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Civilian Developmental Education

There are three levels of Civilian Developmental Education: basic developmental education, intermediate developmental education and senior developmental education.


For CDE, career field teams provide oversight of personnel development. For IDE and SDE, the career field teams and development teams provide oversight of personnel development to meet both functional and institutional strategic leadership requirements.  


All courses listed in the CDE portfolio are mapped to the Air Force’s institutional competencies, which are key to ensuring Airmen can operate successfully in a constantly changing environment. These competencies span all occupations, functions and organizational levels, and support the development of Air Force leaders.



 The majority of the courses require a continued service agreement in accordance with Air Force Instruction 36-401, Employee Training and Development. Applicants may incur up to a five-year commitment upon completion of the training. This commitment begins when the students complete the program and is transferable to another federal agency if the employee leaves the Air Force. An unfulfilled CSA obligation requires prorated payback for any expenses (excluding salary).

If individuals request to decline or withdraw for personal reasons after the date of the official release, they could incur a two or five year penalty. Employees requesting to decline or withdraw from a CDE program must contact the AFPC CDE office immediately upon notification of selection.  For a breakout of programs and the associated penalty time requirements, please visit the Academic Year Declination Withdrawal Penalty table.

Nomination packages for CDE opportunities are accepted from March 1 to May 1 (approximately) each year. Applicants can apply for up to four programs. 



All employees who meet basic eligibility may apply to a CDE program; however, employees in some career fields may also be required to have one of the following on file to apply to some CDE programs: civilian development plan or development plan.


Contact your career field team for specific guidance on the program(s) you wish to apply, and whether a career development plan or development plan is required.


For up-to-date CDE information, visit the Civilian Force Development page on myPers from a CAC-enabled computer, or select “Civilian Employee” from the myPers dropdown menu and search “developmental education.” Required documents, application instructions, a list of CDE opportunities and other criteria are available on the page.


The Civilian Strategic Leader Program (CSLP) is the Air Force civilian enterprise developmental program designed to provide selected GS-13 through GS-15s with a leadership opportunity that will complement their functional expertise. Applications are pre-screened by the AFPC CSLP office and if eligibility criteria are met, packages are forwarded to respective functional Development Teams (DT) for vectoring. DT endorsed nominations are forwarded to the Air Force Selection Board for consideration.

GS-14 and GS-15 and equivalent applicants must apply through the CDE/CSLP call via MyVECTOR.

Eligible permanent GS-13 and equivalent Air Force employees may apply for the open vacancy for GS-0301-14 installation level assignments (i.e., Deputy Director for Installation Support (DDIS)/Executive Director/Director of Staff) under the Civilian Strategic Leader Program portfolio. GS-13 and equivalent employees will be required to ALSO apply through the open vacancy announcement in USAJobs and MyVECTOR.

Information on CSLP eligibility, nomination procedures and forms may be found on the myPers Civilian Force Development website


The Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program (ESEP) is a USAF effort to promote international cooperation in military research, development, and acquisition through the exchange of defense scientist and engineers. It provides an on-site working assignment for GS-12/13 and equivalent civilian engineers and scientists in allied and friendly governments' organizations and the reciprocal assignment of foreign engineers and scientists in US defense establishments. GS-14/15 and equivalent may be considered with an ESEP waiver.

Applications must be submitted via MyVECTOR.

Applications are pre-screened by the CDE Office and if eligibility criteria are met, packages are forwarded to functional communities’ DT for vectoring.  DT endorsed nominations are forwarded to the Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs (SAF/IA) to be boarded and matched to the appropriate country based on political-military and technology considerations.

Information on ESEP eligibility, nomination procedures and forms may be found on the myPers Civilian Force Development website. 

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