Lankford EPME Center graded HIGHLY EFFECTIVE in Program Management

  • Published
  • By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
  • I.G. Brown Training and Education Center

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – The Air National Guard’s primary campus for training and education in East Tennessee recently achieved the highest grade awarded after a U.S. Air Force review of its enlisted education for total force Airmen.

The Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center, a division within the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, earned HIGHLY EFFECTIVE by the U.S. Air Force’s Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education in a Program Management Review.

“COVID-19 can’t stop the passion and energy of Team TEC!” said U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth Lozano, the commander, in an email to faculty and staff.

“This was an all-hands-on-deck effort and achievement that we celebrate,” said Colonel Lozano. “I am extremely proud of all of you!”

The Program Management Review process includes inspectors for the Barnes Center, located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Gunter Annex, Alabama. In part, their oversight helps ensure EPME is conducted to the accreditation standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and includes 10 NCO academies and 78 Airman leadership schools throughout the world.

The Lankford Center Commandant, U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Steven Durrance said that their rating includes, he estimated, 95-percent effectiveness in instructing NCOA and ALS. The review dates back nearly three years, which involves more than 30,000 Community College of the Air Force accredited hours and almost 5,000 graduates from the total U.S. Air Force, the Coast Guard, and international-partner services.

“It’s a result from the whole team here, from every Airman doing their part at their level, as well as from a strong rapport built with the Barnes Center,” said Chief Durrance. “That key coordinating with the Barnes Center led by Chief [Master Sgt. Ramey] Stokes and Master Sgt. [Brian] Smith; I want to recognize their hard work.”

Chief Durrance also credited the reorganization of their training structure, which consolidated a training team and a training superintendent who streamlined processes and communication. Their restructuring increased oversight on quality controls and simplified the flow of information through lines of responsibility, he said.

“When accounting for the size of the schoolhouse and the large number of instructors that we have … the fact that we came out of this inspection with a high rating and with such a small number of discrepancies was encouraging to me,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Smith, interim director of education. He explained that Lankford Center’s 34 instructors are similar to a community college’s faculty, as the organization is an accredited schoolhouse. “They need to be vetted and trained, and all our documentation has to prove that we are providing quality education.”

The EPME program management review included more than 10,000 documents and 39 inspectable line items, for past and currently assigned instructors, since 2017. Overall, inspection ratings can result in the categories HIGHLY EFFECTIVE, EFFECTIVE, SATISFACTORY, and INEFFECTIVE.

Because our team works well together and works well with the Barnes Center, that’s why we are HIGHLY EFFECTIVE,” said Sergeant Smith. He elaborated that their total-force demographic and multi-AFSCs, experiences, and other diversity allow them to serve and communicate with a valuable perspective for the entire Air Force EPME enterprise in a high-performance intent.

In their future, Sergeant Smith said that the EPME training team would develop robust and mature processes that address their discrepancies and maintain the good things that they are doing. “Not just fix it, but establish it in a way that, if we were all replaced tomorrow, a new team could pick up our documentation and our continuity and run with it.”