Chief Leadership Course 1-Year Update


Air University’s Chief Master Sergeant Leadership course is bridging the gap between operational and strategic thinking after re-implementation in 2016.

The course is the highest level of enlisted professional military education, and uses a blended learning curriculum to educate Air Force, and select sister-service, senior enlisted leaders.

Combining distance and in-residence learning, the curriculum is designed to bridge students' perspectives from operational to the strategic level, and is broken into five modules: Educational Theories, National Security; Strategic Leadership; Synergized Engagement, including strategic thinking, communication and negotiations; and Integrated Development.

“The CLC curriculum serves to vertically expand the chief’s ability to critically analyze competencies and develop strategies to the force through uncertain environments,” said Samuel Whalum Jr., CLC director of education. “Throughout the CLC program the peer groups of chiefs, develop awareness of self and others that foster continuous learning and strengthens the profession of arms.”

After a six-year hiatus, the CLS course will be celebrating its one year anniversary since it’s re-activation in April. The course was first opened in 2004, but discontinued in 2011 due to budget constraints. It was then re-opened in 2013 through distance learning, but also discontinued a year later.

In hopes of beginning the course again for good, three beta classes were conducted last April through September. The course paused from October through December last year to review and apply feedback and data taken from the past three classes.

With the data given, course officials re-wrote and modernized the curriculum to cover the hard hitting areas relevant to the Air Force today.

“The CLC deploys a dynamic curriculum at the executive level that creates and deliver strategic communication to engage, inform, and encourage superiors, subordinates and the public. The source for a successful program is deeply rooted in the master plan, ‘the curriculum,’” said Whalum.

The course helps teach senior enlisted personnel to navigate from a tactical mindset and look at things with a strategic outlook.

“When you are a chief, you are sitting at a table with colonels and general officers, and we are charged to advise them on all the topics that are pertaining to what that job is,” said Chief Master Sgt. Tammy Taylor, CLS course director. “If we can’t think strategically and critically, our advice is then going to fall short.”

Along with a new outlook on solving problems and advising their leaders, Taylor said they leave here with more confidence than they had before the course.

The CLS is the capstone of enlisted professional military education, and joins the U.S. Air Force Noncommissioned Officer and Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academies, the Community College of the Air Force, the Air Force Career Development Academy, the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute, and the USAF First Sergeant Academy under the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education.