Monday, July 22

First Space Force Joint PME grads honored at JHU > United States Space Force > Article Display

The Space Force has minted its first-ever graduates of the service’s debut of independent officer Intermediate Level Education and Senior Level Education programs.

“This is a major accomplishment for not only those graduating today, but for our Space Force, and for [Space Training and Readiness Command],” said Lt. Gen. Shawn Bratton, deputy chief of 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 guidance when the Space Force was established and see it there. From the very beginning, this program was a key 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 for Gen. Bernard Schriever. Likewise, the West Space Scholars Program is the Space Force’s SLE program, named for Dr. Gladys West. These programs were specifically designed to deliver a graduate education to prepare mid-grade and senior uniformed and government civilian leaders for the evolving needs of the Space Force and Joint, Combined Force writ large, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Under 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, D.C., in an in-residence program. 

The first cohort of 49 total graduates were a mix of Space Force Guardians, joint representation from every U.S. military branch, Department of Defense civilians, and an international student, according to Space Delta 13 officials. 

Scholars were competitively selected amongst hundreds of candidates, 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. This required some impressive commitment from our graduates,” Bratton said.

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

The Space Force’s second SSS and WSS classes, starting in July, aim to build upon the successes of their first year, said Space Force Col. Kirk Johnson, commandant of Detachment 3, responsible for administrative oversight and academic development.

“Our first cohort of students, and the faculty that supported them, made an impact here, shaping a unique Space Force culture,” Johnson said. “We’re confident that our next students will carry the baton, with the help of our impressive cadre of faculty, as we consider 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 interest in, from, and to space.”

For the first-ever graduates of the Space Force’s inaugural independent officer PME, the real test is yet to come, said Bratton.

“This is not over … the real work now begins,” 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’ve learned. The space domain presents many challenges, but those graduating today will take what they’ve learned, and the relationships they have forged, to solve complex challenges standing in our way. We need it all, and I’m confident in our nation’s defense with what is represented by our leadership graduates today.”