Cover: Evaluating Cadet Leadership Positions at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Evaluating Cadet Leadership Positions at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Published Nov 12, 2012

by Jeremy Didier

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The U.S. Air Force relies on effective leadership to complete its mission. The U.S. Air Force Academy exists to develop leaders of character for the Air Force through a four-year program. Part of this program involves cadets participating in leadership positions. By exploring nine types of cadet leadership positions, this dissertation aims to assist the Academy in assessing the value of admission criteria, awarding leadership positions, and designing leadership position experiences. Informing decisions in these areas is likely to improve the Academy's ability to develop effective leaders for the Air Force.

This dissertation provides evidence of a positive relationship between participation in a cadet line position and promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. This positive relationship existed for individuals in both rated and non-rated career fields. The magnitude of the relationship varied significantly according to other individual characteristics such as military performance average and grade point average. Participation rates for line positions varied according to demographics such as race, gender, and prep school attendance. Most admission information related to leadership was positively associated with participation in a line leadership position at the Academy.

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in September 2012 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Larry Hanser (Chair), Chaitra Hardison, and Dave Sacko.

This publication is part of the RAND dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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