Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Published Airpower Journal- Summer 1999
THE CHIEF OF STAFF of the Air Forces Professional Reading Program began in March 1997. After the initial success of the program, Gen Michael E. Ryan released a slightly revised version of the list in May of this year:
Enlisted and Civilian Grades
One to Eight
BasicAirman Basic to Senior Airman
IntermediateStaff Sergeant to Technical Sergeant
AdvancedMaster Sergeant to Chief Master Sergeant
Officers and Civilian Grades
Nine and Above
BasicSecond Lieutenant to Captain and GS-9 to GS-12
IntermediateMajor to Lieutenant Colonel and GS-13 to GS-14
AdvancedColonel through General Officer and GS-15 and Above
Changes to the list were based on the availability and price of books, as well as the availability of new publications. As before, new books were chosen because of their readability. This revised list includes new books written by serving Air Force individuals, signifying the growing interest in the Air Force and knowledge about the institution and an airpower way of life.
"The books on our professional reading list provide insight into how and why aerospace power has become so important," General Ryan said. "Many of the books are also a window into the rich heritage of the US Air Force." The general went on to emphasize the value of this reading list: "Engaging in professional reading can help Air Force members of all grades articulate the historical significance of aerospace power."
In addition to stocking three to five copies of each title in more than one hundred Air Force libraries, these libraries will sponsor a "book-of-the-quarter" program, offering resources for squadrons, groups, and wings to establish their own book-discussion groups. Such groups allow airmen and civilians to read one of the books and get together to discuss and critique it. According to Capt J. R. Riddell, program manager from Air Staff History, books on the list will be located in a special area in the libraries. Interested readers can also go to their local base library or military-clothing sales stores to pick up a new brochure that highlights the changes.
In addition to base libraries' involvement, beginning this month Air Force readers will also be able to purchase their own copies of reading-list titles at a discount from select Army and Air Force Exchange Service military-clothing sales stores or through the AAFES web site at http://www.aafes.com. Also, by accessing the reading-list web site at http://www.af.mil/ readinglist, readers can find a list of the military-clothing sales stores that keep the books in stock. The site also contains reviews of books, answers to frequently asked questions, and materials for discussion groups, among other interactive features.
Divided into three levels--basic, intermediate, and advanced--the list aligns closely with professional military education. Personnel who attend Airman Leadership School, the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, or the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy receive appropriate books from their instructors. Captains on active duty receive a shipment of the officers' basic list shortly after their promotion. All others are encouraged to borrow books from the library or purchase personal copies. The program offers novice and experienced readers a common point of reference with their peers, subordinates, and superiors.
"Regardless of your functional specialty, I think Air Force personnel should be familiar with the development of aerospace power," Captain Riddell said. "The chief's list can either help you launch a career-long reading program or supplement your current and previous readings.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.
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