Guard's learning centers add value through connections

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
  • I.G. Brown Training and Education Center
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gabe Johnson gave a professional development seminar here recently on personal accountability, and although the lesson was of the quality expected from the Air National Guard's premier training and education center, it was how it was sent and who watched it that was notable.

"The idea may be, 'where's the soapbox?'" he said, looking attentively toward a TV camera and high-definition screen that showed about 50 Army National Guard Soldiers seated in an auditorium.

But instead of a soapbox speech, Johnson, deputy commander of the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center (TEC) rather broadcast some gainful insight and examples on how to be introspective when facing problems.

The Soldiers were at the National Guard's LaVern E. Weber Professional Education Center in Little Rock, Ark., watching it all live from two huge screens with the TEC's and PEC's HD, high bit rate, video tele-training connection.

It is from both education centers that the National Guard provides the professional military education and professional continuing education supporting more than 460,000 National Guard members.

"The quality was outstanding!" exclaimed Army MAJ Corey Thomas, a project officer for the PEC Commandant, Army COL Timothy Keasling, in a phone interview. "The relationship between the TEC's Commander and the PEC Commandant is very strong. The results of that relationship serve to the benefit of our Soldiers and Airmen."

Thomas explained that the PEC's Soldiers benefited from Johnson's seminar and from three previous seminars the TEC broadcast this summer on "Posturing Yourself as a Leader; Effective Communication in Challenging Situations; and Communication and Coordination." A final seminar is scheduled to broadcast entitled "Leadership by Example."

"We expect nothing less than what we received before, which is an awesome seminar," said Thomas.

Johnson, like other professional development instructors and enlisted professional military education (EPME) instructors here, broadcasted cutting edge television through advancements to the Warrior Network. He queued up slides, videos and photos seamlessly, as well as conversed with the students without transmission delays.

The Warrior Network offers such broadcasts for virtual conferences, workshops and functional manager meetings, which reduce travel costs while still providing relevant and timely content to the field.

"It's obviously a perfect platform for teaching from a distance," said Johnson. "I could see and hear the students very clearly."

The National Guard Bureau at first equipped six sites with the cutting edge technology, now has 10 sites nationwide, and plans for more.

The TEC and its Paul H. Lankford EPME Center strives to provide training that is convenient and cost effective for the Air Force, said Johnson. For nearly two decades it brought blended learning, satellite Noncommissioned Officer Academy and more recently Airman Leadership School, via the Warrior Network's more than 180 downlink sites.

"We have already seen it become very successful," said Johnson.

"Instruction by one-way video over satellite has been valuable to us for many years - we've been doing that for a while - and now two-way HD video sent over an IP is the clear future."