by Senior Airman Krystal Jeffers
502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
5/28/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Chief
Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody hosted an international senior
enlisted leader summit May 13-16 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
Command chiefs and senior enlisted leaders from around the Air Force
participated in the summit. They were joined by senior enlisted leaders
from the air forces of 24 countries, many the equivalent of the chief
master sergeant of the Air Force.
"Our Air Force, and the entire Department of Defense, has always
recognized the value of our international partnerships," Cody said.
"Over time those relationships have become increasingly more important
and we've seen the impact in operations around the globe. We want to
build on those partnerships. We want to develop them and use them to
strengthen our team."
Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Education and Training Command, opened
the summit by sharing his thoughts on the importance of the exchange.
"It's how we support each other, whether it is humanitarian assistance
or combat operations," Rand said. "It is how we preserve our freedom and
take care of those in need. I think that one of the best things about
(this summit) is the opportunity to exchange ideas and to learn from
Both the senior leaders from the U.S. and allied countries echoed Rand's
thoughts in regards to exchanging knowledge and experience.
"The more we get together to share ideas and learn from each other, the
stronger the partnerships become and the greater we are as a combined
force accomplishing common goals around the world," Cody said.
"I think we have a lot to learn from each other," said Warrant Officer
of the Royal Australian Air Force Mark Pentreath. "I don't think any
service or any country has it perfect. This summit is quite unique;
bringing together people from Europe, Asia, and other parts of the
world. We have very different cultures and training, but we all have the
same goal and are very proud to be in (our respective) air force. We
have the same love for our air force and country, the same pride."
Over the three-day summit, the group had the opportunity to observe
practices and discuss in-depth and share their thoughts on a wide range
of topics. During the opening comments, Rand shared his top priorities
as the AETC commander: "the mission, the Airmen who do the mission, the
families who support the Airmen, our core values which are fundamental
to us, and our heritage which can inspire and enforce our core values."
Some of the other topics covered include how to care for military
families as defense budgets are minimized, the U.S. Air Force core
values and Airmen's Creed, recruiting, professional development, how
basic military training instructors are adapting to changes in BMT and
developing character in Airmen.
"The majority of the discussions focused on the professional development
of our enlisted force," Cody said. "We talked about strategic
international enlisted development, training and education and how you
shape those core concepts to strengthen the force. We also talked about
sexual assault prevention and resiliency, and we shared some of the
challenges we face in our air forces and how we are working to eliminate
those from the ranks.
"Every time you have these discussions there is information from other
nations that you can pull out and consider adopting in our own
approaches," Cody continued. "So, it all contributes to the growth of
the enlisted force, both here and around the world."
The United Kingdom Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New
Zealand Air Force and U.S. Air Force each presented how they train,
educate and develop their enlisted airmen. The presentations were
followed by a question-and-answer session and discussions.
As part of the summit, the group toured both the old basic military
training dormitories and the new Airman Training Complexes, the Basic
Expeditionary Airman Skills Training site at the JBSA-Lackland Medina
Annex, and the security forces technical school.
United Kingdom Master Aircrew Duncan Hide, North Atlantic Treaty
Organization Air Command, said he enjoyed seeing how the U.S. does their
training and seeing the difference from the old dormitories and the new
ATCs. He noted that there were a lot of similarities between the U.S.'s
eight-week BMT program and the U.K.'s 10-week training program;
however, the biggest difference was the large scale on which the U.S.
Air Force trains recruits.
During the tour of BMT facilities, the senior leaders had the opportunity to speak to trainees and observe a BMT graduation.
Pentreath said that one of his favorite parts of the summit was learning
what recruits thought about the training. He could see that the
trainees held great respect for their MTIs and how much they loved their
air force, a feeling he shared for his own air force.
In addition to viewing how the U.S. Air Force recruits and trains
Airmen, the summit also included visiting the Inter-American Air Forces
Academy and the Defense Language Institute English Language Center, both
of which trains foreign military members. IAAFA provides 34 courses
taught in Spanish covering professional military development, aircraft
maintenance, logistics and other similar training to members of the
armed forces of the Americas and annually graduates 800 partner-nation
students. The curriculum at DLIELC acculturates and trains international
military personnel to communicate in English so they can instruct
English language programs in their country. DLIELC annually graduates
"JBSA is an ideal location for international exchanges," Cody said. "We
have phenomenal organizations here in the IAAFA and the DLIELC, which
provide a venue for different nations to come together and learn from
and with each other in a common environment. There is also the benefit
of what we do here in regards to our enlisted development. When you look
at recruiting, training and education ... it all begins here. So, this
is a great location and venue to see firsthand the way we develop our
enlisted force, and use that a starting point as we discuss enlisted
development on a global scale."