Air Force, Navy team on education

The Air Force and Navy signed an agreement Dec. 19 to form an alliance between the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, Calif.

The alliance is designed to provide aviators and sailors with an education that is more aligned with defense needs. It also merges duplicative curricula. The alliance was prompted by a joint study chartered by Air Force Secretary James Roche and Navy Secretary Gordon England to review each of their service's graduate educational processes.

"This is a tremendous effort to maximize the strengths of both AFIT and NPS and form solid alliances for a truly joint environment," England said in a statement.

Under the agreement, NPS will be the lead institution for meteorology and acquisition management. AFIT will offer an aeronautical engineering curriculum for both services.

Air Force and Navy officers will be given priority at the other's institution if there are no openings in a particular area of study at their service's school. This is designed to reduce the number of aviators and sailors that are sent to civilian universities to complete their advanced degrees.

Additionally, an Air Force colonel will remain as the deputy superintendent and chief of staff of the NPS and a Navy captain as the vice commandant and director of staff at AFIT.

"By working together, we hope to minimize redundancy at each institution while still providing a world-class education in which officers from all services can engage in education and research programs in a joint environment," Roche said in a statement.

Both services will establish joint boards to ensure the educational requirements of each service are met and to provide joint oversight.

The chair of the aeronautical engineering board will be a Navy flag officer while an Air Force general officer will chair the meteorology and acquisition boards.

Peter Teets, undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), will be the initial chair of the space board until a flag or general officer can be selected from within the NRO.

Each board will provide a periodic report to the board of visitors from Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the board of advisors from the NPS.

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