Top Air Force NCO Visits Canada to Develop Partnership
By Air Force Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2009 The Air Force’s top enlisted leader visited multiple locations in Canada in recent days to start building a permanent enlisted professional military education partnership with one of America’s closest allies.
Canadian Chief Warrant Officer of the Air Force Rene Couturier and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy take a tour of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Nov. 19, 2009. Roy visited Canada to start building a permanent enlisted professional military education partnership with one of America's closest allies. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy visited Ottawa, Ontario, and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Nov. 17 to 20 in an effort to continue building on the development of enlisted airmen, which Roy has named as one of his top priorities.
During his visit, Roy met with his Canadian counterpart, Chief Warrant Officer of the Air Force René Couturier, to discuss developing a permanent agreement to send U.S. Air Force senior noncommissioned officers to the Canadian equivalent course, Advanced Leadership Qualification.
“We already have a partnership,” 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 a U.S. 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 about 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,” Roy said. “These exchanges help us work together closer as two nations.”
The exchange also is 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, who helped coordinate the trip and serves as command chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
The goal is to eventually develop an exchange at the NCO level by sending U.S. airmen to the Canadian Intermediate Level Qualification and sending Canadian airmen to one of the U.S. Air Force NCO academies, 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,” 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 and a visitor on the trip. The Canadian air force already is looking into accepting Senior NCO Academy as an equivalent for its course and has the instructor exchange in place, said Chief Master Sgt. Alex Perry, Senior NCO Academy commandant and a visitor on the trip.
The United States and Canada already have a history of enlisted professional military education partnerships. The United States sent two National Guard airmen through Primary Leadership Qualification, the Canadian version of Airman Leadership School.
(Air Force Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump serves in the Office of the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.)