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Colonel Tom Swaim

Department Head

Department of Military & Strategic Studies

Tom Swaim
Contact Information

(719) 333-3550



Colonel Thomas T. Swaim is the Head, Department of Military and Strategic Studies, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado. Commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Auburn University in 1992, Colonel Swaim has served in flying operations, joint command and control, military training and education, and staff positions throughout the United States, Europe, and the Pacific. His most recent overseas short tour was to the NATO Deployable Air Command and Control Center in Poggio Renatico, Italy, where he served as Deputy Director and Air Control Branch Chief for the Deployable Air Control System. Colonel Swaim currently leads an academic department of 27 military and civilian faculty, developing future Air Force air warrior-scholars.

Colonel Swaim holds a B.S. in Aviation Management from Auburn University, an M.S. in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, an M.S. in Military Operational Art and Science from Air University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. His research focuses in the fields of airpower education, teacher induction, military strategy, and the profession of arms.


Ph.D., Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (2013)

Master of Science, Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (2003)

Bachelor of Science, Aviation Management, Auburn University (1992)

Professional Experience

Department Head, Department of Military and Strategic Studies, U.S. Air Force Academy (2017-present)

Deputy Head, Department of Military and Strategic Studies, U.S. Air Force Academy (2016-2017)

Director, Center for Airpower Studies, U.S. Air Force Academy (2015-2016)

Chair, Airpower Innovation and Integration, U.S. Air Force Academy (2014-2015)

Deputy Director and Air Control Branch Chief, NATO Deployable Air Command and Control Center, Poggio Renatico AFB, Italy (2013-2014)

Student, AFIT-Ph.D., University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (2010-2013)

Instructor and Course Director, Military and Strategic Studies, U.S. Air Force Academy (2008-2010)

Assignment Officer for SECDEF/JCS/HAF/SAF rated assignments and Deputy Chief, USAF Rated Staff Assignments, Randolph AFB, Texas (2005-2008)

Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama (2004-2005)

USAF Weapons School Command and Control Operations Instructor, Assistant Operations Officer, Nellis AFB, Nevada (2001-2004)

AWACS Instructor Senior Director, Chief Squadron Weapons and Tactics, Chief Wing Weapons and Tactics C2 Branch, Elmendorf AFB, Arkansas (1997-2001)

AWACS Weapons Director, Instructor Weapons Director, Evaluator Weapons Director, Senior Director, Tactics Officer, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma (1993-1997)

Undergraduate Weapons Director Training, Tyndall AFB, Florida (1993)

Honors & Awards

Distinguished Graduate, AWACS Instructor Weapons Director Course Outstanding Academic Performance award, USAF Weapons School Distinguished Graduate, Squadron Officer School

Distinguished Graduate, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

Air Combat Command Instructor Senior Director of the Year

USAF Weapons School Outstanding Instructor

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal

Aerial Achievement Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

Air Force Organizational Excellence Award

Combat Readiness Medal

National Defense Service Medal

Southwest Asia Service Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal


Facilitating the Transition from Military Instructor to Academic Educator: Cognitive Apprenticeship in Teacher Induction at the United States Air Force Academy. The Qualitative Report Volume 22, Number 8, August 2017

Countering Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. A study to of the USAFA Technological Innovation Studies Program; submitted to the Chief Scientist of the Air Force, 2015.

The Effects of Same-Gender Teacher Assignment on Student Achievement in the Elementary and Secondary Grades: Evidence from panel Data. Economics of Education Review Vol 34, 2013

Review: The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II. Air and Space Power Journal Vol 27, No. 5. Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL. 2011