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Airpower Leadership Academy graduates first class from KAFB

People pose for a group photo

Graduates from the inaugural Airpower Leadership Academy class 20-1 pose for a photo with the cadre of ALA after a graduation ceremony at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Oct. 1, 2020. The ALA is a mentorship program that targets select Staff and Technical Sergeants from across Team Kirtland with a deliberate approach to develop sustainable leadership qualities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Austin J. Prisbrey)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Team Kirtland’s first-ever Airpower Leadership Academy (ALA) graduated eight NCOs on Oct. 1, 2020, at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

“Airpower Leadership Academy is a program that builds on the foundation of Professional Military Education through deliberate mentorship and it is done by providing diverse perspectives to our students,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Lex Garlic, ALA manager. “It also helps develop [students] leadership philosophy. I believe leadership has many different aspects to it and people have to find out what their niche is in order to lead successfully.”

Every Wednesday over the course of six weeks, staff and technical sergeant students learned from each other as well as a cadre team made up of Senior NCOs. Each week, a different principle was introduced to encourage conversations about real-life situations that Airmen deal with.

The six principles that make up the ALA syllabus are:

  • Leadership vs. Management
  • Enlisted Force Structure
  • Empowerment
  • Cross-Cultural Competencies
  • Making the Hard Call
  • Health

“The goal was to help the NCO tier on Kirtland deal with the current issues that we are faced with not only on Kirtland but in the Air Force as a whole and in the world,” said Garlic. “Social relations, gender relations, racial relations…those hard hitting issues. We want to make our NCOs comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

For Staff Sgt. Morgan Smith, graduate of the first Kirtland ALA class and Rapid Capabilities Office executive services NCOIC, she is taking the leadership qualities learned at ALA and putting those to use in her unit.

“I would have to say the overall takeaway for me was, know yourself and know your Airmen,” said Smith. “Take the time to learn what works for you, then work on becoming better. Try to establish a strong working connection to your Airmen, professionally and personally, learn what you can do to positively impact them, which in turn will positively impact the mission.”

Garlic said he was very pleased with the first ALA class to graduate here at Kirtland AFB.

“The NCOs that we had set the bar high as far as their responses and their interaction,” said Garlic. “They were super involved and they were pretty seasoned. When they started to come out of their shell, they had some candid conversations. The candid conversations led to us actually helping people.”

If you are an NCO and interested in developing sustainable leadership qualities, contact Senior Master Sgt. Lex Garlic at lundy.m.garlic.mil@mail.mil.