Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is one of the three commissioning sources for officers in the United States Air Force, the other two being the Air Force Academy and Officer Training School. It is the largest and oldest source of commissioned officers for the Air Force. AFROTC's mission is to produce quality leaders for the Air Force. AFROTC is located on 144 college and university campuses with 984 additional schools participating in cross-town agreements that allow their students to attend AFROTC classes a nearby host school. According to AFOATS HQ, in 2006, AFROTC commissioned 2,083 Second Lieutenants, with AFROTC enrollment ranging from 23,605 in 1985 to 10,231 in 1993, and around 13,000 enrolled today.
AFROTC units are called "detachments." Within the detachments the students are organized into wings, groups, squadrons, and flights, mirroring the active-duty wing structure. Furthermore, the cadet wing is separated into two divisions: General Military Course (GMC) consisting of the first two-years of training and the Professional Officer Course (POC) consisting of the last two-years of training.
Detachments that utilize the entire FTP year for FTM (Field Training Manual) study make it easier for the cadets to assimilate the entirety of the information required of them at Field Training. The first semester is dedicated to learning the entire FTM and recitation of the information on-command. Training in the FTP year is a form of training called inoculation, which is designed to accommodate cadets to performing tasks under duress. This is accomplished by applying pressure, both psychologically and physically, and introducing the cadets to intentionally stressful situations in order to prepare them for the Field Training environment.
There is also a program which allows students who only have three years left of college to complete the program by compressing the AS 100 and AS 200 year into a single year. These cadets are know as AS 250's. There is also the STAR program which allows students to take only two years of the program, one as an AS 250 the other as a mix of AS 300/AS 400. They attend a 5-Week Field Training session (one week of purely Academics) rather than the normal 4-Week camp.
GMC cadets have set ranks. All AS 100's are C/4C (Cadet Fourth Class). All AS 200's are C/3C (Cadet Third Class). Some detachments assign leadership positions to GMC cadets that would normally be held by POC cadets. This will depend on the detachment's size and needs, the GMC cadet's ability, and the Commandant of Cadets' discretion.
In some cases, students with academic requirements that exceed four years (usually engineers and other technical majors) are in the program for an extra year. During the fifth year these cadets (AS700s) are only minimally required to participate in Lead Lab and maintain retention standards. Otherwise, these cadets have completed their AFROTC requirements. It is important to note that this is not the case for schools with co-op programs that entail a total of four years of classes and one year of cooperative experience. In these cases the cadets are classified as AS300's their first POC year and AS400's their second and third POC years. The cadets will not attend aerospace classes, Physical Training, or Leadership Lab during their co-op blocks (they will be on Periods of Non-Attendance) and otherwise complete the program like any four-year major.
POC cadets hold cadet officer ranks in line with their active-duty Air Force counterparts (C/2d Lt through C/Col). Typically, POC ranks may be based on the job they hold in the cadet wing or assigned through a promotion system (or both). The Cadet Wing Commander carries the rank of C/Col. Cadets returning from Field Training may not hold a rank above C/Capt until at least 1 semester since completing Field Training. Jobs which require more responsibility generally are assigned higher ranks (group commanders are often C/Lt Col's). Unlike the Air Force Academy, for juniors and seniors there is no rank of cadet second class or cadet first class.
AS100: Honor Code: We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Air Force Values: Integrity First, Service before Self, Excellence in All We Do. Mission of the United States Air Force: The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly fight and win, in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.
AS200: Major Commands (MAJCOMs): Air Combat Command (ACC), Air Education and Training Command (AETC), Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), Air Force Space Command (AFSC), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Mobility Command (AMC), Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), United State Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)
AS300: 3 Levels of Warfare: Strategic, Operational, Tactical. Air Force Core Competencies: Developing Airmen, Technology-to-Warfighting, Integrating Operations
AS400: Principles of War: Objective, Offensive, Mass, Economy of Force, Maneuver, Unity of Command, Security, Surprise, Simplicity Tenets of Air Power: Centralized Control and Decentralized Execution, Flexibility and Versatility, Priority, Synergy, Balance, Concentration, Persistence (Reference AFROTCI 36-2017)
Physical Fitness Assessments (PFA) are conducted at least once per semester. To pass LLAB, a cadet must attempt a PFA. The PFA consists of an abdominal circumference measurement, height and weight measurements (to determine Body Mass Index), and three exercises: push-ups, crunches, and a 1.5 mile run, all of which are scored on a sliding scale. Like Air Force members, cadets have one minute to complete their push-ups and crunches, then move onto the 1.5 mile run. There is a three-minute rest period between each event. Beginning 1 January 2008, the previous minimums for sit-ups, crunches and run times have been eliminated, to coincide with the active duty Air Force requirements. These requirements are specified in AFI 10-248, "Fitness Program".
