Developing leaders through CLA and Baltic Defence College curriculum collaboration

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady

Air Education and Training Command’s mission is to recruit, train, and educate exceptional Airmen. This role isn’t limited to just Air Force members; the Chiefs Leadership Academy, part of Air University’s Barnes Center for Enlisted Education at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., participated in a three-day virtual planning workshop with the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, Estonia, April 6-8, 2021.

The workshop introduced the academic standards held by Air University and delivered through its schools, including the CLA. The event identified the tasks and expectations for participants, and synchronized efforts in preparation for the Command Senior Enlisted Leadership course, which will occur in Sept. – Dec. 2021.

“One of the driving goals for developing the CSEL course within the multinational military educational forum was to design the course to support the needs of all nations bordering the Baltic Sea,” said Estonia Army Sgt. Maj. Peeter Einbaum, Baltic Defence College Sgt. Maj. “The class of 2021 is expected to include representatives from 14 Nations.” 

During the April workshop, the CLA staff enabled faculty development to prepare new instructors for their once-a-year CSEL course offering.  

“Our role with this engagement was focused on sharing best teaching and learning practices with the module coordinators who will be guiding their organizations through the entire three month curriculum,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Heath Tempel, CLA instructor. “We specifically zeroed in on fostering an environment for healthy exchange between the students, knowing that the subject matter they will be absorbing is very complex and can be viewed from many angles with the variety of countries that will be represented.”

The workshop also allowed participants to refine the curriculum ahead of their fall 2021 course which will bring together CSELs from NATO countries in Baltic regions, Nordic countries, as well as Canada and the U.S.

“The intent was to forge a mutual partnership for development across our militaries,” said Chief Master Sgt. Demetrius Booth, Commandant, Faculty and Staff Development and Enrichment at the Barnes Center. “The lessons we offer at the Baltic Defence College are designed as faculty development and are some of the same principles we teach to our instructors attending the Enlisted Professional Military Education Course, and noncommissioned officers that attend professional enhancement seminars.”

Developmental leadership training shows the strengths of working together with allied partners. 

“It was an honor to connect and partner with the Baltic Defense College,” said Booth. “This event is just the beginning of the story; we look forward to their faculty hosting a virtual session with our SNCOs in coming weeks and the possibility of physical visits to teach a lesson or two in the future.” 

“One of the biggest gifts of military service is perspective,” added Tempel. “I would like to thank the leadership of the Baltic Defence College for allowing us to join them, and I look forward to serving alongside our partners in the future!”

By collaborating together to develop the curriculum and training the module instructors, the CLA and Baltic Defence College pursue the vision of educating exceptional leaders. 

“The higher you go, the more interlinked the international Senior NCO community becomes,” said Einbaum. “Joint educational ventures improve overall cultural awareness, leading to the better harmonization of professional PME and overwhelmingly supporting the further development of interoperability within NATO and its Allies.”