Air Force Nonrated Technical Training: Selected Topics to Improve Efficiency

In fiscal year 2016, RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) conducted a study for the Air Force Air Education and Training Command (AETC) of inefficiencies in the nonrated technical training pipeline. The goal of this research was to identify ways to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the Air Force’s technical training enterprise for both officers and enlisted personnel. That study identified many opportunities to improve the technical training planning process, resource allocation process, and the flow of students through the technical training pipeline.

As a follow-on to that effort, AETC asked PAF to look outside the Air Force for insights and best practices upon which they could draw. AETC identified three particular topics of interest: (1) how colleges and universities right-size their instructor corps in the face of fluctuations in enrollments and demands for coursework, (2) best practices associated with supply chain management, and (3) approaches for developing a flexible instructor pool.

At the conclusion of their research, the authors identified common threads that emerged from what might appear to be rather disparate topics. One is the realization that there is no one-size-fits-all model that will work AETC-wide to achieve more-efficient operations. Instead, these concepts and the resource decisions that they drive are best applied to the individual training pipelines for each Air Force specialty. The second thread is that flexibility across the training pipeline is the key to improving planning and resource efficiency.

This research was commissioned by the Air Force Education and Training Command (AETC) and conducted within the Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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