AU’s Barnes Center elevates commandant position to command chief following EPME revitalization

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Charles Welty
  • Air University Public Affairs

Air University’s Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education elevated the rank of the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy commandant to Command Chief Master Sgt., June 27, as part of their goal towards revitalizing Air Force enlisted professional military education.


Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Stiles, SNCOA commandant, was joined by Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright after he officially put on the new command chief insignia last Wednesday, symbolizing his increased responsibilities.


“Chief Stiles is absolutely the right leader to continue to build our enlisted PME into a world-class institution,” Wright said. “As we continue to continue to ensure our Airmen have the relevant, realistic professional education infrastructure to prepare them for a full range of operations, Tom is the one we want leading the charge.”


This command chief position became available as the Barnes Center for Enlisted Education (BCEE) merges three major education centers: the Enlisted Professional Military Education Instructor Course (EPMEIC), the SNCOA and the Chief's Leadership Course (CLC).


Stiles was appointed as the 15th SNCOA commandant in March and will now serve as the first command chief to hold this position, overseeing 75 staff and the annual professional education of more than 2,800 students.


“It is only right and proper that (the SNCOA) commandant's rank be elevated to command chief master sergeant in keeping with the significant responsibilities of this key position,” said Col. James Dryjanski, Barnes Center commander. “The SNCOA commandant will continue to report to the commander of the Barnes Center and will play a pivotal role in setting direction, achieving alignment and inspiring commitment across the enlisted PME enterprise, ensuring we remain clearly focused on joint warfighting effectiveness and developing exceptional leaders.”


This change also aligns the Air Force SNCOA with the Army's Sergeant Major Academy and the Navy's Senior Enlisted Academy, whose leaders wear the rank of command sergeant major and command master chief petty officer.


Additionally, the Barnes Center is realigning the CLC and the EPMEIC with the Advanced Leadership Experience to directly report to the SNCOA commandant, Dryjanski said. This alignment places the three course directors under the direct supervision of the (SNCOA) commandant, improving mentorship and synergy across the courses and provides a better delineation of line versus staff responsibilities within the Barnes Center.


"I am truly humbled by this opportunity, but we would be remiss to think we got here on our own, Stiles said “This position was forged through the efforts of all the former commandants, instructors and staff.”


Stiles quoted John of Salisbury from 1159 who reminds us, "We are like dwarves sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours."