2024 European Chief Leadership Symposium

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Steven Adkins
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – The Royal Danish Air Force and U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa hosted the second annual European Chief Leadership Symposium at the Kastellet in Copenhagen, Denmark, March 11-22, 2024.

The symposium was tailored to provide region-specific discussion and collaboration to future senior enlisted leaders of NATO Allied and partner nations’ air forces, focusing specifically on strategic thinking and institutional leadership.

Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kwiatkowski, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief, gave prerecorded opening remarks.

“Chief Leadership Symposium was designed on the back of the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Leadership Course to develop the top 1% of our enlisted force into well rounded senior enlisted leaders,” Kwiatkowski said. “My hope is this symposium will better prepare you for those roles and responsibilities, and to do so while standing alongside our powerful Allies and partners and continue our transformational bond of friendship and camaraderie.”

Royal Danish Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Erik Leth, Helicopter Wing Karup command chief, attended the inaugural CLS at Aviano Air Base, Italy, in June 2023. After that experience, he said he was excited to bring the CLS to Denmark.

“Denmark had two students at CLS last year in Aviano and we both felt super excited about the course,” Leth said. “When we had the opportunity to host, we were excited to be able to present Denmark to not only Chief Leadership Academy representatives, but our NATO and Partnership for Peace friends.”

The symposium emphasized leveraging the full power of the enlisted force to address any challenge. A significant portion of the program concentrated on empowering senior noncommissioned officers and senior enlisted leaders to provide strategic-level advice to commanders, enabling them to make the most informed decisions.

More important than the discussed information, according to USAF Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Wiener, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing command chief, is the partnership and friendships built at events like CLS.

“Spending time in a multinational environment like this is always beneficial and it helps us understand that, despite our differences, we all have common goals and shared values that bind us together,” Wiener said. “It also helps build friendships amongst a network of other senior enlisted leaders who you can reach out to for help with everything from executing the commander’s intent to developing the force.”

The symposium was attended by 29 senior noncommissioned officers from 22 different nations including Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S.

The host nation for the next CLS has not been decided, but several CLS attendees expressed interest in bringing the symposium to their countries.