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Thought-leader course strives to develop, empower civilian workforce

Amy Russell, Barksdale Global Power Musem director, speaks with Civilian Strategic Throught Leader Course students about the museum’s role in safegaurding bomber history and heritage Nov. 6, 2019, at Barksdale AFB, La.

Amy Russell, Barksdale Global Power Musem director, speaks with Civilian Strategic Throught Leader Course students about the museum’s role in safegaurding bomber history and heritage Nov. 6, 2019, at Barksdale AFB, La. Topics included the Ploesti Oil-Field Bombing Raids of World War II, former U.S. President George W. Bush’s 9/11 visit to Barksdale Air Force Base, and Operation Secret Squirrel (Operation Desert Storm).

en. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander speaks to Civilian Strategic Thought Leader Course students about the importance of the command, its mission and its role as a strategic influencer on the world stage Nov. 6, 2019.

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander speaks to Civilian Strategic Thought Leader Course students about the importance of the command, its mission and its role as a strategic influencer on the world stage Nov. 6, 2019. “At the end of the day we must compete,” Ray said, “and how we think about what we’re up against. It’s not about resources. It’s about attitude, perspective and leadership.”

Attendees of the Air Force Global Strike Command Strategic Thought Leader Course pose for a group photo at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2019

Attendees of the Air Force Global Strike Command Strategic Thought Leader Course pose for a group photo at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 6, 2019. The three-day course aims to promote effective advocacy and lethality for the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tessa B. Corrick)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.—Thirty-eight civilian employees attended Air Force Global Strike Command’s Civilian Strategic Thought Leader Course, here, from Nov. 5-7.

The course aims to produce advocates for the command to promote its mission, capabilities and Airmen. The curriculum exposes students to AFGSC history, heritage, senior leaders and subject matter experts, each speaking to a portion of the command’s primary focus—warfighting and winning against 21st century threats.

By honing this particular demographic’s knowledge and understanding, AFGSC expects to have a civilian workforce that can compete and win in a multi-domain (air, space and cyber) environment.

“We have professional development for our commissioned and enlisted Airmen, but we’ve realized that we need to do more to grow the experience-base of our government civilian employees,” Edward Ford, A9 executive director, said. “This is because our civilians serve as the corporate knowledge for the entire enterprise.”

Air Force Global Strike Command Commander, Gen. Tim Ray, emphasized this point when speaking to the class on day two, connecting the importance of their work to the command’s role in world affairs.

“There are thousands of allied fighters. There are hundreds of allied fifth-generation fighters, but there are no allied bombers. There are no allied ICBMs,” Ray said. “We’re the only nation that brings that capability to the table. So, what you do, what we as a command do, is extremely important.

The class had one eye on future innovation, while students also kept one eye on the past, taking lessons learned from the command’s predecessor— Strategic Air Command, from its inception in 1946 through its Cold War challenges and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Throughout the lesson, Don Koser, AFGSC command historian reminded students that, “history makes you smart, heritage makes you proud,” as he discussed SAC’s continued legacy with its re-activation and redesignation as AFGSC in 2009.

Other subjects included Nuclear Command, Control and Communications, or NC3, a “system of systems” that connects the U.S. President with nuclear and strategic forces under his command. Additionally, U.S. Strategic Command and US Space Command representatives spoke to their respective command’s roles in the nation’s strategic profile.

The class also received a brief from U.S. Navy Lt. Scott Cypher, a submarine officer temporarily assigned to AFGSC as a part of the Striker Trident intern program, which places a naval triad officer in an Air Force triad command and vice versa. Cypher spoke to the intricacies of the U.S. Navy’s portion of the nuclear enterprise and how his experiences here have enabled him to better serve the nation’s strategic forces as well as his branch of service.

With this knowledge, students are expected to go back to their respective AFGSC units with a fresh perspective about how they fit into the larger strategic picture with guidance on how they can tailor their efforts to the command’s priorities.