by Pam Zubeck
In today's edition, we report on the long-awaited study of the Air Force Academy's faculty mix.
We initially reported that the study was under way here. As you can see, the study was supposed to be done in 2011, then 2012 and finally, it's out.
That prompted former academy instructor David Mullin, who has contended some military faculty assigned at the academy don't have the proper background to teach the subjects they're assigned, to issue this statement:
Brig. Gen. Dana Born [dean of faculty] promised to the Air Force Academy faculty that the Rand Study Report would be released to them in September 2011. Then in November 2011 the Pentagon promised that the report would be released in January 2012. In my opinion, the 1 1/2 year delay in releasing the report was an effort by Air Force Academy Leadership and members of the Air Staff to cover up the problems of deficient faculty credentials and exorbitant, unsustainable expenditures until Lt. Gen. Michael Gould and Brig. Gen. Born were scheduled for retirement. The Department of Defense should conduct a major investigation of alleged fraud, waste, and abuse in running the Air Force Academy.
Meantime, academy officials provided comments in writing in response to the Independent's questions, as follows:
1. What does the study tell the academy about the academy's past contention that all was well with its faculty split?
RAND accomplished a thorough examination into the contributions of both our civilian and military faculty. Their findings confirmed that each type of instructor brings with them their own individual and collective strengths. It also confirmed that the combination of both military and civilian instructors generates an optimally prepared 2nd Lieutenant for the United States Air Force.
2. What, if anything, will change and when as a result of this study? Or does the academy maintain that the study is wrong and the academy has been right all along?
The RAND report does not recommend a single course of action but provides a superb analysis of the relative merits of civilian and military faculty. This provides Air Force leadership with analyses and measures by which to inform future decision making on this issue. The study verified that the
"optimal" mix of faculty is certainly in the objective balance of merits that Air Force leadership wishes to apply to their future officers at USAFA and must also certainly be subject to practical fiscal and personnel
constraints. Additionally, future actions and adjustment of the current faculty mix will certainly take into account current budgetary and personnel pressures throughout DoD.
3. What is the next step now that the study is finished? Will it simply be shelved? Discussed by leadership and then shelved? Who will be in charge of making any changes?
The RAND report has been and will continue to be the subject of discussion with USAFA's various oversight bodies. Discussions and policy development has begun with Air Force manpower decision-makers since this past fall and will continue into the mid-term as we consider the costs and benefits of
adopting various different courses of action. That development will certainly be affected by current and future fiscal and personnel pressures.
Here's the study, if you care to wade through it: