Louisville, Tenn. --
The Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center here began the New Year fully transitioned to teach the Intermediate Leadership Experience to its incoming Airmen.
Noncommissioned officer academy ILE is the latest iteration of professional military education. It prepares NCOs to be adaptable for current and future leadership and management challenges in order to think and act critically in complex and ambiguous environments, said officials.
“ILE prepares NCOs for increased leadership responsibility back at their home units,” said Chief Master Sgt. Edward Walden, commandant of the EPME center. “It also affords the members the opportunity to give, and receive, face-to-face feedback and stratification on specific behavioral tasks.”
The informational knowledge for the course will be done through an online distance learning course, entitled Course 15. It supplies technical sergeants with the terms, concepts and tools they exercise during the ILE course on campus.
Upon completion, students attend the in-resident course. They apply concepts covered in their distance learning, as well as additional concepts during the campus course, with situations that they will likely encounter at their units.
“The new ILE offers a better return on investment of our most valuable asset: our people,” said Walden.
This course readies NCOs to take on increased leadership responsibility in their respective operating environments.”
Our enlisted corps is required now, more than ever, to be expert communicators, skilled leaders and practiced critical thinkers who are able to exceed the demands of the mission. These concepts cannot be learned in a book but must be learned through application, experience and honest feedback.”
Walden said that the ILE also places students in situations that force them to adapt quickly and solve complex problems. Students are exposed to conditions that remove them from their comfort levels while they attempt to resolve common issues that supervisors face.
“The ILE is taking everything from the course 15 material and applying it in realistic situations and scenarios,” said Tech. Sgt. William Imeraj, a Colorado Air National Guard Airman who graduated the first ILE.
“We looked at a lot of case studies, and we identified concepts …we figured out which concepts affect us most and which we value most, and we write papers and have in-class discussions to get other points of view, active duty and air guardsman, to learn how to better apply these concepts once we return to our home stations.”
Walden said that these activities help NCOs see the value of teamwork in the Air Force’s strategic picture.
The learning environment in the ILE is focused on behavior modification, unlike most college courses or previous PME experiences, there are multiple force distribution exercises that let students know how they are viewed by both their peers and instructors, said officials.
“I've had a great experience at ILE,” said Imeraj. “I was very hesitant to come here because there is a lot going on back at my home unit. We are bringing on a new mission set, and everybody is overworked. I am very thankful that I did come. It is making me more professional and, hopefully, a better leader.”