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Senior Leader Builds Capacity for Partner Engagements through AFCLC’s GOPAC Course

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  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

Lt. Gen. Johnny Lamontagne, Deputy Commander of United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, recently completed the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s General Officer Pre-Assignment Acculturation Course, or GOPAC.

Designed to prepare Air Force general officers for key overseas operational and staff assignments, GOPAC provides formal, tailored instruction on culture and region with some focus on language and communication skills.

Lamontagne felt very “new” at the beginning of the course but became increasingly familiar with the material as the course progressed. As a result, he now feels able to go to a new depth on relevant issues related to the AFRICOM AOR.

“When I first started, I admittedly didn’t know what I didn’t know. The AFCLC team taught me a great deal about Africa in a short amount of time.  They were incredibly generous with both their time and the team of experts they assembled to make me smarter,” he explained. “Even with a limited number of sessions on a huge continent, I benefited greatly from knowing the rest of the story. Sessions with deeper dives on today’s security issues were the greatest value and where I want to continue to delve into.” 

Before transitioning to his current role as the Deputy Commander of Air Forces Europe and Africa, Lamontagne previously had some experience on the European continent but less exposure to the African continent. He explained this course “helped build my foundation and, therefore, improved my ability to engage with our counterparts on the continent.” 

He continues to engage senior leaders across the continent, and the GOPAC team had a strong influence on accelerating those engagements.  

“I did not know of this Air Force capability before AFCLC Director Mr. (Howard) Ward reached out to me, so I am happy to help get the word out,” he said. “I am already spreading the word among my team and am willing to contribute in other ways.”

Lamontagne wrapped up his overall experience by expressing his excitement and gratitude for having the opportunity to undergo the training and the flexibility he received from the team to execute the course over several weeks. He especially appreciated the classified session that featured Ambassador Andre and the other experts who contributed to the course.

“It was well done and greatly appreciated. I am better for it,” he said.

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