DENTON — Air Force Lt. Col. John Dickens and Maj. Aaron Glassburner will both soon add Ph.D. to their already impressive credentials.


The two service members are completing their doctoral degrees at UNT as part of a unique program with the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), a graduate school out of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, that provides professional training and continuing education opportunities for service members.


Much of AFIT’s training is done in-house, but the institute periodically sends students to external universities.


“They send us out to get the breadth of knowledge we wouldn’t necessarily get at a military specific school,” said Glassburner, who, along with Dickens will, soon be using his academic know-how to advance logistical and supply chain planning for the U.S. Air Force.


The goal is to expose those in AFIT to new thinking in logistical operations — including inventory procurement, vehicle maintenance and mobilization of air, ground and sea cargo — that can help the military optimize combat planning and preparation.


“Coming to UNT gives us the analytical ability to do those types of things,” said Dickens about the Air Force’s investment in his education.


Dickens and Glassburner are both in their final of three years at UNT and will graduate in May. For his degree, Glassburner is researching IT’s impact on the behavior of the supply chain, specifically in relation to human decision making.


“When you look at the future of industry and logistics, you start talking about artificial intelligence,” saidGlassburner. “If you want machines to do human thinking and the work people do, you have to understand how human thinking really occurs.”


For his doctoral studies, Dickens is researching value creation and the ways companies can best sell products and services by creating worth for clients and customers. He said understanding how people “think about, capture and exchange value” is key to helping businesses thrive.


After graduation, both men, who are on AFIT’s instructor pipeline, will continue with their remaining five-year commitments with the Air Force, likely first commanding new squadrons, and helping teach the next generation of Air Force logisticians.