Enlisted Commissioning Programs

Enlisted Commissioning Programs (ECP) offer members that are currently enlisted in the USAF or USSF the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree through various means, and then commission as an officer. External info on some of these programs can be found on the AFROTC website and the Air University website.

Types of Enlisted Commissioning Programs

Professional Officer Course – Early Release Program (POC-ERP)

The POC-ERP program program allows enlisted members with 2 or less years of school left to separate from active duty and join AFROTC with an out-of-cycle EA, then attend Field Training between their AS300 and AS400 years.

Details on how to apply for this program are here.

Airman Scholarship & Commissioning Program (ASCP)

Enlisted members accepted into the ASCP will separate from active duty and attend AFROTC for 2 – 4 years with a Type 2 scholarship. They will compete for an EA, unless they only have two years of school left when accepted into the program, then they will get an out-of-cycle EA.

Details on how to apply for this program are here.

Scholarships for Outstanding Airmen to Reserve Officer Training Corps (SOAR)

SOAR is the same as ASCP (above) except rather than acceptance being decided at AFROTC HQ, it is decided by Major Command (MAJCOM) commanders.

Details on how to apply for this program are here.

Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program A (SLECP-A)

SLECP-A selects one enlisted member per MAJCOM (17 globally) to stay on active duty, but to attend a school of their choice as a full-time student. The member retains all active duty pay and benefits at their current rank and their only duty is to go to school. Members in this program will administratively report to an AFROTC detachment, but they will not be considered a cadet and will not train with the detachment. Upon completion of their bachelor’s degree, the member will attend OTS and commission from there.

Application details for this program usually come out in the summer each year, and are sent out through the chain of command. As far as I know there isn’t a centralized application website or process. Ask your supervisor and leadership team on how to apply.

Leaders Encouraging Airman Development (LEAD)

This program selects young, unmarried Airmen to attend the US Air Force Academy.

Details of this program can be found here.

Advice for prior or currently enlisted cadets

Prior or currently enlisted cadets were either some of the best cadets I ever had, or the worst. The difference usually came down to whether they could swallow their pride and learn from other cadets in the program that were younger and less experienced than them or not.

So, to succeed as an enlisted member in AFROTC:

  • Eat some humble pie – You will have a lot to learn, even if you have some military experience already.
  • Be ready to learn – Even if you’re a 27 year old Staff Sergeant, I guarantee you can learn something from the program, and from a 20 year old cadet that has never been in the military. I likely learned more about leadership from my cadets than I was able to teach them, and that’s as someone who was already an experienced prior-enlisted officer.
  • Let go of old ways – You may be taught to drill or march or lead slightly differently than what you saw while enlisted on active duty. Let go of the old way of doing things and embrace how you’re taught in AFROTC. No one wants to listen to the old prior-enlisted cadet constantly say “this is wrong… this isn’t how it happens on active duty… this isn’t how we marched in BMT…”
  • Use your experience for your own and other’s benefit – Your enlisted experience can absolutely be valuable, just apply it in the right time and place. Share your stories and tips in positive ways to help the cadets around you.
  • Use your experience for good – Once cadets find out you were or are enlisted, they will likely look up to you and see you as the standard for behavior that they should emulate, since you’ve already been in the military. Don’t come in with a negative attitude that you’re basically owed a commission and all of this silly AFROTC stuff is just an inconvenience on your way to greatness as an officer. Also, come in with a positive attitude. If you’re negative and complain about everything, it will spread to the other cadets and affect the entire detachment.