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AF Space Command Scholars program aims to develop space, cyber experts

Press Release From: US Air Force
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015

The Air Force Space Command Scholars program allows space and cyber operators to study at some of the nation's most prestigious universities.

AFSPC Scholars provides funding for one 13SX, space and missile operations; and one 17SX, cyberspace warfare operations officer; or 17DX, network operations officer, to attend top-tier civilian universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford University, University of Southern California and other top schools to earn a master's degree in career field-related areas.

"We want to continue to grow expertise in the space and cyber domains,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Denker, the AFSPC director of integrated air, space, cyberspace, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. “One of the challenges we have in the cyber mission force is figuring out how to populate the force with cyber expertise in order to do that mission. Sending space and cyber operators back to the field after studying at some of the nation's best schools gives us that expertise. They will have new approaches and ideas that we need to succeed in our rapidly changing environments."

The program is targeted toward captains with four to seven years time-in-grade. 13S candidates must have a science, technology, engineering or mathematics undergraduate degree. 17X candidates must have an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering or a related area.

Applicants must first be selected for the AFSPC Scholars program, then they must apply for acceptance to a university.

Captain Tor Langehaug, formerly of the 50th Space Communications Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, will attend Carnegie Mellon’s Information Security Master of Science program through AFSPC Scholars and has some advice for those interested in AFSPC Scholars.

Langehaug’s first piece of advice is to take the Graduate Record Exam early.

"I spent at least a month trying to prepare for the quantitative portion of the exam and I didn't achieve nearly the scores I would have liked," Langehaug said. "GRE scores are typically accepted if taken within five years. You never know what academic opportunities will present themselves, and having the GRE completed will help when facing an application deadline.

"Second, get involved in scholarly discussion or research now,” Langehaug continued. “The Air Force and (Defense Department) have large problems to solve in the area of cyberspace and company grade officers don't write enough. Writing about problems we see in cyberspace will not only help improve the future we will live in, but it will also give you a strong edge when applying to attend a highly competitive school like Carnegie Mellon."

Applications are due Nov. 20. Interested candidates should contact their supervisors for details. If selected for AFSPC Scholars, members will incur a three-year service commitment upon enrolling in a college program.

For more information, call (719) 554-1064 or (719) 554-3326.

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