AFCLC, Air Force Culture and Language Center, Air Force's Global Classroom

LEAP Requirements & Application Info

Benefits of LEAP

#1 - Develop / Maintain Your Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Skills

You are invested in one or more foreign languages through academic study, travel, cultural immersion, growing up in a foreign country, and/or living in a multi-lingual household. Why put your skills on a shelf? Develop and sustain them as a LEAP scholar (see LEAP Spotlight series).

LEAP develops and sustains language and cross-cultural skills in two primary ways:

eMentor: Online synchronous language courses (targeting growth in all four modalities: listening, speaking, reading, and writing), which explore culturally relevant topics and are scheduled on days / times that work with your schedule, taught by gifted and engaging native-level language instructors.

Language Intensive Training Events (LITEs): Periodic temporary duty (TDY) immersions, averaging 30 days, involving classroom learning with other service members (often in a target language country) and / or via Department of Defense sponsored bilateral and international exercises, conferences, or mobile training team events.

The Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC) provides flexible scheduling for all courses, working around the LEAP scholar’s schedule, training, and mission needs. The AFCLC understands that career field requirements and technical training take priority.

#2 – Obtain Rewarding Assignments and TDYs

Through LEAP, the AFCLC connects service members to language-designated opportunities and events. Being a part of LEAP distinguishes the service member within their career field and opens doors to:

 • Serving as a Foreign Area Officer (Regular Air Force or Reserve).

• Serving as a Bilateral Affairs Officer in the Air National Guard (ANG) in support of a State Partnership Program (SPP).

• Supporting mobility advisory and security cooperation missions.

• Providing medical advisement and assistance through the International Health Specialist program.

 • Serving as an Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) agent.

• Teaching at schools such as the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA) and United States Air Force Academy.

• Participating in a Military Personnel Exchange Program (MPEP).

• Contributing through your primary Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) as the subject matter expert on language and culture.

#3 – Earn the LEAP Special Experience Identifier (SEI)

LEAP scholars who attain the required level of proficiency and experience are awarded the LEAP Special Experience Identifier (SEI), which is used by force managers to identify qualified service members for assignments and other opportunities. In addition, the LEAP SEI is used to qualify LEAP scholars for Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus (FLPB) pay. For more information, see AFI 36-4005.

LEAP Cadet Application and Selection

The purpose of this correspondence is to inform commanders and potential applicants of the 2023 LEAP cadet selection process.  Eligible candidates may submit an application during the 2023 LEAP application window, 30 January – 10 March 2023.  Application packages must conform to all requirements and must be submitted on time.  This includes submission of scores from a Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) and/or Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), which often takes several months to schedule and requires cadet access to a Department of Defense testing facility.  The 2023 LEAP cadet selection board is scheduled for 11-12 April 2023.  Candidates and their commanders will be notified of the results approximately 60 days after the board concludes.

LEAP is designed to deliberately develop language-enabled, cross-culturally competent service members across Air Force specialties to enhance the application of air power and fill global mission requirements.  The AFCLC selects Airmen who exhibit demonstrated language ability and commitment, develops and sustains Language Regional Expertise and Culture skills throughout a career, and postures them for utilization in assignments, professional military education, and deployments.  Please see the Benefits of LEAP (Attachment 1) to learn more about how this program can enhance service members’ careers. 

To become a LEAP scholar, cadets must meet specific requirements identified in the Eligibility Criteria and Application Instructions (listed below) and compete via a board process.  Selection to LEAP is based on an applicant’s academic history, existing language proficiency, intercultural knowledge, cross-cultural experience, the potential to achieve higher levels of language proficiency, and Department of Defense language requirements. 


Eligibility Criteria and Application Instructions

 

Who may Apply:

  • USAF officer candidate seniors commissioning in the 2023 calendar year via the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFROTC) or the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). 
  • Second Lieutenants who commissioned via AFROTC during the 2022 calendar year and who will not have entered active duty as of 11 April 2023.
  • Cadets applying for commissioning to the U.S. Space Force are not eligible to apply for LEAP during this application cycle.

Application Site:

USAFA and AFROTC applicants will need to download a Portable Document Format (PDF) of the application from the AFCLC website at https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/AFCLC/Language-Studies/Application-Info/. To safeguard Personal Identifying Information (PII):

  • USAFA applicants shall submit a complete application package via encrypted email to AFCLC.LEAP.Selection@us.af.mil.
  •  AFROTC applicants shall provide their complete application to a detachment staff or cadre member for submission via encrypted email to AFCLC.LEAP.Selection@us.af.mil

Application Format:  The following documents, saved as PDFs are required for a complete application package:

A.  Application form PDF (via AFCLC website).

                https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/AFCLC/documents/FY23%20LEAP%20Cadet%20Application.pdf

B.  All college transcripts listing all courses taken and the associated grade for each course (unofficial post-secondary copies are acceptable).  Certificates from foreign language schools are optional.  Transcripts and certificates must be legible and upright (not upside down or sideways).

