The National Staff College program was established at Maxwell AFB in 1969 in an effort to provide advanced training for members of Civil Air Patrol in the areas of leadership, management and communication skills. The Maxwell Program utilized the USAF Squadron Officers School facilities and instructors from the Air University and NCO Academy at Gunter AFB. During the first five years, the program was expanded to accommodate up to 200 students each summer. Due to the large number of students desiring to attend and increasing airlift problems, the Pacific Region began a second college in the summer of 1972.
In 1975, a Seminar, made up of Region and Wing Commanders, recommended an even greater expansion of the program. The National Executive Committee acted upon the recommendation and two additional National Staff Colleges were established in 1976; the Eastern Staff College and the Central Staff College.
In 1979, the Eastern Staff College became the Middle East Region Staff College and the Northeast Region Staff College. NERSC was held on the campus of Worcester State College in Worcester, MA until it moved to the NCO Academy at McGuire AFB in 1986.