Inaugural Strategic Leader Course fills gap in PME

  • Published
  • By Brian Ferguson
  • Barnes Center for Enlisted Education

The Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Academy, or CLA, completed its inaugural Strategic Leader Course, designed to prepare chiefs for strategic-level roles and responsibilities, March 24, 2023, on Maxwell Air Force Base - Gunter Annex, Alabama.

Originally beta tested in 2022, SLC provides executive level education for chiefs serving in or vectored to a numbered Air Force, a major command, a combatant command, headquarters Air Force staff or a command chief serving above wing level.

“Course content, duration and location have evolved since the Chief Leader Course-Next conception,” said Kyle Robinette, CLA director of education. “Our beta tests helped us right-size the offering and focus our content to meet the needs of the targeted chiefs.”

The Air Force has not offered specific training or deliberate development to prepare chief master sergeants entering strategic-level positions until now.

"The senior enlisted leader of today must bridge the gap from strategic level decision-makers to the decentralized execution of commander's intent,” Chief Master Sgt. Steve Hart, CLA commandant, said. “Graduates possess a greater understanding of interagency and strategic international partnerships, allowing them to amplify and add value to a commander's strategic vision and priorities."

The two-week course is taught by experienced active-duty and retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeants who hold a master’s level academic or instructional credentials. Subject matter experts from across the DoD, academia and governmental agencies provide premier content and share experiences that help chiefs understand their roles in strategic echelons.

“Enlisted PME is all about exchange and being in alliance and sharing value,” Sergeant Major Peeter Einbaum, Baltic Defense College Sergeant Major and senior mentor for the SLC. “Over the last few days, I’ve realized our enlisted forces are closer than expected, related to challenges and shortfalls that we are all facing. It is an honor to spend this time exchanging practices and further developing our relationship.”

The course prepares graduates to:

  • represent and personify Air Force expertise in all civil and military contexts with deep knowledge of service organization, functions, and domains.
  • advise and lead from an informed perspective on various aspects of strategic and security concerns with emphasis on regional issues, trends, US interests and the instruments of national power.
  • approach complex issues with an enterprise-level focus, mental flexibility and an openness to divergent considerations that optimize mission effectiveness.

SLC is offered twice a year with a capacity of 24-36 students per class. Attendees are nominated through their MAJCOM.

Billy Blankenship, Air University Public Affairs, contributed to this article.