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AFGSC professional development programs help Airmen grow

Newly-selected participants in Air Force Global Strike Command professional development programs recently came to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., for a three-day orientation, where they met with senior leadership and functional managers, and received general information about their programs. They also spent two days in a Leadership Enhancement Course.

Newly-selected participants in Air Force Global Strike Command professional development programs recently came to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., for a three-day orientation, where they met with senior leadership and functional managers and received general information about their programs. They also spent two days in a Leadership Enhancement Course. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) --

Professional development plays an important role in every Airman’s career, helping them grow not only in their career field, but also helping them grow as leaders.

In Air Force Global Strike Command, there are a number of programs designed to develop the understanding and knowledge of nuclear operations and critical thinking for officers, enlisted members and civilians as well as broaden their view of the mission.

For officers, the Striker Intern Program is designed to help develop more lethal striker operators with tools and expertise to advance critical thinking in nuclear operations.

Capt. Victoria Fort, a nuclear and missile operations officer, was recently selected for the intern program.

“The goal of our program is to develop future nuclear enterprise leaders through educational and experiential opportunities that focus on Air Force nuclear enterprise programming and acquisition strategies, future-long range strike priorities, strategic weapons effects, nuclear command and control, multi-domain operations and leadership development,” Fort said.

“I joined the Striker Internship Program with hopes that I will be able to become a more well-rounded officer in terms of learning more about the nuclear enterprise and Air Force Global Strike Command; especially those things that I might not be exposed to if I were at a missile wing,” she added.

Lt. Scott Cypher is a Navy submariner who is part of Striker Trident, a three-year exchange officer program between AFGSC and the Navy. Cypher has been in the program for about five months and said he came into the program for a number of reasons.

“I wanted to learn about weapon-system capabilities from another service and experience the cultural differences,” he said. “Working on staff allows me to view the strategic enterprise from an overarching viewpoint. There is significant behind-the-scenes work needed for our various, local forces to accomplish the mission.”

Cypher said he is looking forward to getting out to the missile wings and sharing experiences with crew members. He plans to share what he learns with his counterparts when he returns to regular duty with the Navy.

Matthew Bianco, lead production controller with the 791st Maintenance Squadron at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, was recently accepted to the Striker Trailblazer Program, a one-year program for government civilians directly performing or supporting core functions in the command.

During his time in the program, Bianco said he looks forward to learning more about Air Force multi-domain operations and how the various components work together in the full spectrum of Department of Defense strategic and operational decision making for the defense of the nation.

“I believe expanding our knowledge and understanding of not only missions directly related to us, but also of those outside our day-to-day scope, will enhance our capabilities and benefit the command and Air Force as a whole,” he said. “I will share the information I learn in this program with others in my unit to help educate, expand understanding of the big picture and continue to advocate for our mission.”

AFGSC enlisted Airmen have the opportunity to participate in the Striker Titan Program, which uses deliberate education combined with experiential temporary duty assignments to develop and deliver non-commissioned officers with a broader view of the mission.

Tech. Sgt. Andrew Caprio, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Aerospace Ground Equipment Maintenance Section at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, was selected to be a Striker Titan.

“Striker Titan allows for a strategic view of everything that encompasses global strike. On top of that, the goal is to teach and develop participants through classes, reading material, mentorships and the history of our major command. I truly hope to gain a greater perspective to inform Airmen how important each cog is to keep our enterprise on top.”

Caprio said the program will allow him to experience things he never would have in his day-to-day job.

“The ability to network and meet the people that decide what happens within my major command was something I never thought possible.” he said.

Caprio added that he was excited to travel to see parts of the AFGSC mission that normally he wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience.

“A few of these opportunities include an active Navy submarine tour, being present while an intercontinental ballistic missile is launched from Vandenberg (AFB) and touring missile facilities in Malmstrom (AFB),” he said.

The maintainer said he is already using what he is learning to help others.

“Without a doubt, my first move has been to better my troops and the people around me with the knowledge gained from Striker Titan. Our first class was a leadership education course that is taught in commander school. I have already started spreading those ideologies learned in hopes to better the Airmen of my flight,” he said.

In addition to these programs, AFGSC recently approved a force development concept for the Striker Phoenix program, which is designed to expand missile officers’ understanding of mobility air forces operations in support of the nuclear enterprise and the day-to-day activities and contributions of the men and women of Air Mobility Command. The first Striker Phoenix officer will begin a tour at an AMC base this summer.

All newly-selected program participants recently came to Barksdale AFB for a three-day orientation, where they met with senior leadership and functional managers and received general information about their programs. They also spent two days in a Leadership Enhancement Course.

The participants all agreed they were thankful for the opportunity to participate in this level of professional development.

“I am extremely grateful and still a little shocked I got picked for Striker Titan,” Caprio said. “I can’t wait to see what the year holds!”

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