The Joint Staff on Feb. 25 will unveil a new vision for developing enlisted leaders, shaping military education to develop noncommissioned officers who can lead joint service members to be better prepared for future wars, the military’s top enlisted leader announced at the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.
“No fight has been unilateral. It has taken a joint effort, a multinational effort, to get after the mission at hand. And that is the model we have to follow from now on,” said Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramón Colón-López, the first Air Force member to serve in the role. “So, the joint perspective is critical to the success of future missions.”
An educated joint force is a more lethal force, so the military’s senior enlisted leaders from each department, including the National Guard and Coast Guard, came together to reshape how troops can learn as their careers develop. Service member’s education needs to be more relevant, pointed, and timely.
The enlisted PME vision, called “Developing Enlisted Leaders for Tomorrow’s Wars” will be unveiled Feb. 25, with the intent to “provide the foundation of expectations from every member fighting a joint war.”
The past 20 years of combat have proved that the military will not fight as individual services. To illustrate this, Colón-López said that when he became the first Airman to serve as SEAC in December 2019, he was stripped of the title of “chief” because the Joint Staff did not want the top enlisted advisor to have a parochial view of leadership.
“That forces any entity in this particular position to learn and know more about what is important in the culture that resides in any particular service,” Colón-López said. “So, when we look at great power competition and the way that we are going to train and fight and equip for future conflicts, it’s going to take a joint approach. What we’re going to do for you because of this necessity is make sure that we give you the right tools to set you up for success.”
The new vision comes as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., in his first directive to the department, said Airmen education needs to change to focus more on potential adversaries such as China.
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, during the vAWS discussion, said the Air Force is at an “inflection point” in its change. The service is the smallest it has ever been, with adversaries growing, she said. The service needs to take advantage of this time to make required changes, including becoming more joint to be ready for the future.
“We have an opportunity now, today more than ever,” she said. “We’ve got to get this right.”
The Air Force is in the “business of growing, developing, and training Airmen to think differently.” These Airmen need to be “resilient and have the grit to be who we need them to be,” Bass said.