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Advanced Study of Air Mobility: Around the world in an Expeditionary Center classroom

  • Published
  • By Maj. Michele Gill
  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs
They've traveled across the U.S. to visit military and industry headquarters for the past 10 months. Now they're preparing to travel around the world in the next few months before they graduate.

What other in-residence Intermediate Developmental Education, or IDE, program offers Air Force majors the opportunity to become air mobility experts in the military and global classrooms, while earning a Master of Air Mobility degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology? None other than the Advanced Study of Air Mobility program at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center at Fort Dix, N.J.

Sixteen Air Force majors were hand-picked to become part of this 13-month professional development program, designed specifically for mobility officers. They began their journey in May 2007 and have gone through the rigors of learning about logistics, transportation, supply, mobility and other areas including business process improvement, statistics and research methods.

ASAM graduates are uniquely prepared for challenging follow-on assignments throughout the Department of Defense. Historically, some have been assigned to unified commands, the Joint Staff, Headquarters Air Force, Air Mobility Command and even NATO, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe and the United Nations.

When asked how they think ASAM would help shape their careers, most of the students said it has helped them understand the transportation and logistics processes better.

"ASAM has provided me with a much broader view of the Air Force and Department of Defense," said Maj. John Lacy, ASAM 08 student. "This broader perspective is necessary as our careers progress from specialty-based (aircrew or loggie) to leadership-based."

Maj. Jeremy Hanson, his classmate, added that ASAM is making him more well-rounded in all facets of transportation and global mobility.

Reflecting on the ASAM curriculum, a recent graduate said he's using the skill sets on a daily basis.

"Whether it's forging ahead with AFSO 21 (Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century) initiatives, developing the USAF Expeditionary Center's roadmap for the future or being the 'resident mobility advisor' to the EC leadership, ASAM has postured me for success," said Maj. Phil Heseltine, ASAM Class 07 graduate and executive officer for the USAF EC commander.

Others said ASAM has even made them more prepared for life after the Air Force.

"The academic supply chain management courses look at the civilian sector successes and failures, and in conjunction with the combatant command visits, we get an across-the-spectrum view of logistics," said Maj. James Nichol, another student in the 2008 class. "This 'big picture' will be an asset and will enable me to more effectively accomplish my future mobility warrior duties."

"ASAM will give me logistics and supply chain management expertise that will help me be a better leader, whether in the Air Force or in the civilian world," said ASAM 08 student Maj. Kevin Eastland.

The program incorporates several site visits into the curriculum to give a first-hand view of the mobility challenges in both the continental U.S. and overseas theaters. While on their trips, the students may discuss mobility issues with senior military leaders and civilian transportation experts.

"The ASAM students travel more than any other IDE program's students, visiting every combatant command, other military organizations and a number of public and private sector organizations and companies outside the Department of Defense," said Maj. Dan DeVoe, another student in the current class. "The program is designed to develop a detailed, operational-level understanding of air mobility, specifically, and the entire logistics supply chain, in general."

Maj. Zachary Zeiner, ASAM 08 student and class leader, said the most significant thing he has learned since the class began last May is the global integration of all modes of travel. He's amazed at how it all fits together, from rail to air to ship to trucking to pipelines and even the internet.

"It (ASAM) has given me a better understanding of ways to solve logistics problems and how the different transportation components operate," added student Maj. Will Clark.

Maj. Eric Howland said he has learned there are many pieces to the transportation puzzle. He said, "I've learned the entire process from factory to foxhole."

ASAM is one of many options available to Air Force's majors who are interested in pursuing intermediate developmental education and advanced degrees.

"ASAM is probably the best kept secret in the Air Force, and we want to change that," said Mr. Rudy Becker, USAF EC's Mobility Operations School Director, "Our graduates are serving in almost every combatant command and are in significant leadership positions throughout the Air Force and Joint community. IDE candidates would be well served to identify ASAM as their number one choice."

About half of the current ASAM students chose ASAM as their number one IDE choice. Most of them had heard about it through friends who loved the experience of getting an advanced education while applying classroom theory to real-world applications during site visits.

Another ASAM 08 student, Maj. Lawrence W.S. Mitchell, said he chose ASAM as his first IDE choice because global mobility issues interest him.

"ASAM is extremely selective and for good reason," said Major Zeiner. "There is no other program within DOD where you get this 'PhD-level' education and exposure on logistics and mobility management."

Even if ASAM wasn't their first choice, students agree that it would be if they could turn back time.

"Having graduated from the ASAM program, I can say if I had to do it all again - I would," said Major Heseltine. "I tell all captains and new majors I speak to that ASAM is the best IDE program in the Air Force, and this needs to be the number one on their list of schools."

Prospective candidates should indicate their preference for ASAM on Air Force Form 3849. For more information on the selection process and eligibility criteria, refer to the officer development education Website at For additional information on this program or any of the 74 other courses offered by the USAF Expeditionary Center, call the registrar's office at (609) 754-7738. 

ASAMers...Where in the world are they? 
A look at their year-long schedule

(May - June, between trips)  USAF EC, Fort Dix, N.J.

(August)  Scott AFB, Ill.
U.S. Transportation Command
Headquarters Air Mobility Command
Tactical Airlift Control Center
18th Air Force  

(September)   Hurlburt Field, Fla., at USAF EC's Detachment 1
Air Operations Center 101 Doctrine
Director of Mobility Forces - Air 

(October) Memphis, Tenn.
Federal Express Headquarters 

(October) Nashville, Tenn. (location may change each year)
Airlift/Tanker Association Convention 

(November) Florida
U.S. Central Command
U.S. Special Operations Command
U.S. Southern Command
CSX Transportation
Crowley Maritime Corporation
Jacksonville Port Authority
JetBlue Airways 

(December) Virginia
U.S. Joint Forces Command
Joint Deployment Training Center
Joint Warfighting Center
Joint Technology Exploration Center
Joint Advanced Training Technology Laboratory
Surface Deployment and Distribution Command
Air and Space Expeditionary Force Center
Air Force Global Cyberspace Integration Center 

(January) Washington, D.C.
Defense Logistics Agency
White House Military Office
State Department 

(March) Colorado and Nebraska
U.S. Strategic Command
U.S. Northern Command
Air Force Space Command
Space Innovation and Development Center
Cheyenne Mountain
50th Space Wing 

(March - April) Europe
Royal Air Force
U.S. European Command
U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Africa Command
U.S. Special Operations Command Europe
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
21st Theater Sustainment Command
Eindhoven Air Base
Third Air Force
86th Contingency Response Group
721st Air Mobility Operations Group
598th U.S. Army Transportation Terminal Group 

(May) Pacific
U.S. Forces Korea
U.S. Forces Japan
U.S. Pacific Command
U.S. Pacific Fleet
U.S. Embassy, Korea
U.S. Embassy, Tokyo
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command
Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
Pacific Air Forces
USMC Forces, Pacific
5th Air Force
7th Air Force
374th Airlift Wing
715th Air Mobility Operations Group
Joint Security Area at Camp Bonifas