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DAWN-ED program seeks advanced degree applicants for 2024 academic year

  • Published
  • By Dan Hawkins
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Every year, the Air Force selects about 600 Airmen and Guardians to earn master’s and doctoral degrees to enhance warfighting capabilities and increase our lethality. 

Advanced degree opportunities are advertised through MyVector, and the Developing the Airmen We Need/Education (DAWN-ED) program, which is DAF-funded and managed by Air Education and Training Command, is one such opportunity.

“Airmen and Guardians armed with this education provide advanced capabilities that both enhance units and shape the future force,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, HQ AETC DAWN-ED program manager. “Through the program, up to 15 Airmen, Guardians and cadets are competitively selected to earn advanced degrees in strategically important areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, autonomous systems, hypersonics, and machine learning from universities like Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, MIT, and others.”

DAWN-ED information will be available on MyPers starting in mid-April 2023, and the application window runs May 1 through 14 June 2023.  Submissions should be emailed to

Post program assignments help the Air Force tackle research areas that are vital to helping the service across priorities, including projects that tie directly to Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall’s operational imperatives, said Hansen.  He used the example of one former student, who studied autonomy/artificial intelligence while in the DAWN-ED program, who is now a subject matter expert at the Autonomous Collaborative Platform System Management Office collaborating and working with industry, AFRL, and others to advise and advocate for autonomy solutions.

AETC executes this process through the Air Force Education Requirements Board (AFERB).   The AFERB provides a mechanism for the Air Force and U.S. Space Force to develop Airmen and Guardians to meet future learning and mission needs, in part, through the use of graduate education (Grad Ed) and professional continuing education (PCE) courses. 

For more information or questions about these programs, contact the AETC/A3KR AFERB team at