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The U.S. Air Force Academy and Air University shields. (U.S. Air Force graphic / 2nd Lt. Robert Guest)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- For current or future Air Force commissioned officers, two names represent the pinnacle of education within the force. While these flagship institutions have, up to now, worked mostly independent of one another, Air University and the U.S. Air Force Academy have come together to formally synchronize their efforts for producing future leaders for the service.

With signatures fresh on a Memorandum of Understanding, AU and USAFA are further developing initiatives ranging from cyber education and prototyping to educational innovation and faculty cooperation, all while bolstering the partnership between the institutions.

“We look forward to closer ties with USAFA, and the solid working relationship we already have will be fortified by this understanding,” said Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, AU commander and president. “Our goal is to eventually have an AU liaison at the Academy, ensuring our similar goals of officer commissioning and development will be synchronized and strengthened. This, in turn, will provide a more cohesive partnership between our faculty and more opportunities for our students.”

Both locations will be shouldering their share of the efforts regarding the elevated partnership by building and updating an “AU-USAFA Annual Collaboration Plan,” detailing academics, events and programs the pair will be working on that year.

“I was surprised to learn there was no formal, overarching partnership between the Academy and AU given our shared interests in the development and education of Air Force leaders,” said Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, USAFA superintendent. “Sharing best practices and working together will be of tremendous benefit as we continuously look for innovative ideas and techniques in shaping the future of the Air Force.”

The existence of informal cooperation and the discovery of natural overlaps between the institutions piqued the interest of both Cotton and Silveria. Once the two realized there was no formal partnership in existence, they asked their staffs to pursue an MOU to establish a reliable, consistent means of identifying areas of collaboration.

“We are excited to explore further areas of collaboration to leverage the strengths of each organization,” Cotton said, “and work toward the shared goal of providing the finest officers to the Air Force.”

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