Reimagining Space Force EPME: A deep dive into the Vosler Fellowships

  • Published
  • By Capt. Charles Rivezzo
  • Space Training and Readiness Command Public Affairs

The U.S. Space Force reimagined its enlisted professional military education, or EPME, to meet the demands and challenges unique to enlisted Guardians. 
The Vosler Academy at Peterson Space Force Base celebrated a milestone April 19, inducting its first Vosler fellows from Fellowship II, a newly designed course designed for mid-tier noncommissioned officers. 
This marks a significant step in the Space Force’s introduction of its EPME curriculum, following a six-month strategic pause of instruction. 
“Our service needed something purpose-built for Guardians,” said Chief Master Sgt. April Brittain, Vosler Academy commandant. “The curriculum that we were using was Airman-centric and just wasn't catered enough to the service needs that we see in front of us.” 
According to Brittain, the reimagining of Space Force EPME was a proactive approach to foster a deep-rooted understanding of space as a distinct warfighting domain and reflects the reality that space is a pivotal domain of national defense. 
The educational overhaul is a response to the urgent need for specialized knowledge and strategies tailored to the complex nature of the space domain. It ensures that Guardians are not only proficient in their roles but also have a visionary strategic outlook. This approach addresses the intricate dynamics of space activities, preparing individuals to be both skilled and forward-thinking in their field. 
Empowering Guardians: Building competencies for tomorrow 
The Fellowship II curriculum — which remains a five-week course — is enriched with foundational Space Force competencies, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of space-centric roles. This includes in-depth examination of combatant command missions, responsibilities within the space domain, and the authority mechanisms guiding these operations. 
The course delves deeply into fundamental areas crucial for shaping effective thinking and decision making, with a focus on thinking strategies, cognitive frameworks, warfighting doctrine, and problem-solving methods. It's designed to bolster military decision-making skills, providing Guardians with essential tools to tackle challenges in the space domain. 
The curriculum promotes creative thinking and a profound grasp of these essential frameworks, preparing Guardians to deal with future challenges proactively and creatively. This ensures Guardians are well-prepared and skilled in handling the complexities of space-related matters. 
Furthermore, the course offers a foundation in space doctrine, delves into the strategic dynamics of space competition, and keeps Guardians updated on the most recent trends, challenges, and issues related to the space domain. 
According to Vosler Academy officials, at the heart of Fellowship II is the course’s intentional shift away from conventional lecture-based learning in favor of a dynamic, interactive model. This shift is influenced by prominent scholar Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory, prioritizing engagement, collaboration, and practical application over passive instruction. 
Master Sgt. Dalton Grainger, Vosler Academy superintendent for Curriculum Development, explained that Fellowship II incorporates an increased presence of guest speakers and student-led presentations, emphasizing critical areas with subject matter expertise. 
“Through Fellowship II, we're pushing the boundaries of conventional education to create a more interactive and engaging learning environment,” Grainger said. “By integrating guest lectures, experiential learning, and a focus on space-centric topics, we're cultivating a cadre of Guardians who are not only technically proficient but also adept in critical thinking and strategic analysis.” 
Vosler Academy officials added that the curriculum is fundamentally built upon the Guardian Values — Character, Connection, Commitment, and Courage. These ideals are intricately woven into the curriculum's three primary focus areas, as detailed in the Guardian Spirit Handbook: the roles of Principled Public Servant, Bold and Collaborative Problem Solver, and Space-Minded Warfighter. 
These roles form the central pillars of the Fellowship curriculum, guiding its structure and objectives. Together, the foundational ideals and these pivotal roles converge to foster what the Vosler cadre term ‘Guardianship’, a set of core educational competencies that encapsulate the essence of the academy's teachings. 
Enhancing the educational framework, each focus area integrates project-based learning activities, prompting students to engage with real-world challenges and devise innovative solutions. 
“This method nurtures creative and critical thinking, motivating students to investigate autonomously and formulate informed decisions,” Grainger said. 
Developed by Guardians, for Guardians 
The Fellowship curriculum at Vosler Academy represents a grassroots initiative, crafted by its dedicated cadre. 
This curriculum is more than an educational program but a continuum of learning, strategically designed to guide Guardians through their career progression with precision and relevance. 
Brittain shared insights into her team’s diligent efforts in developing the Fellowship curriculum, highlighting the transformative nature of this endeavor. 
“The journey to create the Fellowship series has been nothing short of remarkable,” she said. “Despite the challenge of a six-month timeline, which seems ample but is quite brief in the context of curriculum development, our team has showcased exceptional commitment and innovation.” 
The Vosler team's commitment to pioneering an educational framework that is both innovative and adaptable is evident in their approach. This includes moving beyond established educational models, engaging in design sprints, and effectively utilizing limited resources. Such efforts showcase a determination to go beyond traditional methods and to conceive, develop, and introduce a curriculum that truly aligns with the needs and goals of Guardians. This approach reflects a passion and vision for a future-ready Space Force, emphasizing the importance of forward-thinking and flexible educational strategies.