The Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC) was founded at Air University in April 2006, embracing the Air Force Chief of Staff's intention to improve Airmen's cross-cultural competence. In April 2007, the Air Force further demonstrated its commitment to culture learning by selecting cross-cultural competence as the centerpiece of Air University's re-accreditation efforts.
In December 2007, the Center was made responsible for culture and language training, as well as education, across the entire Air Force. In October 2009, the Air Force Senior Language Authority directed AFCLC to initiate the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP), a career-spanning program to develop a cadre of Airmen across all specialties with working-level foreign language proficiency.
AFCLC's efforts are guided by Air Force Policy Directive 36-40 and Air Force Instruction 36-4005, as well as numerous Joint guidance documents.
The Department will have the required combination of language skills, regional expertise and cultural capabilities to meet current and projected needs.
The Air Force Culture and Language Center creates and executes language, region and cultural learning programs for Total Force Airmen, and provides the Service with the subject matter expertise required to institutionalize these efforts.
The Air Force Culture and Language Center will lead the U.S. Air Force in building a cross-culturally competent Total Force to meet the demands of the Service's dynamic global mission.
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Walter H. Ward - Director
Mr. Walter H. (Howard) Ward, Jr. is the Director of the Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC) at Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL. The AFCLC is a team of 50 military, federal civilian, and contract personnel that support the application of airpower by enabling seamless operation with many air forces using culture, regional expertise, and language education and training. The AFCLC develops officer and enlisted Airmen proficient in language, culture and negotiation competencies covering 95 languages through the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP). The AFCLC also reaches over 210,000 Airmen per year through online training, Community College of the Air Force-accredited courses, officer professional military education, General Officer pre-deployment training, media operations, and expeditionary culture field guides. Mr. Ward is a retired colonel and Master Navigator with over 4,400 hrs in KC-135A/R/RT, C-130E/H1/H2/H3/J. His most recent operational assignment was Commander, 317th Airlift Group, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. He commanded six squadrons, consisting of 1,200 aviators, maintenance professionals and support personnel, and 28 C-130J aircraft engaged in worldwide combat aerial delivery operations.
Gregory Day - Director of Staff/Deputy Director
Mr. Gregory Day is the Director of Staff and Deputy Director of the AFCLC. He has also served as the Chief of the Culture Branch at the AFCLC. Mr. Day retired from the Air Force after 27 years of service as a First Sergeant, PME Commandant, Military Training Leader and Linguist. He holds a M.S. in Education from California State University, East Bay and a M.S. in Leadership and Management from Liberty University. Mr. Day's current activities include administrative and operational oversight of internal processes, curriculum development for all levels of PME and PCE, and assisting the Director with mission development.
Chris Chesser - Program Manager, Language Distance Learning
Mr. Chris Chesser is assigned as a Language Distance Learning Program Manager. Mr. Chesser provides leadership, policy direction, and oversight for the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP) which focuses on building language, regional expertise, and cultural capabilities for the general purpose force. Mr. Chesser provides management and oversight of eMentor, the Center’s premier online language learning program.
Olin Goodhue - Chief, Education Support Division
Mr. Olin Goodhue is Chief of the AFCLC's Education Support Division. Mr. Goodhue is a retired Air Force officer who served as a rated aircrew member, flight instructor, subject matter expert, curriculum developer, budget planner/programmer and contingency planner. He holds a M.S. in General Administration from Central Michigan University. Mr. Goodhue's activities include operational oversight of Education Management Systems, Course Administration, Assessments, and Outreach.
Sheila Miltersen - Program Manager, Air Force Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program
Ms. Sheila Miltersen the Center’s Foreign Area Officer (FAO) training pipeline manager. She leads a 4-member team in managing the training activities of FAOs, to include in-region immersions for FAO pipeline students. Ms. Miltersen also acts as the de facto Command Language Program Manager (CLPM) for Foreign Area Officers.
