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Welcome to Squadron Officer College


Commandant's Message

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to Squadron Officer College (SOC).  Located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, SOC is the Air Force’s center for company grade officer professional development.  The College fulfills this role by educating and mentoring its students during the most crucial period of their development; their early, formative years as current and future airpower leaders.

SOC houses a resident-education program specifically targeted at the developmental needs of junior officers. We also field an online version of the course that now includes facilitation by line instructors as well as peer-to-peer interaction.

Squadron Officer School (SOS), established in 1950, delivers primary developmental education for captains, international officers, and select civilian equivalents from the Department-of-the-Air-Force (DAF) and other interagency departments.  In SOS, students identify and reflect on their personal leadership styles as they are exposed to educational and experiential opportunities that challenge them to become more effective leaders for our Air Force.

Although SOC has a long and prestigious history, we are not resting on our laurels.  On the contrary, we are in the process of fundamentally transforming the College.  We are partnering with leading institutions in the US to ensure our curriculum reflects the latest advancements in leadership studies.  We are also adding intensive, experiential activities in our resident programs to inject realism and provide opportunities for students to apply the lessons we are teaching. 

SOS students will recognize the changes instantly.  Gone are the day-long lectures and unending decks of PowerPoint slides.  Gone too are the activities that had become divorced from the College’s leadership focus.  Instead, students are treated to a graduate-level executive leadership seminar that helps them to identify their leadership strengths and weaknesses, provides them tools for improvement, and empowers them with opportunities to apply what they have learned.

In addition to these improvements, we at SOC are reaching beyond the walls of our facilities to transform our distance-learning educational opportunities.  In this effort, we are leveraging technology to provide state-of–the-art, on-line curriculum to company grade officers and their civilian counterparts across our Air Force.  The newest version of the SOS nonresident program features multi-media materials, avatar-based instructional items, and a completely renovated curriculum targeted specifically at leadership development. The program includes online facilitation by SOS faculty. Students spend part of their online experience communicating directly with instructors and peers through shared assignments and critical feedback, increasing the learning opportunities for all of our distance learning student body.

SOC is transforming itself to be more relevant to today’s complex security environment and to be more responsive to the challenges that our junior leaders face as they lead our expeditionary Air Force to mission success.  If you haven’t seen SOC lately, then you don’t know SOC.  We are well on our way to realizing our vision of becoming our Air Force’s premier leadership-development institution. 

Colonel Wayne W. Straw

The Squadron Officer College Vision and Mission


SOC’s vision for the future is to become the premier leadership-development institution in the US. SOC will achieve this vision by creating and maintaining a team dedicated to:

  • Coaching and mentoring airpower leaders today, preparing the senior leaders of tomorrow.
  • Recruiting the right people in the right numbers to develop the most respected military faculty in Professional Military Education.
  • Developing and wielding current, agile and engaging curriculum based on a defensible core that is focused on the specific needs of SOC’s customers.
  • Delivering unparalleled educational opportunities through robust academic partnerships and state-of-the-art learning environments.
  • Identifying, obtaining and leveraging financial, manpower, physical and technological resources to ensure mission success.


SOC's mission is to Educate, Motivate, and Mentor Company Grade Officers as Current and Future Air Force Leaders.


SOC traces its earliest beginnings to Squadron Officer School (SOS), which was established in 1950 after the closure of the Air Corps Tactical School in 1946. In 1997 the Air Force established the Air and Space Basic Course (ASBC) and graduated its first class of Second Lieutenants in early 1998. ASBC shared Building 1403 with SOS until military construction later expanded classroom space for both schools. In 2000, both ASBC and SOS merged to form an integrated Squadron Officer College (SOC), with both schools sharing a common curriculum directorate and mission support staff. SOC's mission changed again in 2011 with a decision by the Air Force to eliminate ASBC, extend SOS from 5 to 8 weeks, and pursue 100% resident attendance opportunity for all Line-of-the-Air Force captains.


SOC is led by a Commandant with six SOS teaching squadrons. SOC also has a Dean of Academic Affairs curriculum directorate organized into academic departments, and a Mission Support Directorate organized into three SOC-unique support branches. In 2008 a major reorganization of Air University consolidated the information technology, finance, and personnel mission support units from the AU colleges on Chennault Circle into a centralized Spaatz Center.


The main SOC facility houses six student squadrons, resident and distance learning curriculum development staff, 62 flight rooms, Maxwell's largest auditorium (seating capacity 1222), and a smaller auditorium (seating capacity 240). SOC also hosts the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS) in one wing of the building. Other SOC facilities include the Ritchey Center field house, Project-X complex, Cultural Leadership Exercise complex, Team Leadership Problem pads, running track, volleyball courts, and athletic fields.

Last Updated: 22 November 2016