The Body Mass Index measurements must meet a minimum of 19, and maximm of 27.5, in accordance with DoD standards. Any cadet measured below 19 BMI must see a medical provider to determine if it is safe to work out. A cadet with a BMI above 27.5 is considered overweight and then must have a body fat measurement performed. If a cadet is determined to be over body fat, they may be removed from uniform and have their scholarship suspended (if on scholarship) until they are within standards. If BMI is measured below 25, a cadet receives an automatic 30 points on the Abdominal Circumference (AC) portion of their PFA; if their BMI is 25 or above, the cadet receives a AC score based on the charts of AFI 10-248, Attachment 12.
Some detachments hold an FTP (Field Training Preparation) semester to get cadets ready for Field Training. During FTP semester, cadets are subject to PT sessions that entail much greater levels of intensity. These workouts are often given more frequently, and increased attendance is required.
Field Training is split up into three sections: In-Garrison (11 days), Blue Thunder (6 days), and Joint Forces Training Center (JFTC, at Camp Shelby) (6 days) focusing on academics/D&C, expeditionary skills training (EST), and deployment, respectively.
Field Training is headed by a colonel and a staff of approximately 55 active duty officers, non-commissioned officers, and cadet training assistants (CTA). 14 consist of the senior staff, 18 are Flight Training Officers (FTO, active duty officers typically assigned to an AFROTC Detachment), and 23 CTAs. "CTAs are POC cadets selected, based on their FT performance and overall cadet record, to return to Field Training as assistants to active duty staff members." There is one FTO and one Flight CTA assigned to each flight. Traditional CTAs include Group, Drill & Ceremonies, Physical Training, Public Affairs, and Standardization CTAs. The JFTC staff consists of approximately 15 officers and NCOs dedicated to two encampments at a time.
While in garrison, cadets are organized into flights of approximately 20 cadets, with two flights per squadron, and up to eight squadrons per group. While at JFTC, cadets are organized as a wing consisting of two groups with three squadrons of three flights each.
A typical in-garrison schedule is as follows: reveille, physical training, breakfast, various morning activities (inspections, drill & ceremonies, etc.), lunch, afternoon activities (briefings, group leadership problems (GLP), etc.), retreat, dinner, evening activities (physical training, FTO initiated activities, etc.), call to quarters, and lights out. Training at Blue Thunder consists of hand-to-hand combatives, unit tactics, and various GLPs. Training at JFTC consists of various missions and scenarios throughout the day to include convoy training, close combat training, M16 familiarization, and other deployment skills as described in the Airman's Manual.
In each flight, cadets are ranked from first to last. The top 10% earn the distinction of "Distinguished Graduate", and the next 10% "Superior Performer". All cadets are ranked in one of three divisions in their respective flight: top, middle, or bottom third. The USAA "Top Gun" award acknowledges the highest performing cadet in each flight. Various other awards are given for excelling at physical fitness, marksmanship, academics (extended FTU), and warrior spirit.
Cadets' rankings depend on the following criteria:
Only the active duty officers evaluate and stratify the cadets. CTAs often give input but never officially evaluate cadets. Those cadets recommended for CTA duty have the option to apply to become CTAs the following year.
- Attend 80% of LLAB and PT sessions
- Attempt a PFA
- Not show indifference to training
Cadets also are categorized into five different training categories, based on when they are attending Field Training or when they plan to commission. Each category trains to a different standardized set of objectives, to ensure the program provides all training necessary to a cadet.
Initial Military Training (IMT): normally AS 100 cadets, but this group consists of GMC cadets not going to Field Training the following summer.
Field Training Preparation (FTP): normally AS 200 cadets, this group consists of GMC cadets planning to attend Field Training the following summer. May also be dual-enrolled GMC (known as AS 250). This can happen if a cadet joins their sophomore year and needs to catch up in the ROTC curriculum.
Intermediate Cadet Leader (ICL): normally AS 300 cadets, this group consists of POC cadets not due to commission this academic year, or are in the third year of AS classes.
Senior Cadet Leader (SCL): normally AS 400 cadets, this group consists of POC cadets planning to commission this academic year or are in the last year of AS classes. May also be dual-enrolled POC (known as AS 450), usually only allowed for one semester.
Extended Cadet Leader (ECL): normally AS 700, 800 or 900 cadets, these cadets have completed the AFROTC curriculum but need more time to complete their academic degree. ECL cadets are required to attend two LLABs per month and meet all PT program requirements. AS 700 cadets are those that have not graduated and are still receiving scholarship or stipend benefits. AS 800 cadets are those that have not graduated and are not still receiving scholarship or stipend benefits. AS 900 cadets are those that have graduated and earned a degree but have not commissioned, normally due to a medical or administrative delay.
|Cadet Fourth Class||C/4C||First Year Cadet|
|Cadet Third Class||C/3C||Second Year Cadet|
|Cadet Second Lieutenant||C/2d Lt|
|Cadet First Lieutenant||C/1st Lt|
|Cadet Lieutenant Colonel||C/Lt Col|