wing and later, in the Air Force. Cadets take courses in military strategy, doctrine, heritage and professionalism, while also learning about the communication skills and responsibilities required of an officer.


Cadet commanders at the wing, group and squadron level, as well as athletic team captains, take part in this leadership forum conducted by the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership with support from the Cadet Wing and various academic departments. The Cadet Leadership Enrichment Seminar (CLES) provides cadet commanders and team captains with the knowledge and skills to improve operational efficiency within their units and teams, further developing their leadership abilities and enhancing the effectiveness of the Cadet Wing.

CLES prepares over 200 senior cadets per year to succeed in their tenures as leaders at the Academy, but also to think beyond those roles. Seminars take place both before and during your designated semester(s), as we want you to understand that success is derived from not only what you accomplish during your time as a leader, but that the situation you inherit and the situation you pass on are also key to the ongoing success of the Cadet Wing. Who are you as a leader? What do you need to do to achieve excellence? Have you set the stage for the future achievements of the Cadet Wing and your successors? These are all questions that participating cadets will be challenged to consider, with the ultimate goal that these lessons impact your perspective on leadership and being a leader in both formal and informal roles at the Academy, and as an officer in the Air Force.


Each fall, cadets return to the same training complex they first conquered during Basic Cadet Training (BCT) to take part in the Commandant’s Challenge. The event tests cadet teamwork skills and training to ensure they have the discipline, physical and mental endurance, commitment and knowledge required of the Cadet Wing and the Air Force. Areas of evaluation include:

  • Teamwork
  • Physical development and aptitude
  • Leadership of each cadet class
  • Timed accomplishment of objectives

Points are earned or lost by meeting, or failing to meet, time limits in events and by being skillful and efficient in designated tasks. The Commandant’s Challenge gives cadets an opportunity to practice leadership skills while building and training their teams to succeed.