U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced legislation today to ensure the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) remains the premier institute for defense-focused, graduate-level education. The measure would permanently require AFIT's top post to be held by an active or retired military officer. The Air Force is considering downgrading it to a civilian position, which would significantly diminish AFIT's stature and ability to retain top level leadership.
"Having a military officer at the helm is critical to ensuring that AFIT remains a world class institution for advanced studies on defense related engineering and management as well technical professional continuing education," said Portman. "AFIT has awarded thousands of degrees for more than 50 years to students who have made great contributions to America's air and space forces. This proposal will strengthen the Institution's future by enabling it to attract top notch leadership and students, who will fulfill its mission to advance air, space, and cyberspace power for the nation."
"AFIT must have military leadership in order to maintain preeminence and relevance in the years ahead. This legislation would provide that top level military leadership while simultaneously ensuring educational continuity by establishing an SES level Provost position. Furthermore this proposal is consistent with Secretary Gates' goal of reducing the number of flag officers in our armed forces," said Turner.
The legislation, which would ensure AFIT is run in a manner consistent to the way the Naval Postgraduate School is run, would allow the Secretary of the Air Force to fill the top post with either an active duty Colonel, or a retired Brigadier General or higher. The language also creates an SES level Provost position to prevent against any disruptions in academic and institutional affairs that can be generated from regular changes in leadership. These options would ensure continuity in the Institute's approach towards educating our nation's military leaders while adhering to Secretary Gates' proposal to eliminate the number of flag officers in our military.