You'll be pushed to your limits.
And beyond.

The United States Air Force Academy doesn't just prepare you for a career. It prepares you to become a leader in the Air Force. From the moment new cadets walk across the Class of ‘59 Challenge Bridge, they begin the training that will mold them into officers of character.


Officer Development

At the United States Air Force Academy, our four-year Cadet Military Education and Training Plan (CMETP) requires cadets of each class to take prescribed classes during commandant’s time.  The program prepares cadets to apply their knowledge and experience in an operational military environment using the Officer Development System (ODS) as the foundation. The CMETP carefully integrates the ODS, cadet roles and responsibilities with other Academy experiences to equip cadets with the attitude, knowledge and leadership skills necessary to excel as Air Force officers.

The CMETP follows a developmental approach throughout the duration of a cadet’s tenure at the Academy and consists of four distinct Commissioning Education (CE) courses based on cadet year groups (classes). Course content addresses four core areas:

  • Profession of arms
  • Leadership studies
  • Military studies
  • Communication studies 

CE is comprised of guided discussions and lectures, experiential learning exercises, discussions on selected key topics, written assignments, self-study materials and and graded military certification examinations for each class.

Fourth-Class Year

The fourth-class CE provides you with an initial foundation of the Officer Development System (ODS) and focuses on developing foundational Air Force knowledge. You will learn about military structure, AF core competencies, distinctive capabilities, the enlisted force, sister services, and employment of forces. When you’ve completed the fourth-class year, you’ll have a solid overview of how the military is set up and your role within it.

Third-Class Summer

Going through Exeditionary, Survival and Evasion Training (ESET) as a third-class cadet, you will find out what it takes to operate in austere environments supporting the Air Force mission. From contingency experienced officers and enlisted personnel, you will acquire expeditionary and battlefield Airman skills such as modular tent setup, contingency utilities, passive defense, force protection, security force individual and team movement, survival skills, how to evade the enemy and much more. We’ll explain concepts and you will receive personal experience as part of an Air Expeditionary Force deployment, employment and redeployment. Some of the most exciting experiences of the third-class summer involve Airmanship and flying opportunities.

Third-Class Year

The third class CE concentrates on the transition from a follower to a leader. As a third-class cadet, your main goal is to become an effective military role model or coach for the fourth-class cadets as you learn and apply effective teaching, training and ultimately mentoring skill.  The third-class cadet program prepares you for increased levels of responsibility, helps you internalize standards essential for success (both at the Academy and in the operational Air Force), and equips you with training and skills required of leaders. You’ll receive extensive experience using the Academy Training Philosophy to include establishing expectations, providing skills, exchanging feedback, and ensuring the professional growth of your subordinates. You will also learn more about the Profession of Arms and the basics of military communication. This knowledge will play a role as you become coaches for the four-degrees.

Second-Class Summer

During your third summer at the Academy, you’ll apply your leadership skills and increase your knowledge of the rest of the operational Air Force. You’ll practice leadership principles while serving as cadre members in BCT, ESET, or as instructors in parachuting, soaring or navigation.  You’ll have the chance to practice your leadership style while directly contributing to the professional growth of other cadets. You will visit and interact with members of an operational unit during Operation Air Force, a three-week program during which you’ll experience firsthand the mission and lifestyle of Air Force Airmen, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and company grade officers. Cadets are sent all over the world to operational Air Force bases. Operation Air Force is one of the most rewarding experiences cadets receive during their four-year education.

Second-Class Year

The second-class CE will prepare you for your responsibilities as the primary trainers of third-and fourth-class cadets. You’ll receive instruction in practical leadership and supervisory skills as you serve in senior NCO positions within your squadron chain of command.  You will be a technical expert in drill and ceremonies, personal appearance and room inspections, and you will train the third- and fourth-class cadets. In addition, you’ll look at applying leadership principles in larger teams, learn about officer authority and responsibility, and continue to hone supervisory skills such as mentoring, feedback and correction. You will be provided with time for practical application to reinforce those skills.

First-Class Summer

As first-class cadets, you and your classmates will take the reins of command as the cadet wing leadership. The positions of responsibility you will hold and your leadership skills will contribute to the success of the Academy’s military training programs during your final summer at the Academy. BCT, ESET, aviation and airmanship programs will all rely upon you for meaningful training and learning.  This is your chance to put the finishing touches on your leadership style and skills as you prepare to be commissioned a second lieutenant.

First-Class Year

As a first-class cadet, you’ll serve as a cadet officer in leadership positions throughout the cadet wing. You’ll practice your leadership skills by leading and supervising the professional development of the lower three cadet classes.  Your leadership experiences will be invaluable when assuming the responsibilities of a second lieutenant. The first-class CE is designed to prepare you for commissioning as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Thus, you’ll learn basic, “need-to-know” information for prospective officers.


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