Cover: Officer Accession Planning

Officer Accession Planning

A Manual for Estimating Air Force Officer Degree Requirements

Published Aug 1, 2016

by Lindsay Daugherty, Laura Werber, Kristy N. Kamarck, Lisa M. Harrington, James Gazis

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The U.S. Air Force sets varying requirements for education to ensure that officer career fields are staffed with individuals that can carry out the required activities to meet mission needs, and many of these educational requirements call for individuals with undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. RAND research suggests that in some fields, there are substantial gaps between the desired and actual numbers of officers with STEM degrees, and these gaps can lead to issues of reduced capability and a need to pull STEM-degreed officers from other career fields. In addition, it seems that these degree requirements developed through a variety of methods that are not always evidence based, suggesting that a more data-driven approach to developing these requirements is needed. This manual describes the process developed by RAND researchers to estimate STEM degree needs for USAF career fields. Specifically, RAND developed an approach and documented the approach in a draft manual, implemented the draft manual through technical assistance with five career fields in 2013 and 2014, and refined the manual based on the implementation experience. Given the approach was intended to ultimately be used by CFMs and their staff without RAND's involvement, RAND sought to create an approach that provided rigor yet was feasible given the resources available to CFMs. A companion report that summarizes this approach, among other efforts and issues related to accession planning, was released by RAND in June 2016.

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This research was conducted within the Manpower and Training Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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