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Air University reorganizing command structure for Great Power Competition

  • Published
  • Air University Public Affairs

As the Air Force’s cognitive Air Task Force, Air University is upping its education game in direct response to Air Force senior leaders’ recent direction to the entire force to optimize its focus on Great Power Competition. 

The university’s next evolutionary step in developing the human weapon system includes streamlining the headquarters’ staff and consolidating in-resident officer professional military education in a single center.  The added command echelons will facilitate the execution of mission command by balancing span of control and mission complexity with a Commander’s level experience and degree to which they must drive change.

“We need to stay on the leading edge of delivering agile curriculum which is focused on developing warfighters who are airpower experts,” said Air University Commander and President Lt. Gen. Andrea Tullos. “While these adjustments are a necessary step, they are part of a broader effort to enable AU leaders to more effectively execute mission command through a new ‘system and playbook.’ Essentially, we need to develop Airmen who are brilliant at the basics and who can think their way through the most challenging airpower problems -- our faculty and instructor cadre are the keys to our success, so they will always be central to our development efforts.” 

The goals for the re-alignment are to reduce stovepipes, drive shared understanding of necessary mission outcomes by improving horizontal and vertical communication, and ensuring form follows function. 

The general said the university is on track to implement the first phase of the new command structure by October 2024.  On-going assessments of internal mission sets will inform the second phase, which will focus on refinements to the initial step and aligning training and education activities with the appropriate unit of action.  Air University expects to achieve full operational capability by October 2025. 

Substantial progress has been made over the past few years, posturing Air University well to meet the October 2024 timeline. 

Notably, AU has significantly overhauled curriculum at all levels of PME to focus on GPC. Courses focus on producing air-minded practitioners with in-depth understanding on integrated deterrence. The university’s educational wargames address specific problem sets expressed by Air Force and combatant commanders and are being exported to the operational force.
The Secretary of the Air Force memo explaining the Air Force’s need for re-optimization, a summary of recent key decisions, and a case for change for both the Air Force and Space Force can be found at