120 S. Mitchell Street
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112
, International Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL / Published August 08, 2016
Mission. Prepare international military students and their families for Air University Professional Military Educations (PME) programs and partner with international leaders through engagement and outreach.
The International Officer School (IOS) is the lead-up course to prepare all international officers for attending Air War College (AWC), Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), and Squadron Officer College (SOC). While the USAF recently formally recognized building partnerships as a core function, the importance of assisting partner nations has always been implicitly understood and practiced. Allied officers began attending AU in 1946. In 1954 the USAF instituted the Allied Officer Preparatory Phase Course to aid the adjustment for international officers attending AU programs. In 1985, after numerous name changes, the program became IOS. To this day, IOS operates to enable the educational mission of the schools and the programs it supports.
Since 1954 over 11,000 international military students (IMS) from 143 countries have graduated from IOS preparatory courses. A dedicated unit of only 19 members, IOS provides exceptional support to nearly 250 IMSs and their families annually during their participation in AU programs. The unit is organized with a dean of students providing administrative support prior to the students’ arrival and during their stay. The dean of education and faculty execute the preparatory programs readying the international students for seamless integration with their US academic counterparts. Five preparatory classes are held annually, concluding prior to the start of the educational programs the international students will join. The courses are seven weeks in duration and predominately focus on refinement of communication skills by familiarizing participants with common terminology and stressing the military context the students require for success in their advanced coursework. IOS also executes the congressionally mandated Field Studies Program (FSP) as implemented by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the Arms Export Control Act, and the Security Assistance Training Program. FSP objectives are formed around 11 principle tenets that ensure international students understand government, military, and citizen responsibilities to protect, preserve, and respect individual rights. Graduates will comprehend foundational facets of American life, US society, institutions, and ideals and how these aspects reflect US commitment to internationally recognized human rights. With the help of IOS, international students are able to hit the ground running when integrated alongside US officers into the academic culture of each school.