MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) --
The Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Language Enabled Airman Program, or LEAP, deliberately develops language enabled, cross-cultural service members across the Air Force and Space Force with working-level foreign language proficiency to better support the application of air and space power through strengthening partnerships and interoperability.
One innovative pathway available for advanced LEAP scholars and foreign area officers, or FAO, to support mission success is AFCLC’s Training Partnership Request, or TPR.
TPRs allow the Department of Defense and other governmental organizations needing short-term language or culture support to request LEAP scholar and FAO assistance through AFCLC. Through these experiences, advanced LEAP scholars hone their skills in support of a vast range of language and culture-related missions, such as document translations, virtual conferences and in-person events such as exercises, conferences and mobile training teams.
“TPRs facilitate effective and efficient matching of LEAP scholars and FAOs to ad hoc taskings that are important to building interoperability and partnerships,” said Christopher Chesser, AFCLC Language Division chief. “Department of Defense and other governmental organizations have found TPRs as a means of connecting their short-term mission needs to talented Airmen and Guardians. They can bring not only their language skills to a mission but also their career field knowledge. Through TPR-driven Language Intensive Training events, LEAP Scholars can make a big difference in a short period of time.”
AFCLC has provided and continues to provide language and culture support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Army units, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, among others.
“The Training Partnership Request method is easy to use, effective and has been essential in us completing our mission here at DPAA since we began utilizing the AFCLC program,” Megan Fedorczyk, DPAA, U.S. European Command, said. “Every civilian, contractor and Air Force service member we have had the pleasure of working with has been prompt, polite and professional. We look forward to continuing this useful partnership in the future.”
When contacted by a potential sponsoring organization, AFCLC searches for advanced LEAP scholars or FAOs who match the requested language, rank and career field. AFCLC then selects the best individuals to participate based on who meets qualifications and would benefit most professionally from the event. Those who are selected and interested in supporting the TPR must receive approval from their unit commanders to participate.
Selected LEAP scholars and FAOs work with the sponsor, alongside AFCLC, to become fully prepared for what the mission entails. Event duration may range from a few days to several months, and financial sponsorship by the requesting organization is required. The sponsoring organization is also responsible for overseeing the safety and security of LEAP scholars and FAOs.
AFCLC facilitates the entire TPR process, tracking service members’ completion of country clearance requirements, airline itinerary, lodging and in-country transportation plans.
“When we receive a request, we’re able to find the right LEAP scholar or FAO to match the needs of the request and the nature of the mission. Through TPRs, we’re able to see a return on investment of the training that we've been doing, so that's why this method is great,” said Capt. Krista Bible, AFCLC Language Division operations officer.
In 2021 alone, LEAP scholars have supported several major military events through TPRs, such as U.S. Africa Command’s African Lion 2021 and U.S. Army’s DEFENDER-Europe 2021 and Combined Resolve.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, AFCLC shifted to facilitating a high volume of virtual TPRs.
“Even after the pandemic is over, this may be something that carries into the future,” Bible said.
Since 2017, advanced LEAP scholars and FAOs have supported more than 260 TPRs in more than 50 different languages.
Organizations are encouraged to submit requests as early as possible, preferably 120 days before the event. Sponsoring organizations may submit requests via the Language Enabled Development Resource by visiting this site and selecting the “Language Support Request” option on the sidebar menu. Common Access Card and Air Force Portal access is required to access the request form. A PDF request form is also available for those without Air Force Portal access and can be requested.