C.  Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) for Listening and Reading and/or Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) for Speaking.  Applicants must provide score reports for all languages in at least two of the three modalities.

All Arabic language applicants must provide test cores for Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Applicants are also highly encouraged to provide test scores in an Arabic dialect.

  • DLPT / OPI scores provide a baseline measurement for all applicants.  Scores from other testing systems are not a suitable replacement for a DLPT/OPI score.
  • If the DLPT Listening and Reading tests are available for a given language, applicants must provide scores for both. 
  • If either Listening or Reading tests are unavailable for a given language under the DLPT, applicants must provide an OPI score to fulfill the 2 of 3 modality requirement. 
  • Submission of DLPT/OPI scores is highly encouraged for all languages, which may enhance the applicant's opportunity for selection.
  • For purposes of the 2023 Board, the latest DLPT/OPI scores submitted must have been certified on or after 10 April 2021.  If Listening and Reading tests are available for a given language, applicants must provide scores for both. 
  • DLPT / OPI scores of 1 or higher in two modalities are required.  Exceptions:  Scores of 1+ or higher in two modalities are required for the following languages only:

 

Afrikaans

Haitian Creole

Portuguese Brazilian / European

Danish

Indonesian

Romanian

Dutch

Italian

Spanish

French

Malay

Swahili

German

Norwegian

Swedish

 

The applicant’s Detachment Commander for AFROTC or Air Officer Commanding (AOC) for USAFA should submit an endorsement directly through the LEaDeR site before the closing of the application window.  Endorsements will include an assessment of the applicant’s professional qualities and a “push note” statement (maximum 500 characters).  AFROTC Detachment Commanders without access to LEaDeR should contact the AFCLC Selection Manager for alternate means of submitting the endorsement at AFCLC.LEAP.Selection@us.af.mil.

Endorsement by a supervisor is optional.  For the LEAP application process, the supervisor may be one of the cadet’s military professors, cadre members, or training instructor.

Application Review: The following process will be used to track and determine application eligibility:

Step 1  – AFCLC staff will trasnscribe all applications submitted via e-mail, into the LEaDeR program.

Step 2 – Once an application is loaded and submitted in LEaDeR, the system will generate a confirmation email with an endorsement invitation to the Det CC/AOC and designated supervisor based on the email inputs provided in the application.

Step 3 – The Commander/Supervisor designated by the applicant will receive an automated endorsement reminder on or after 28 Feb 2023, if required.

Step 4 – The AFCLC will review cadet applications thoroughly to determine eligibility/non-eligibility on or after 11 March 2023. Applicants and their Commanders/Supervisors will receive a status update email.

Step 5 – If you do not receive these automated updates by 31 March 2023, your application has not been processed. To ensure your application is considered, immediately contact the AFCLC at AFCLC.Leap.Selection@us.af.mil.

NOTE:  Applications containing unreadable or incorrectly aligned (sideways or upside down) documents will be marked "ineligible" for consideration.

LEAP Application and Selection Process

*FY23 Active Duty Guidance projected release will be Feb 2023*
Applicable to: All Airmen and Guardians

MPFs: No action required, as this is an online process, except to advise Airmen/Guardians

The purpose of this article is to inform General Purpose active-duty Airmen and Guardians and their commanders of the 2022 LEAP Officer and Enlisted selection process. Eligible candidates may apply during the period of 2 May 2022 thru 15 July 2022. Applications must conform to all requirements and must be submitted on time. This includes submission of the results of a Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) and/or Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), which often takes several months to schedule at a Department of Defense testing facility. The enlisted selection board will take place 16-17 August 2022, and the officer selection board will take place 18-19 August 2022. Candidates and their Commanders will be notified of the results approximately 60 days after the board convenes.

 LEAP is an AFCLC program that deliberately develops language-enabled, cross-culturally competent service members across General Purpose Force specialties to enhance the application of Air and Space power through strengthened partnerships, interoperability, and adversary understanding. The AFCLC selects willing and able LEAP Scholars, develops and sustains their Language Regional Expertise and Culture (LREC) skills over the course of a career and postures them for utilization in assignments, contingencies, and deployments. LEAP provides Airmen and Guardians with the education and training required to reach desired proficiency levels and utilize their skills with little time away from their units and positions.

Development

LEAP develops and sustains language and cross-cultural skills through periodic courses. eMentor Courses are online synchronous language courses taught by native-level instructors. Language Intensive Training Events (LITEs) are periodic temporary duty immersions averaging 30 days, involving classroom learning (often in a target language country) with other service members and/or via Department of Defense-sponsored bilateral and international exercises, conferences or mobile training team events. The AFCLC provides flexible scheduling for all courses, working around the LEAP Scholar’s training availability and mission needs.

Utilization

Through LEAP, the AFCLC connects service members to language-designated opportunities and events. Being a part of LEAP distinguishes the service members within their career fields and opens doors to:

 · Serving as a Foreign Area Officer

· Supporting mobility advisory and security cooperation missions

· Providing medical assistance through the International Health Specialist program

· Serving as an Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent

· Teaching at schools such as the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, Inter-European Air Forces Academy and United States Air Force Academy

· Participating in a Military Personnel Exchange Program

 · Serving in other Language Designated Positions

Special Experience Identifier (SEI)

LEAP Scholars who attain the required level of proficiency and experience are awarded the LEAP SEI, which is used by force managers to identify qualified service members for assignments and other opportunities. In addition, the LEAP SEI is used to qualify LEAP Scholars for Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus pay. For more information, see AFI 36-4005.

Eligibility

 

Eligibility Criteria

Enlisted

Officers

Components

Regular Air Force (RegAF) and Space Force

Regular Air Force (RegAF) and Space Force

Ranks

SrA thru CMSgt

Spc4 thru CMSgt

All ranks

Minimum Time in Service (TIS)

4 years as of 16 August 2022

No minimum TIS

Maximum TIS or

Commissioned Service

Applicants who have more than 16 years TIS as of 16 August 2022 will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Applicants who have more than 16 years commissioned service as of 18 August 2022 will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Remaining TIS

Applicants must indicate their intent to remain in the service for an additional two years or more

Applicants must indicate their intent to remain in the service for an additional two years or more

Technical Training

Completion of 5-Skill Level and Career Field Education and Training Plan (CFETP) requirements

N/A

AFSC Exclusions

1N3 and 1A8X1 career fields

16F and 16Z – Foreign Area Officers

 

 

Application

Applying through the Language Enabled Development Resource (LEaDeR) will require the use of a Common Access Card (CAC) and Air Force (AF) Portal account. Applicants who need to create or update their AF Portal account will be redirected to the AF Portal upon initial access attempt. An application submitted via LEaDeR at https://leader.sso.cce.af.mil with the following is required:

a. Responses to four questions (200 words maximum) that address one’s LREC skill development and their plan for further development and utilization of those skills in support of air and/or space missions

b. Single Unit Retrieval Format (SURF)

c. DLPT and/or OPI score report. The following guidelines have been updated for 2022, so applicants are advised to read carefully:

1. If listening and/or reading tests are available for a given language, applicants must provide scores for both. If listening and/or reading tests are not available for a given language, applicants must provide OPI scores. Submission of OPI scores is highly encouraged for all languages.

2. All Arabic language applicants must provide test scores for Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Applicants are also highly encouraged to provide test scores in an Arabic dialect.

 3. For purposes of the 2022 Board, scores of 3 or higher must have been certified on or after 16 July 2019. Scores of 2+ or lower must have been certified on or after 16 July 2020.

4. DLPT/OPI scores of 1 or higher in two modalities are required. Exceptions: Scores of 1+ or higher in two modalities are required for the following languages only:

Afrikaans

Haitian Creole

Portuguese Brazilian/European

Danish

Indonesian

Romanian

Dutch

Italian

Spanish

French

Malay

Swahili

German

Norwegian

Swedish

 

d. Three most recent, signed/finalized Performance Reports (OPR/EPR), Training Reports or combination. To ensure reports are accessible in LEaDeR, applicants MUST print, then scan their Performance Reports into one new PDF document. Otherwise, certain versions of Adobe and/or certain web browsers may prevent board members from successfully accessing the reports through LEaDeR and the application will be rendered ineligible.

e. College transcripts listing all courses taken and the associated grade for each course (unofficial post-secondary copies are acceptable). If an officer or enlisted member has degrees listed on their SURF, they must provide the transcripts for those degrees. Certificates from foreign language schools are optional.

f. An endorsement submitted through the online application site from one’s unit Commander or Director is mandatory. Endorsements by a supervisor are optional but highly encouraged for all applicants. A quality endorsement (push note) highlights the applicant’s professional qualities, standing among peers, academic record, leadership qualities and potential for future growth and development through LEAP. The endorsement (narrative block) is limited to 500 characters.

