The Air Force First Sergeant Academy at Maxwell AFB, Ala., has transformed its course curriculum from a traditional education experience to one combining facilitated distance learning—akin to online instruction—and in-residence classroom time, according to a base release. The academy’s course, which was formerly three weeks of in-residence instruction at Maxwell, now comprises four weeks of distance learning followed by two weeks at the academy, states Maxwell’s March 20 release. The online instruction includes subject areas such as administration, human resource management, maintenance of discipline, and readiness. “Facilitated distance learning brings us up to the state-of-the-art in post-secondary education and delivery methods,” said Col. Stewart Price, commander of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education, which includes the academy. Among the advantages, distance learning saves temporary duty days “for things that absolutely need to happen in a resident environment,” added Price. The first sergeant course graduates some 500 airmen annually, states the release. (Maxwell report by A1C William J. Blankenship)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.