Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Heidi Brothers, PhD

Second Advisor

Mark Ward, PhD


Air Force civil engineer officers rely on published guidance to assist in establishing their career objectives. This thesis uses empirical data to evaluate the published Air Force career guidance. The data set is comprised of complete duty histories from all active duty lieutenant colonels in the civil engineer career field. The guidance implies a career path to become a civil engineer squadron commander but provides no empirical validation. This thesis follows a rigorous procedure to objectively evaluate the Air Force guidance. The guidance is translated into 24 research questions based on its main tenets. Each duty occurrence is categorized by type of position, associated MAJCOM, overseas proximity, and leadership level. The data analysis uses tests of proportion and x(2) categorical tests to address each research question. The results suggest that officers in the data set exhibit conformance to the comprehensive career guidance and to most of the Air Force guidance tenets. However, civil engineer squadron commanders demonstrated stronger conformity than non-commanders only in the areas of progression, career broadening and education. Finally, the results are integrated with Expectancy Theory and Goal Theory to provide recommendations to improve the value of the Air Force guidance.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Co-advised thesis. The author's Vita page is omitted.