NOTE: All applications that contain unreadable or incorrectly aligned (sideways or upside down) documents will be marked “ineligible” for consideration.

Selection Process

The annual selection target for officers, enlisted, and cadets is 400 LEAP Scholars based on Air Force Senior Language Authority (SLA) guidance. The LEAP Selection Board consists of leaders who represent a cross-section of LREC specialist, policy and force management communities. Board members review applicant packages and assign a score based on their assessment of the applicant’s attitude, aptitude, and record of performance. The AFCLC develops an order of merit list based on each individual's board score and potential to fill future language requirements, including Language-Designated Positions and low-density languages on the Air Force Strategic Language List (SLL). The AFCLC assigns each LEAP Scholar a "Selected" or Control Language (CLANG) based on the individual’s documented proficiencies and service needs. The SLA is the approval authority for LEAP Selection Board results.

Additional Guidance

For more information on LEAP, please visit the AFCLC’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Additionally, please contact the AFCLC at afclc.leap.selection@us.af.mil or reference the website at https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/AFCLC/.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

SECTION I – Program Overview

Q: What is the purpose of LEAP?

A: The purpose of LEAP is to deliberately develop language-enabled, cross-culturally competent Airmen in Air Force specialties to enhance the application of air power and fill global mission requirements. LEAP provides Airmen with the education and training required to reach desired proficiency levels with as little time away from their units and positions at a lower cost over an acceptable time period. LEAP selects willing and able Airmen, develops and sustains Language Regional Expertise and Culture (LREC) skills throughout a career and postures them for utilization in assignments, contingencies, and deployments.

 

Q: Who manages LEAP?

A: The AFCLC manages LEAP for the United States Air Force, to include tracking administrative records, executing training, and performing other related tasks. The AFCLC is organized under Air University and Air War College, located at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

 

Q: How and why did LEAP originate?

A: In 2005, the Office of the Secretary of Defense released the Defense Language Transformation Roadmap, which charged the services to create a bench of language-capable personnel within the Air Force. In 2009, the Air Force Senior Language Authority (SLA) directed AFCLC to initiate LEAP, a career-spanning program to develop a cadre of Airmen across all specialties with working-level foreign language proficiency and cross-cultural competency. In 2013, LEAP was designated a Program of Record.

 

Q: Does LEAP support Guardians?

A: The AFCLC provides language courses to U.S. Space Force members previously selected through the LEAP Board process. However, per Headquarters Air Force guidance, the AFCLC will not select Guardians to LEAP as part of the 2023 selection window.


SECTION II - Application

 

Q: What questions are asked in the LEAP application?

A: Applicants are required to address the following:

- What activities or initiatives have you participated in to maintain or increase your foreign

language skills?

- Provide example(s) and key lessons learned from your cadet experience and/or personal life that demonstrates your cross-cultural competency.

- Describe how your LREC experiences have contributed or could contribute to the effective

execution of air power.

- List any experience you have using your foreign language in locations outside the U.S., ideally an experience involving the language/culture in which you are applying to LEAP.

 

Q: What should I address in my application comments?

A: When writing your narrative, address how you have developed your LREC skills and how you intend to further develop and utilize those skills in the future in support of air missions. Give examples that demonstrate the use of language and cultural knowledge on an ongoing basis. Explain your motivation for enhancing your language skills, intercultural knowledge, and cross-cultural competency. Give examples of how you think understanding other nations’ languages and cultures might contribute to mission success. Finally, communicate how you see your language(s) and cultural knowledge being a value-added resource to the Air Force.

 

Q: How important are the application documents?

A. Very important. The application package is the basis on which the board will determine an

individual’s candidacy. Consequently, attention to detail and compliance with directions are critically important. Both qualities reflect the kind of officer who will excel in LEAP. Board members have limited time to evaluate a candidate; errors will lead to ineligibility or lower scores.

 

Q: What should my USAFA/AFROTC leadership consider when writing my endorsement?

A: A quality endorsement (push note) highlights the applicant’s professional qualities, standing among peers, academic record, leadership qualities, and potential for future growth and development through LEAP. The endorsement (narrative block) is limited to 500 characters.

 

Q: Do I have to take the DLPT/OPI to apply to the program?

A: Yes. Applicants must possess Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) and/or Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) scores in at least two modalities. For purposes of the 2023 Board, the latest DLPT/OPI scores submitted must have been certified on or after 10 April 2021. If Listening and Reading tests are available for a given language, applicants must provide scores for both. If either Listening or Reading tests are unavailable for a given language under the DLPT, applicants must provide an additional OPI score to fulfill the 2 of 3 modality requirement.

