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Following Through: Building the Enlisted Airmen of Tomorrow, Today!

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Israel Nuñez

During the 23rd Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s Change of Responsibility ceremony, Gen. David W. Allvin emphasized the importance of “following through.” During his remarks, he placed special emphasis on the profession of arms and our warrior ethos.

Exemplifying a deep devotion to both of those tenants comes at a sacrifice, but it is through them that we share our most important commonality. Our Airmen exemplify the very best of America because of their commitment to our unique profession and their faithful allegiance to the Constitution.

As we prepare ourselves for Great Power Competition, I continue to believe that our steadfast competitive advantage is, and will continue to be, the human weapon system. The world’s greatest Air Force, unified around a common purpose, reinforced by a powerful and highly capable enlisted force, will continue to provide our nation with strategic depth, lethality and decisive victory when called upon.

The future success of our enlisted corps will be attributed to their elite professionalism, operational competence, and ability to understand and lead in a strategic environment. As your Command Chief, I remain committed to the growth of our enlisted warriors and equipping them with the skills they need to fly, fight and win in this new era of competition.

Our Citizen Airmen are already amazingly balanced with diverse skills and experiences that serve as a force multiplier on the battlefield. However, despite those capabilities, over the last 20 years, I have also witnessed firsthand the perils of complacency and stagnation, and a lack of commitment to true total force enlisted development. For this reason, we must act now. We must follow-through and build the enlisted Airmen of tomorrow, today!

Last year, then Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., and the 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, JoAnne S. Bass, introduced changes to the enlisted force development model. In a published memo to the force, they unveiled updates to the Enlisted Airmanship Continuum (100 – 900).

These changes align with the Airman Leadership Qualities and Foundational Competencies and include the introduction of the Prepping the Line Job Qualification Standard, Foundations Courses, and future on-demand enlisted professional military education. This shift is wholly about preparing Airmen for strategic competition.

In alignment with the Total Force and in collaboration with our partners at the AFRC Professional Development Center, we have been hard at work designing a strategy to implement Foundations Courses within the command.

Junior Enlisted Foundations Course 300, NCO Foundations Course 500, and SNCO Foundations Course 700, are incremental leadership courses that are weaved into the continuum and help close developmental gaps.

As we progress and grow throughout our careers, so do our responsibilities. Learning and gaining the tools required to operate and lead at each level, to include understanding concepts such as mission command and operating in an Agile Combat Employment environment, ensures we continue to maintain our competitive advantage over our competitors.

In the near future, Foundations Courses will become prerequisite courses for EPME. All enlisted Airmen will need to complete each respective training before enrolling in either the distance learning or in-residence version of the Airman Leadership School, Noncommissioned Officer Academy, and Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy. Although initially unit funded, the command has committed to programming funding in FY27 to ensure that each Reserve Airman has the ability to fulfill this critical leadership development requirement.

As we move forward, it is vital that commanders, supervisors and peers contribute to the success of the entire Airmanship continuum. Our collective efforts will guarantee that we equip our most prized resource with the tools they need to maintain excellence. Each of us have been charged with leading, supporting and advancing our human weapon system. Leading the force development charge will continue to elevate the Air Force Reserve and guarantee that our enlisted Airmen remain the most powerful and elite force in the world!