NEWS that the Royal Air Force has awarded a £5.3m investment in its future leaders has been welcomed by RAF College Cranwell.
The money has been awarded to Portsmouth Business School in partnership with Cranfield University.
Over the next five to seven years, leadership and management experts from both organisations with specialist knowledge of the military will develop the abilities of RAF personnel as part of initial officer training and senior officer development.
They will focus on international security and defence leadership, in collaboration with the RAF's own in-house training programme.
Air Commodore David Stubbs, commandant of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell and director of recruitment and initial training, said: "Portsmouth Business School and Cranfield Defence and Security were worthy winners in the face of some stiff competition.
"RAF College Cranwell is where all our new officers undergo their initial training before entering the wider Air Force. The RAF is committed to delivering world-class education and developing our young people to be the best leaders of their generation. The training offered by the RAF at Cranwell does much to enhance the reputation of our service and of the UK Armed Forces as a whole.
"Our new officer recruits are not just exposed to the rigours of service life, but are mentally challenged, within the context of the theories, history and practice of Air Power. Through this the RAF strives to foster – amongst other things – critical thinking, historical awareness and ethical leadership."
In addition to the Initial Officer Training at RAF College Cranwell the RAF also offers further training to senior officers and non-commissioned personnel under the Professional Military Development, PMD (Air) scheme.
Airman training takes place at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire and includes academic Air Power studies in addition to traditional Leadership and Management studies.
PMD for officers is now complemented by two major courses delivered at RAF College Cranwell.
Initial Officer Training (IOT) and the Senior Officer Study Programme (SOSP) which is taught at Masters level, will both be heavily supported and influenced by Portsmouth Business School in partnership with Cranfield University.
Air Commodore Stubbs added: "Our new academic partners will also be asked to join forces with the RAF's Air Warfare Centre where RAF Senior officers will return to Cranwell at a later career stage for further immersion into academia – this time at Masters level – through the SOSP.
"Here they will be challenged to bring their wealth of experience back to the academic environment in order to thrash out the big issues surrounding the future of national and international Defence and Air Power, thus institutionalising the culture of strategic thinking that is called for by today's ever more complex military-political landscape."
A unique element will be a Senior Officers Study Programme for those officers not selected for the most senior executive appointments. These officers will now be exposed to 'private enterprise thinking' to reinvigorate the middle management of the RAF.