AETC Chiefs’ Orientation Course helps newly selected chiefs develop Airmen we need

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  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Air Education and Training Command’s newest Airmen selected for the rank of chief master sergeant will soon lead the Air Force of tomorrow, but not before gaining more knowledge on how to develop the Airmen we need during AETC’s Chiefs' Orientation Course.

“The course is intended to prepare our newest chief master sergeants for the demands of the future fight,” said Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, AETC Command Chief. “We cover the chief’s vital role in translating leader’s direction into specific tasks and responsibilities that their teams can understand and execute. It’s a deliberate way to develop the command’s newest chiefs and successfully transition from tactical and operational leadership to strategic leadership.”

The AETC Chiefs’ Orientation Course starts with understanding the priorities that shape the Air Force, starting with the National Security Strategic Guidance, National Defense Strategy, chief of staff of the Air Force’s direction to accelerate change or lose and chief master sergeant of the Air Force’s focus areas of people, readiness and culture.

“You have such an opportunity now, more than ever to make a huge difference in our Air Force,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne Bass. “We stand on the shoulders of giants and the people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be here, and we owe it to them to make sure that this Air Force continues to be the world’s greatest. We are facing so many challenges in our Air Force today, but through those challenges comes the opportunity for leadership and for leaders like you all, to lead.”

Going from “big to small,” the course then focuses on AETC’s mission to recruit, train and educate exceptional Airmen. The course also highlights AETC’s priorities to advance force development, enhance lethality and readiness, transform the way we learn and cultivate an environment of excellence.

“These priorities are the foundation for future chief master sergeants in AETC who will instill core values and inspire tomorrow’s Airmen,” Thompson said. “Offering a people-first approach, the course helps chiefs to develop the Airmen under their responsibility by equipping them with the tools to improve effectiveness and efficiency by directly addressing bureaucracy, focusing on near-peer competitors and adapt to design changes necessary for success.”

The AETC’s Chiefs' Orientation Course occurs annually and was recently held at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. Current safety considerations for COVID-19 were taken into account and event organizers ensured all Center for Disease Control and Department of Health and Human Services protocols were followed.

“We continue fighting through COVID-19 while navigating the risk-to-force and the risk-to-mission with operational readiness always in mind,” Thompson said. “The AETC Chiefs’ Orientation Course allows us to provide valuable and meaningful content for these enlisted leaders as they prepare to assume new roles and challenges and the training is absolutely critical.”

Also new this year was the addition of a virtual conference for the spouses of the newly selected AETC chief master sergeants.