The School of Systems and Logistics traces its history to courses conducted by Air Materiel Command, a forerunner of Air Force Materiel Command, in the early 1950s. In 1954 the Air Materiel Command commander contacted Air University about creating a formal logistics course. Air University authorized AFIT to create the Logistics Education Research Project (LERP), which included the Advanced Logistics Course (ALC) and operationally-focused research on Air Force logistics issues. The Ohio State University was contracted to develop and teach the ALC and to guide the research projects. The first ALC and corresponding research projects began in fall of 1955 and lasted six months.
The value of LERP/ALC was immediately seen, and the LERP/ALC was expanded to nine months. In fall 1958 AFIT added Professional Continuing Education (PCE) courses to the LERP/ALC and created the School of Logistics. The PCE courses were designed to improve current and long term effectiveness of the professional skills and competence of AF logisticians.
The LERP/ALC was expanded again to 12 months in 1961. In early 1962 the School of Logistics was selected to develop and present “procurement” courses for all procurement personnel of the military services and the various DoD agencies. The 12-month curriculum of the ALC was accredited in 1962 by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and AFIT was authorized to award a Master of Science degree in Logistics.
This accreditation and the addition of the procurement courses prompted Air University to redesignate the School of Logistics to the School of Systems and Logistics effective 1 Feb 1963.
The School of Systems and Logistics awarded Master of Science degrees from June of 1963 through June of 1991. In September of 1991 the Graduate Degree portion was separated from the PCE portion as an independent school, the School of Logistics and Acquisition. All told, the School of Systems and Logistics awarded over 3,600 MS degrees in 29 years.
PCE courses can be in residence at AFIT, on-site at locations throughout the world, or, since the late 1970s, through a variety of distance learning modes. Since 1958 students have completed over 550,000 PCE courses through the school, with courses lasting from as little as one hour via web-based methods to 13 weeks via resident education. Many of the PCE graduates completed seminars or workshops instead of formal Air Force courses. The School continues to offer resident and on-site courses, focused workshops, and seminars today, in addition to offering consulting services to DoD.