 

Q: Why are minimum DLPT/OPI scores established?

A: Data has shown that cadets who enter LEAP with a DLPT/OPI at the 1 level or higher have a greater chance of success in reaching a 2 or higher proficiency level in accordance with Air Force requirements. Therefore, a score of 1 or higher in two modalities is required for most languages, and a 1+ or higher in two modalities is required for Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Haitian Creole, Indonesian, Italian, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swahili, and Swedish.

 

Q: How do AFROTC cadets schedule a DLPT?

A: AFROTC cadets, with the assistance of detachment staff, are encouraged to plan and schedule their DLPTs (and OPIs, as appropriate) early in the academic year. AFROTC cadets may take the DLPT at any testing location supported by the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).

 

Q: Will the AFCLC consider any of the following:

- Waiver of eligibility requirements

- Extensions or submission of application documents after the deadline

- Change of endorsements after the deadline

- Post-deadline edit of one's application

- Appeals to the board's decision

A: No. The AFCLC will not consider any requests.

 

Q: How many times may I apply for LEAP?

A: Qualified individuals may apply as often as necessary, providing they meet the program requirements. The AFCLC also annually holds an active duty board for eligible enlisted personnel and officers.


SECTION III - Selection

 

Q: How many LEAP scholars are selected per year?

A: The AFCLC recruits, selects, and on-boards scholars with the objective of building and sustaining an inventory that exceeds 1% of the active duty force. The total annual selection target for officers, enlisted, and cadets is 400 LEAP scholars per year based on Air Force Senior Language Authority (SLA) guidance.

 

Q: Who reviews LEAP applications?

A: AFCLC staff members review applications to determine compliance with program guidance. The LEAP Selection Board consists of leaders representing a cross-section of LREC specialist, policy, and force management communities. Board members review applicant packages and assign a score based on their assessment of the applicant’s attitude, aptitude, and performance record.

 

Q: How are applicants selected for LEAP?

A: The AFCLC develops an order of merit list based on each individual's board score and potential to fill future language requirements, including Language-Designated Positions and low-density languages on the Air Force Senior Language List (SLL). The AFCLC assigns each LEAP scholar a "Selected" or Control Language (CLANG) based on the individual’s documented proficiencies and service needs. The SLA is the approval authority for LEAP Selection Board results.

 

Q: What languages does the board consider for the program?

A: The Board considers applicants in languages listed on the Air Force Strategic Language List (SLL). The Air Force SLL dated 1 July 2015 describes languages in which the Air Force has requirements authorized in out-years and strategic languages of interest. The Air Force SLL is based on the Department of Defense SLL and is expanded to align with validated Air Force requirements. The Air Force SLL is For Official Use Only (FOUO) and may be obtained from one's Test Control Officer at each installation’s education office.

 

Q: If I am accepted to LEAP for one of my languages, may I train later in another language?

A: The AFCLC will consider cross-training LEAP scholars in any language listed on the Air Force SLL by meeting either of two conditions: a) the cross-training language is a low-density language, or b) the cross-training language is prevalent in the force, and the member’s current or projected assignment requires the requested cross-training language.


SECTION IV - LEAP Commitment

 

Q: Are Air Reserve Component (ARC) members eligible to participate in LEAP?

A: Yes. Cadets commissioned into the Reserves or Guard may participate in LEAP (eMentor courses space available).

 

Q: If selected, will the applicant be reassigned or deployed?

A: The AFCLC does not determine or have any involvement in selecting members for assignments or deployments. However, LEAP scholars may be identified by force managers based on the award of the LEAP Special Experience Identifier (SEI). The LEAP SEI identifies Airmen in the Air Force personnel system for filling language-designated positions via assignments, deployments, and TDYs.

 

Q: What time commitment is expected of a LEAP scholar?

A: LEAP is a volunteer program that occurs outside of normal duty requirements. Airmen are expected to complete online eMentor courses every 2-4 years, depending on their proficiency level. Courses are delivered in 40-hour and 12-hour modules, with four hours of class every week. In addition, the AFCLC offers Language Intensive Training Events (LITEs), averaging 30 days, to Airmen who qualify. To participate in a LITE a LEAP scholar must first obtain their commander's approval.

 

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Important Dates

Application and LEAP Board Schedule
 

2023 Cadet Application Submission Window

  • 30 Jan - 10 Mar 2023

​​2023 Cadet Board

  • ​11 - 12 Apr 2023

2023 Active Duty Application Submission Window

  • 1 May - 14 Jul 2023

2023 Active Duty Board

  • Enlisted (15-16 Aug 2023)
  • Officers (17-18 Aug 2023)