First Space Force Joint PME Graduates Honored at JHU > Vandenberg Space Force Base > Article Display

The Space Force has minted the first-ever graduates of the service’s debut independent officer secondary-level education and senior-level education programs.

“This is a major achievement, not only for those graduating today, but also for our Space Force, and for (Space Training and Readiness Command),” said Lt. Gen. Shawn Bratton, Deputy Chief for Space Operations, Strategy, Plans, Programs and Requirements, to graduates of the Schriever Space Scholars and West Space Scholars programs, May 21. “One of the clear tasks for STARCOM during the early days of the Space Force was to create an independent professional military education program. You can go back to the initial planning guidelines when the Space Force was created and see them there. From the very beginning, this program has been a top priority for the Space Force, and it’s great to see it come to life.”

The Schriever Space Scholars Program is the Space Force’s independent ILE program named after General Bernard Schriever. Similarly, the West Space Scholars Program is the Space Force’s SLE program, named after Dr. Gladys West. These programs are specifically designed to provide college education to prepare mid- and upper-level civilian, uniformed and government leaders for the evolving needs of the Space Force and the Joint, Combined Force, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As part of the Space Force’s partnership with JHU’s School of Advanced International Studies, select Space Force officers, as well as other service members and civilians, studied at SAIS in Washington, DC, in an in-residence program.

The first cohort of 49 total graduates was a mix of Space Force Guardians, a joint representation of every U.S. military branch, Department of Defense civilians and one international student, Space Delta 13 officials said.

Scholars were selected competitively from hundreds of applicants, and both ILE and SLE consisted of rigorous academic requirements.

“Ten months, six core courses, four electives, 110 core course seminars, an estimated 15,000 pages of reading material. This required an impressive commitment from our graduates,” said Bratton.

The Schriever Space Scholars and West Space Scholars programs are ten-month programs in which students receive Joint Professional Military Education I or II credits, and Johns Hopkins awards students a Master of International Public Policy degree.

The second Space Force SSS and WSS classes, which begin in July, are designed to build on the successes of their first year, said Space Force Col. Kirk Johnson, commander of Detachment 3, responsible for administrative oversight and academic development.

“Our first cohort of students and the faculty who supported them have made an impact here and shaped a unique Space Force culture,” Johnson said. “We are confident that our next students will carry on the baton, with the help of our impressive teaching staff, as we reflect on the lessons learned from our first year. We will continually implement new ideas and new thinking to solve the complex challenges of defending our nation’s interests in, from and to space.”

For the very first graduates of the Space Force’s inaugural Independent Officer PME, the real test is yet to come, Bratton said.

“This isn’t over yet… the real work starts now,” Bratton said. “These were the first classes to complete the independent Schriever Space Scholars and the West Space Scholars programs, but more importantly, these are the first service members to go out and do something with what they learned. The space domain presents many challenges, but those who graduate today will use what they have learned and the relationships they have built to solve the complex challenges that stand in our way. We all need it, and I am confident in defending our nation with what is represented today by our leadership graduates.”


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