by Tech. Sgt. Brannen Parrish
Air University Public Affairs
5/11/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- More than 370 senior enlisted leaders from the Air Force, joint and coalition community gathered for the Senior Enlisted Leader Summit to focus on strategic enlisted issues the first week of May here.
The theme of this year's summit, "Deliberately Developing Airmen for Global Response," included 30 presentations from representatives of combatant and unified commands, and by Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy said building partnerships with the international community, one of the main focuses of the summit, will benefit Airmen at all levels.
"As we look at deliberately developing Airmen of the future, what is it that they need to be exposed to?" Chief Roy said. "In our view, they need to be exposed to other members of other nation's militaries."
Chief Roy said having senior enlisted leaders from the Air Force and international community together in the same auditorium provided a unique opportunity for learning and sharing.
"We were able to bring all the senior enlisted leaders from around the world, together and give them an update of what's going on around the world and share ideas," Chief Roy said. "Having those partner nations here is all about building relationships. When we desire access to a location, having those relationships helps foster that access."
Royal Australian Air Force Warrant Officer Jason Van Rysbergen said the summit allowed him to network with other senior enlisted leaders and provided him with a new perspective of the U.S. Air Force.
"I was extremely impressed by how empowered the chief master sergeants are, and how respected and revered they are by the senior commanders," he said. "It seems that every commander knows every chief in the room. The summit allowed me to expand my spider's web of networks and form relationships, and friendships that I can take with me."
Chief Roy said he hopes all of the attendees come away with a shared sense of learning and understanding.
"I hope that what they get out of this is that we are here to provide help and learn from one another," Chief Roy said.