Mobility Graduate Course celebrates 10th year
Posted: 10/03/2005 by AFIT Public Affairs
FORT DIX, N.J. (AMCNS) -- While many Airmen celebrated the nation’s July 4th birthday with a barbecue and watching fireworks, 16 officers spent the holiday weekend toasting their June 27 graduation from the Advanced Studies in Air Mobility program at the Air Mobility Warfare Center at Fort Dix, N.J. The class brought the alumni of mobility experts envisioned by now retired Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman more than a decade ago to 157.
General Fogelman, while serving as commander of U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command during the 1990s, recognized the need for an educational program to bridge the tanker and airlift missions, and mold the future Air Force leaders with a thorough knowledge of air mobility. From his vision, the ASAM program was born, with its first class of 10 students in September 1995.
"Air Mobility became the centerpiece of the National Security Strategy in the immediate post-Cold War period in American history,” General Fogleman said in a recent interview. “It remains so today, and will grow in importance as the Global Posture Initiative is implemented and we bring another 70,000 troops home to the continental United States and continue to fight the Global War on Terror.
“Airlift and tanker forces, enabled by the enroute and AMC reception ground elements, give this nation a unique capability to project power, influence friends and potential adversaries, and provide humanitarian relief. Few people understand the complexity of this mission.”
The general went on to say that ASAM was founded to produce future leaders for this critical national capability.
“I am proud of what the school has done in the first 10 years of its existence, but its full impact is just now beginning to be felt as those early graduates move into senior leadership positions," he said.
Another pioneer of the ASAM course and later a member of the second graduating class was Col. Keith Moncrief, now commander of the 730th Air Mobility Squadron, one of AMC's major en route squadrons located at Yokota Air Base, Japan. After serving as a tactician on the Warfare Center’s initial cadre, he was then appointed to be the point of contact for what was originally the "Path Finder, Masters of Mobility Program" in September 1994.
“Air Force Institute of Technology professors and I sat down to draft what later became the ASAM curriculum,” Colonel Moncrief said. “We proposed it to then Brig. Gen. [William] Begert, the first AMWC commander. He proposed it to Gen. Fogleman, and the rest is history.”
The ASAM program is now a 13-month in-residence program offering a graduate degree and intermediate developmental education credit. Students study five core courses in addition to 14 Air Force Institute of Technology courses. The students also link up with a senior leader sponsor and must complete a graduate research project on a topic of interest.
“I don’t think there is another IDE program out there that gives you that kind of up close and personal look at what people and organizations are doing day to day, said Maj. Thomas Falzarano, the speechwriter for the Air Force Space Command commander and a 2004 ASAM graduate.
Major Falzarano’s reference to IDE is one perk ASAM grads add to their record and experience. In 2004, the Air Force Personnel Center granted IDE credit in addition to the graduate degree from the AFIT. The purpose of IDE is to enhance the professional military competence of Air Force officers through an education program designed to broaden perspectives, increase knowledge and prepare them to assume higher levels of command, staff duties and responsibilities.
Another perk of the program is the travel around the continental United States to various commands, civilian companies and to both the Pacific and European theaters, where students meet leaders in air mobility and several combatant commanders.
“We got a chance to see how transportation in general affects the combatant commanders,” said Maj. Jeanette Voigt, a 2005 graduate and recipient of the AFIT Military Operations Research Society Award for her thesis, which was judged to demonstrate the best theory development to a military problem. “And it affects them in different ways.”
“My current position is within the J-3,” said Maj. Ken Kopp, air operations officer for European Command’s Plans and Operations Center, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, and a 2004 graduate, "so I don't deal much with logistics and mobility, but the most useful knowledge I gained through ASAM was as a result of the numerous site visits. [They] helped provide a big-picture view of issues faced by the various [combatant commands] and Department of Defense agencies.
“I was especially impressed and appreciative of the high level of support we enjoyed and the senior leader emphasis given to the group,” said Maj. Kyle Voigt, a 2005 graduate of the program. “At every stop, we had not one, but five or more hour long sessions with major senior leaders ranging from the AMC commander, Gen. (John) Handy, to the 18th AF commander, Lt. Gen. (William) Welser (III) to the Maj. Gen. (Richard) Mentemeyer at U.S. Southern Command – an amazing emphasis coming from the top rung of the ladder – on every trip.”
Major Jean Voigt said, “You’re not just interacting with 15 other people in your class but getting out to hear what the leadership is thinking about.”
Colonel Moncrief, a former KC-135 navigator turned logistics readiness officer, stated that he has been able to use the knowledge he gleaned from ASAM in most every assignment following graduation.
“My first posting after ASAM was as the U.S. Forces Korea force planner at Yongsan Army Installation, Republic of Korea,” he said. “Everything I learned in the course was in full play.”
Colonel Moncrief went on to command a Tanker Airlift Control Element squadron and the 60th Aerial Port Squadron at Travis AFB, Calif., before becoming the deputy group commander for the Pacific en routes.
“Though mostly administrative, that job was a chance to see the Pacific Command area of responsibility spanning air logistics at work, something we spent a good portion of ASAM studying,” said the veteran graduate. “The bottom line is, if I had not been exposed to the transportation and logistics education of the ASAM program, I wouldn't be as in touch with AMC operations as I am today!”
Army Capt. Cristian Simon is a transportation officer serving as a deputy director of logistics in the U.S. Army Central Command area of responsibility. He graduated from the ASAM program in 2004 and shared his thoughts on what the program taught him coming from a sister service background.
“The incredible importance that tankers play in everything the Department of Defense does was very striking to me,” Captain Simon said. “To say this reveals the original depth of my ignorance, or more pointedly, the fact that I was focused on the 'near-fight' in my doctrinal upbringing. Suddenly, I was shown a world where what happens in Illinois profoundly affects the things moving, effectively, anywhere. It was the equivalent of going from being ‘county’ or ‘state’-specific to being truly global.”
Applying his knowledge since graduation has both helped Capt. Simon’s confidence in working with numbers and advising senior commanders.
To be selected for the ASAM program, prospective candidates should indicate their ASAM preference on AF Form 3849. Selection is through the Intermediate Developmental Education Central Designation Board process. For more information on the selection process and eligibility criteria, refer to the Headquarter AFPC Officer Professional Military Education Branch Web site at www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/pme.
By Lt. Col. Christie L.S. Dragan
Air Mobility Warfare Center Public Affairs