Mary Newbern - Chief, Expeditionary Readiness Training Programs
Ms. Mary Newbern, Lt Col (Ret) USAF, is Chief of Expeditionary Readiness Training Programs within AFCLC's Region and Culture Division. Her job duties include researching, designing, developing, and managing courseware production and delivery activities for professional military education and expeditionary skills training venues. Ms. Newbern serves as Program Manager and editor-in-chief for the Air Force's Expeditionary Culture Field Guide (ECFG) development activities. She completed a 28-year active-duty career with the Air Force prior to assuming her current position. Hallmark positions included Commander, 31st Services Squadron and Executive officer, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano AB Italy; Chief of Intelligence, 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ramstein AB Germany; 86th Support Group and 86th Operations Group Executive Officer, 86th Fighter Wing, Ramstein AB Germany; and Intelligence Systems Program Manager, HQ USSOUTHCOM, Quarry Heights, Panama. Ms. Newbern was a career intelligence officer specializing in photographic reconnaissance. She holds a B.A. in English and Journalism, a M.A. in Human Resources Development, and a Graduate Certificate as an Instructional Systems Specialist.
Lt. Col Jorge Avila - Chief, Language Division
Lieutenant Colonel Jorge H. Avila is the Chief of the Language Division, Air Force Culture and Language Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He is responsible for the Language Enabled Airmen Program where he and his team provide the General Purpose Force with career-spanning language and culture education/training opportunities for over 3,000 Airmen, including over 700 Foreign Area Officers, in 85 languages Lieutenant Colonel Avila enlisted in the Air Force as an Electrical and Environmental Journeyman. He later commissioned through the Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program via the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp at California State University, Sacramento. As a Logistics readiness Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Avila has gained a breadth of experience having served in various positions at base, defense agency, combatant command and center level. Prior to his current position, he was the Chief of Inspections at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, California. Lieutenant Colonel Avila was selected as a Language Enabled Airmen Program Scholar in 2011 in European Portuguese and currently maintains a score of 3/2+/2 on the Defense Language Proficiency Test and Oral Proficiency Interview.
Keith J. McCabe – Language Intensive Training Event Program Manager
Mr. Keith McCabe is the Center’s Language Intensive Training Event (LITE) Program Manager. Mr. McCabe leads a multi-functional team overseeing 700 training immersions per year to include language schools, home stay experience, Security Cooperation Office Internships, and language support to Higher Headquarters exercise and operations. In addition, Mr. McCabe also manages the LEAP Scholar oversight for the Advanced Special Emphasis (ASE) program. Finally, Mr. McCabe also manages over 200 Virtual LITE (vLITE) per year.
Gloria Milner – Program Manager, eMentor Language Training
Ms. Gloria is the Center’s eMentor Language Training Program Manager. Ms. Milner leads a multi-functional team overseeing over 1,100 training events per year. eMentor is an online languageprogram that connects LEAP scholars anywhere in the world synchronously with native language instructors, at times convenient for each scholar’s schedule. eMentor lesson content is infused with topics culturally relevant to regions where Airmen and/or Space Force Professionals may be expected to operate seamlessly with air and space forces and populations around the world. Courses enablescholars to not only develop language skills but also apply skills in an operational environment.
Dr. Kristin Bashir
Div Chief/ Dept Chair , Associate Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Middle East North Africa)
Dr. Kristin Bashir is Associate Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies, Middle East North Africa (MENA) at the AFCLC. She holds a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the Institute for Middle East Studies at King's College London with teaching experience at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level in the fields of political science, international studies, theology and religious studies, and ethnicity and nationalism studies. Dr. Bashir's current research interests and teaching repertoire include religious and national identities of MENA region communities with attention to inter-faith relations, cultures, nationalisms, gender, belonging, and memory and peacekeeping.
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Dr. Scott Edmondson
Assistant Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Africa)
Dr. Scott M. Edmondson is Assistant Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Africa) at the AFCLC. He holds a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles, with over eight years of teaching experience in both university (UCLA, Univ. of Michigan) and military settings (USAJFKSWCS, Air University). A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Cote d’Ivoire and Fulbright-Hays Fellow in Ghana, Dr. Edmondson has conducted ethnographic field research in West Africa on popular media production and religious movements, and has worked as a sociocultural intelligence analyst for the 4MISG/US Army Special Operations Command and USAFRICOM. His teaching and research interests include: African religious, media, and security studies; globalization and postcolonial theory; historiography and ethnography; semiotics and narrative analysis; military cross-cultural competence; youth cultures, social media, and radicalization; and cultural property protection/heritage, identity, and conflict.
