Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not Your Father's Air Force XV

Air University Awards First Doctorate Degree: Air University awarded its first doctorate degree Monday, seven years after the university began developing its doctoral degree program. Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, deputy director of public affairs at Headquarters Air Combat Command, at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., received his doctorate of philosophy in military strategy during a ceremony at Maxwell AFB, Ala. Sholtis said he had "the opportunity to think about what I do as a public affairs officer and why I do it, the larger picture of what national policy and civilian officials faced when discussing the US strategy in Afghanistan." Hank Dasinger, AU chief of academic affairs, said the doctoral program "reinforces the idea that we are a military school and a university," while allowing airmen to pursue their PhDs without "being away from your functional areas." Only one percent of a year group is admitted to the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies class, which makes them eligible for the doctorate program, said Bruce Murphy, vice president for academic affairs. "We need educated people at high levels, and this program keeps them current in their fields," said Murphy.
I'm not biased against higher education, per se, and I think graduate degrees for military professionals are good things... in areas like logistics, engineering, and even military history.  But I'm a lil bit nonplussed at "doctorate of philosophy in military strategy" and most especially how said philosophy and/or strategy relates to Public Affairs.  That seems a bit much.  Or mebbe I'm just thick; I was enlisted, after all, and was reminded quite often during my career that I wasn't paid to think.

While we're on about it...  There might have been professional public affairs officers back in my day but I'm betting those guys were only found at the Numbered Air Force level or above; most of the PAOs I knew were additional-duty types.  Hell, I was one myself at the squadron level, as a Master Sergeant.  And now we have professional spin-meisters with doctorates.  In the Air Force!


  1. You were in a "weird" part of the AF, Buck, and I'm not being disrespectful--it's just that most of your time was spent in "non-standard" (although "standard" for you guys, lol )non-flying detachments. The standard Fighter, bomber, transport, etc., flying units from Wing-level and certainly the numbered Air Force level ALL had a full-time PIO/PAO who was usually at least an O-3 and also a journalism/communications, etc., major in college.

  2. I keep forgetting I wasn't in the Real Air Force, Virgil. (Remember that? "Wait until you get into the REAL Air Force!" I never found it during my 22 years, actually.) I'm the first to admit I know little to nothing about the flying bid'niz, so I'll take you at your word.

  3. Buck/

    See you're up and about--I left a note about your hot water problem.

  4. Reminds me of a joke:
    We all know what BS is.
    MS is more of the same.
    So PhD must be piled higher and deeper.

    Just sayin'

  5. The pitch for SAASS was a good one. But they also called it the "book a day" club. LOTS of reading and the new PhD program was part of their pitch. When you graduate from SAASS, you're a PhD candidate with all complete but your thesis...or something very close to that. If it didn't require 2 straight years of school and wasn't in Alabama (DIL1 would kill me!), I would've considered it more...but I'd rather get back to the "real AF!"



  6. When Bo graduated with his Masters in economics, due to the economy, he made about the same as Jesse did with her Associates degree. Titles are such silly things, but society loves them.

  7. Most of the Services' War Colleges now award a Masters in Strategic Studies, or some such. Unfortunately, they started doing that well after Pepper's graduation. I think he got a nice certificate and a notch on the CV.

  8. Buck: Yeah the "Alabama" bit WOULD be a killer. But thanks for your input.

    Skip: I've used that ol' joke a lot in the past.

    Lou: I think I need a title.

    Moogie: I think you're right about the MA thang. But a notch is good, too. ;-)

  9. I have a BS in Education. I think that says it well.

  10. All but one of the intermediate level command and staff colleges award a masters as part of the school. Here at the CGSC, getting the MMAS (Master of Military Art and Science) is an additional program you have to enroll in...not automatic like the other three.

    All good though! I'm getting mine here and am very happy to be!


  11. Educating Zero's16 November, 2011 16:11

    I had to pull Alert duty one day. Mid-shift.

    Normally you also get an officer, but most officers say "I'll be asleep, wake me an hour before shift change".

    Said enlisted swines then man the scramble desk and take phone calls, phone patches, etc. Really not a two man job. So this one night I get this officer who sits down next to me and starts actually reading the regulations.

    One of my needs is food, so I always went to the inflight kitchen and got a BIG box of chicken and a gallon of coffee, and commenced to chew on one. The officer (1Lt) says "You know, it says here that you aren't supposed to eat food at the duty desk."

    Really, says I, "well that was written by a two-striper probably, and I out-rank him." The zero fidgets for awhile and then says "I think you should eat somewhere else." Yes sir, so I went to the game room and watched the alert crew play pool.

    About an hour later he comes running in and says all hell is breaking loose, and he needs me at the desk! Holy shit, OK, so I go to the desk and all the phone lines are blinking. WTF! I pick up the first one, and it's a B-52 that needs Norton weather pronto." Hell that took a second. Same with all the other lines. No big deal.

    I told the zero he best get the fuck away from my desk or I was going to kick his ass - poking him with a chicken leg for emphasis.

    He was a piss-poor navigator as well. Never did make it to a combat crew. Spent his whole career in IQT (Initial Qual) and they finally RIF'ed him.

    Anyway, I can't see educating these zero's too far. You can either push a button and drop a nuke, or not. I often think high school diplomas are a touch over-kill.

    For the non-military readers, zero = officer (O-1, O-2 pay grade, etc).

  12. CPO selection board results of 1988. 36 AMHCs selected. A buddy of mine was a recorder that year.....I was......number.......thirty seven. When I enquired as to what number 36 had over me.......a two year degree....I had time in service, time in grade, more sea time and had been in supervisory slots more....but he got it....
    And I had been on a deployment the year before where upon I ran the Best Intermediate Hydraulic-Pneumatic Work Center in US Pacific Fleet.......
    Dang College Boys!!!!!!!!!

  13. Lou: Heh.

    Buck: Interesting. The Army just HAS to be different, no?

    Zero's: Good story. Most of the O's I worked with and for were quite competent. But the exceptions made me weigh the pros and cons of an extended stay at Leavenworth.

    Glenn: The results of your board really suck. That's pretty damned depressing, actually.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.