New chiefs receive leadership knowledge at Gunter

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Since the first class began in February 2005, more than 3,000 new chief master sergeants and chief selects have graduated the Chiefs Leadership Course at Gunter's Senior NCO Academy.

Chief Master Sgt. Cathy Johnson, SNCOA vice commandant, said the course in very important because it provides the chiefs with a strategic look at and a connection to top senior enlisted leaders of the Air Force.

She said the CLC curriculum was developed in 2004 at the direction of the then Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force to furnish a strategic perspective of the Air Force as an organization and its mission to newly selected chief master sergeants.

"The course provides our newest chief master sergeants with foundational strategic-level knowledge that is invaluable to the employment of air and space forces in support of national security. It is very helpful because it provides Chiefs with a broader perspective on institutional objectives and strategies," Chief Johnson said. "I went through the first course in 2005 and got exactly that out of CLC. There were a few things I didn't know when I started, such as how my role as a senior enlisted leader is integral to the overall support and execution of our national objectives."

Chief Johnson said the course is divided into three categories of discussion: developing chief master sergeant; the expeditionary chief master sergeant; and the senior enlisted leader and manager. She said CLC is held twice a year, in March and September, and is eight academic days long.

"We also address Air Force competencies such as employing military capabilities; enterprise perspective; Airman culture; leading people; and strategic thinking," Chief Johnson said. "This course is another professional development opportunity for senior enlisted leadership, and the hope is that all new chiefs and chief selects will go through the course. It will make better leaders, strategic thinkers and mentors of them."

The chief said the course is open to all new chiefs, or those who haven't been a chief for more than two years, and all chief master sergeant selects. She said it is not required that chief selects take the course before they pin-on chief, but most will complete CLC within the first year after pinning on.

"Another big advantage of the course is interaction with fellow Airmen," Chief Johnson said. "CLC is a wonderful opportunity to network and exchange information with other leaders from across the Air Force, and that is really one of the most valuable assets of the course."