Dr. Patricia Fogarty
Assistant Professor of Cross-Cultural Relations
Dr. Patricia Fogarty is Assistant Professor of Cross-Cultural Relations at the AFCLC. Dr. Fogarty has worked at AFCLC since 2009, and finished her PhD in Anthropology in 2012. Her dissertation research revolved around the work of an internationally funded development agency in the Republic of Moldova (a former Soviet state). Through the topic of development, she explored Moldovans’ experiences of citizenship, national identity, and corruption. Research conducted since joining AFCLC has included documenting the intercultural experiences of Airmen of all ranks and AFSCs. Teaching and research interests include: general cross-cultural awareness and competence; ethnic and national identity; the effects of corruption on military operations; incorporating cultural property protection into professional military education, exercises, and wargames; civil-military organizational relationships in humanitarian and stability operations; and the use of museums and heritage sites for political ends.
Dr. Angelle Khachadoorian
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Dr. Angelle Khachadoorian is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC). She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Khachadoorian has taught a range of college and graduate level courses for more than eighteen years. She has been at Air University (AU) for seven years. Previously, she taught for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as teaching in several Air Force post-secondary educational settings. Dr. Khachadoorian's research interests include indigenous and tribal cultures, group and individual identity, community memory, culture change and cultural continuity and traditional leadership processes, especially in the ways that tribal groups intersect with nation-states.
Dr. Jessica Jordan
Assistant Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Asia)
Dr. Jessica Jordan is Assistant Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Asia) at the AFCLC. She received her Ph.D. in History (Modern Japan) from the University of California, San Diego and has taught courses on the history of Japan, Micronesia, Southeast Asia, WWII in Asia and the Pacific, and the world since 1500. Her dissertation research involved interviewing several dozen Northern Mariana Islanders about their memories of life under Japanese colonial rule (1914-1945), and she is currently revising chapters for publication as peer-reviewed articles. Her teaching and research interests include: historiography, modern colonialism, nationalism and ethnicity/race, and the politics of memory.
Dr. Elizabeth Peifer
Assistant Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Europe)
Dr. Elizabeth L.B. Peifer is Assistant Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Europe) at the AFCLC. She holds a Ph.D. in European History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has twenty years of university teaching experience in World History and European Studies. Prior to joining the AFCLC, Dr. Peifer served as Director of Faculty Programs for the Associated Colleges of the South. Dr. Peifer specializes in contemporary German society and culture, and her teaching and research interests include: radicalism and extremism; cultural heritage protection in conflict; public memory and national narratives; civil rights; and genocide studies.
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Dr. Susan Steen
Assistant Professor of Cross-Cultural Communication
Dr. Susan Steen is Assistant Professor of Cross-Cultural Communication at the AFCLC. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2007 and held a variety of positions in the field of international education prior to joining AFCLC in 2015. She has traveled widely throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia presenting on topics related to international education and intercultural competence. Dr. Steen’s scholarship involves intercultural, interpersonal, and organizational communication. She uses a communication perspective to examine ways individuals and groups can connect across cultural divides, build resilient communities, and enact inclusion and cultural agility.
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The U.S. Air Force has an enterprise approach to culture and language that involves Headquarters Air Force, Major Commands, direct reporting units and field operating agencies. The Air Force Culture and Language center supports these organizations under the leadership of the Air Force Language, Region and Culture program office. Other stakeholders are found throughout the Air Force, Department of Defense and internationally.
Air Education and Training Command (AETC)
Air Force Medical Service (AFMS)
Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
Air University (AU)
Defense Institute of Security Cooperation Studies (DISCS)
Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA)
Secretary of the Air Force / International Affairs (SAF/IA)
Twenty-Fifth Air Force (25AF)
U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA)
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center (EC)
Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI)
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC)
Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC)
Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO)
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Project Global Officer (GO)
Special Operations Forces Teletraining System (SOFTS)
U.S. Army TRADOC Culture Center (TCC)
U.S. Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL)
U.S. Marine Corps Training and Education Command (TECOM)
U.S. Military Academy (USMA)
U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Languages and Cultures Department
U.S. Navy Center for Language, Regional Expertise and Culture (CLREC)
Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC)
Royal Military College of Canada (RMC)
Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA)
Royal Netherlands Army (Koninklijke Landmacht)
Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
International Military Testing Association (IMTA)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
551 E. Maxwell Blvd, Bldg 500, Maxwell AFB, AL 36112
Air Force Culture and Language Center
551 East Maxwell Blvd, Bldg 500
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112
Commercial Phone: 334-953-7729