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CMSAF visits Canada to build PME partnership

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force's top enlisted leader visited multiple locations in Canada Nov. 17 through 20 to build a permanent enlisted professional military education partnership with one of America's closest allies.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy visited Ottawa, Ontario, and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, in an effort to continue building the development of enlisted Airmen, one of his top priorities.

During his visit, Chief Roy met with his Canadian counterpart, Chief Warrant Officer of the air force René Couturier, to discuss developing a permanent agreement to send Air Force senior NCOs to the Canadian equivalent course, Advanced Leadership Qualification.

"We already have a partnership," Chief Roy said. "The Canadian air force has an instructor in our Senior NCO Academy, they send students to our Senior NCO Academy and we have an Air Force instructor in the Royal Military College. This is the next logical step."

The Advanced Leadership Qualification uses a combination of distance learning and residential training. The distance learning is approximately 10 days of work over the course of 10 weeks and the residential training is 15 days in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 30 miles outside of Montreal. The course has three modules: leadership and military ethos; national defense policy and national security; and Canadian forces structure, defense team structure, and general systems of war and conflict.

"This is about a partnership, not just about sending a master sergeant or senior master sergeant to a school," Chief Roy said. "These exchanges help us work together closer as two nations."

The exchange is also important because of the close working relationship the two countries have through the North American Aerospace Defense Command partnership.

"This enhances our ability to defend our homeland," said Chief Master Sgt. W. Allen Usry, the command chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command who helped coordinate the trip.

The goal is to eventually develop an exchange at the NCO level by sending Airmen to the Canadian Intermediate Level Qualification and sending Canadian airmen to one of the Air Force NCO academies, Chief Roy said. This will help get maximum return on investment since the servicemembers will have up to 20 years left in their respective services.

"NCOs are a good target because they can develop a relationship early so when they are in Kandahar (Afghanistan), they can work with a friend," Chief Couturier said. "The benefit isn't the different curriculum. The biggest benefit is the exchange between the students. The curriculum facilitates that exchange."

The two countries will be working in the coming months to look at curriculum to make sure the classes are equivalent, said Chief Master Sgt. Brye McMillon, the Air University command chief.

The Canadian air force is already looking into accepting the Senior NCO Academy as an equivalent for its course and has the instructor exchange in place, said Chief Master Sgt. Alex Perry, the Senior NCO Academy commandant.

The United States and Canada already have a history of enlisted professional military education partnerships. The United States sent two Air National Guard Airmen through Primary Leadership Qualification, the Canadian version of Airman Leadership School.

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