Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Michael Heberling, PhD

Second Advisor

Kevin P. Grant, PhD


This thesis demonstrated a benchmarking technique to support determining graduate education requirements for officers in the Acquisition Program Management utilization field. The technique is also applicable to other Air Force career fields. The USAF currently uses the Graduate Education Management System GEMS to quantify officer graduate education requirements. Weaknesses in the GEMS-based process include the inability to address future technologies, vulnerability to inconsistency and change, and confusion of training with education. AFIT developed and recommended an alternative requirements determination approach that relies on benchmarking. This thesis reviewed literature on benchmarking principles. The research methodology developed and implemented benchmarking procedures to include identifying attributes to benchmark, determining measures, identifying suitable benchmark subjects, collecting benchmark data, and analyzing the data. Primary benchmark partners were project managers from the Project Management Institute PMI, a non-profit professional organization. Percentages of Air Force, PMI, and PMI defense/Aerospace sector project managers holding relevant graduate degrees were 53.21%, 12.41% and 18.67% respectively. Six limitations identified in the thesis prevented the determination of firm education requirements based solely on these results. Securing senior USAF support, developing rigorous best practices criteria, using trend data and developing numerical bridging factors were recommended to improve the benchmarking technique.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Co-authored thesis.

The authors' Vita pages are omitted.

Presented to the Faculty of the School of Logistics and Acquisition Management of the Air Force Institute of Technology.