AETC command team spends time with enlisted educators

  • Published
  • By Brian Ferguson
  • Barnes Center for Enlisted Education

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – The Air Force’s top education and training leaders reinforced their focus on enlisted education during a visit to Maxwell Air Force Base, Feb. 21-24.

Lt. Gen. Brian S. Robinson and Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, commander and command chief for Air Education and Training Command, spent Feb. 23, at Gunter Annex with Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education leaders, discussing how to best serve the enlisted force.

"We make the greatest impact at AETC, regarding joint-minded, warfighting, combat-credible Airmen, through professional military education," Robinson said in a Fall 2022 press conference.

During the visit, BCEE leaders showed Robinson and Thompson the SNCO Academy with its newly revised curriculum, the Community College of the Air Force and the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall, among other sites.

“Air University plays a unique role in setting the foundation of the force, ensuring continuing education throughout an Airman’s career,” Lt. Gen. Andrea Tullos, Air University commander and president, said during the visit. “If we do it right, we enable our operational commanders to employ Airmen in a wide range of challenging conditions and successfully execute the agile combat employment scheme of maneuver.

The Barnes Center, part of Air University, is the hub for Air Force enlisted education. The center’s staff develops the curriculum for all the Air Force’s enlisted PME courses and manages the instructors who teach them.

“Our main goal with this visit was to show off our professional Airmen and civilians who work every day to develop dynamic curriculum and support our enlisted PME courses and college, which educates the more than 260,000 enlisted Airmen across the force,” Col. Anthony Babcock, BCEE commander, said.

The AETC command team spoke with several instructors and praised them for their efforts and dedication.

“We’ve seen what it means for the Air Force to have NCOs and SNCOs who are leadership, strategy and competition-minded,” said Thompson. “While we’re confident we’re shaping the best and brightest, it’s not time to ease up on the gas pedal. We need to refine what we already do best – developing Airmen.”

The visit comes during a time of transformation for enlisted PME and education. Officials at the Barnes Center rolled out new SNCOA curriculum in 2022, and over the last several months, staff has been overhauling the NCO Academy curriculum, with a staggered release scheduled this year. The CCAF also halted some of its operations in September to transition to a new student information system.

AETC’s senior leaders were briefed on these changes and the future of enlisted PME. Many of the PME changes focus on strategic competition and how the Airmen will fight tomorrow’s war.

“We want to develop our enlisted Airmen to think with confidence – decide and act in increasingly challenging situations,” Babcock said.

"We need our Airmen to be leaders and followers in any operational setting we place them in because ultimately, we fight as a team," Tullos added.  

The visit to Maxwell AFB also included a tour of the Air Force Officer Training School, visits to the officer PME schools and briefings from Air University officials.