CMSAF attends international symposium

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Lee Hoover Jr
  • Air Force Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody attended an international senior enlisted leader symposium June 9-13 in Istanbul, Turkey. The Turkish air force hosted the event, which brought together the top senior enlisted Airmen from air forces around the world to exchange ideas and enhance interoperability.

“These symposiums go beyond exchanging information,” Cody said. “The face-to-face dialogue strengthens our relationships and builds trust, which we absolutely need to work together and be successful in coalition operations around the world.”

During the week, Cody met with senior enlisted leaders from 20 nations including Turkey, Senegal, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Denmark, Canada and Georgia. The leaders broke into small groups to discuss enlisted development through on-the-job training, the challenges of institutional communication, and enlisted promotions. The week also included a tour of the Turkish air force’s NCO Academy and cultural tours around Istanbul and Izmir.

Ms. Heidi Grant, the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force in international affairs, said it is important to capitalize on opportunities to engage with leaders around the world.

“Meeting with international partners helps gain first-hand understanding of their needs and priorities,” Grant said. “The more we can collaborate together, the more synchronized our efforts will become as we work toward common objectives.”

This symposium followed a May International Senior Enlisted Leader Summit that Cody hosted at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, which included senior enlisted leaders from 24 countries’ air forces. With two exchanges in two months, Cody said it is clear the global enlisted corps is growing stronger.

“When you look at a country like Turkey for example, their enlisted corps has come such a long way in the last decade,” Cody said. “The same can be said for air forces in Canada, Australia Denmark and others around the world. Leaders recognize how important the enlisted corps is to the strength of the force, and they’re taking deliberate action to develop that force for the future.”

Grant concurs, and said the U.S. Air Force hopes to see further development in the years to come.

“We are in the early stages of establishing a program called International Enlisted Engagements, which focuses on supporting the professional development of our international partners and their enlisted corps,” Grant said. “Recognizing the strategic value that enlisted Airmen bring to our global security efforts, we hope to cultivate and grow our relationships with enlisted corps around the world through forums, education and other professional development activities.”

“It’s an exciting time to be an NCO,” Cody said. “We truly are the backbone of our force, and the more we meet for exchange programs, education, training and forums like this symposium, the stronger that backbone will become.”