Cadet Officer School

Cadet Officer School (COS) is a National Cadet Special Activity (NCSA) designed to train cadet officers in different aspects of leadership including communication, theory and critical thinking. COS is held at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. In the past, the activity was held at CAP National Headquarters; however, in recent years, cadets have been housed in dormitories and bused over to the base for classes.


Cadets must be at least 16 years of age to attend Cadet Officer School. In addition, cadets must have received the Gen Billy Mitchell Award by the deadline for NCSA applications, generally the December 31st before COS is to begin. COS only accepts 120 cadets. Cadets must usually rank COS as their first choice on the electronic CAPF 31 filled out on E-Services to be accepted. The fee for the 2009 activity is $250.

Activity Outline

COS is academically rigorous. During the course of the week, cadets will be expect to write papers, read large amounts of homework, give speeches, and prepare for the next day's activities. Many classes are held at the USAF Air War College where cadets learn from renowned speakers and teachers. To relieve stress and promote teamwork volleyball is a central part of COS life; practices and games are held every night.

At COS, cadets are divided into "seminar groups," which are generally the size of a cadet flight. The seminars are usually led by two adults. Both CAP senior members and USAF personnel make up the staff for Cadet Officer School, including acting as leaders for each of the seminar groups. Seminar groups wear different color shirts to identify themselves. There are very few cadet staff members at COS, with the only position filled being the Cadet Executive Officer. This cadet is an alumni of the school who competes against other cadets based partly on performance at COS. Recently, there have been two C/XO's appointed for the activity.

Unlike other cadet activities, the environment at COS is much more academic than militaristic. Cadets are expected to take care of themselves in the way of waking up, arriving on time to breakfast and activities, choosing what to do with their free time, and when they will go to bed. While there are restrictions, as there are with any cadet activity, cadets are given a great amount of freedom and responsibility at COS, although tolerance for abusing that freedom (i.e. arriving late at a class) is very low. Cadet grade is considered for the most part irrelevant at the activity, and cadets tend to be on a first-name basis with other cadets.

COS is known for having a non-attribution policy for the activity. This means that cadets are discouraged from attributing any opinions or statements to presenters and speakers to anyone who was not present for the lecture. In addition, COS requests that graduates not speak specifically about many of the activities during the course of the week, as several activities require critical thinking and improvisation, and the activity can be ruined if information is leaked out.

Falcon Flight

In 2009, Cadet Officer School made available Falcon Flight. Tentative information states that the flight is reserved for return students to COS holding the grade of C/Lt Col or above.

References official COS page

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