LEAP: Shaping effective communication

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Thomas Karol
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force works with multinational forces and currently operates around the globe. Its varied mission sets are as diverse as the Airmen, allies and partners carrying them out. With so many gears turning, there are gaps that cannot be crossed without people with the necessary skills to bridge the divide between cultures. The skilled Airmen employing this come from the Language Enabled Airman Program.

LEAP is a program designed to teach Airmen the importance of cultural relations and language while operating in overseas environments with foreign partners.
“The U.S. Air Force is an intricate system of many moving parts, each essential and pivotal in creating a united, competent, and lethal force,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Moshood Yinusa, U.S. Air Forces in Africa 435th Air Expeditionary Wing Plans Office officer in charge. “To ensure successful operations within our organization, we continuously strive to improve our initiative and ability to manage resources, lead people, improve the unit, and execute our missions.”

One such initiative is LEAP, a strategic program created to develop multi-capable airmen with cultural competency to help provide a competitive advantage in the modern global environment where effective communication is essential to mission success.

The Language Regional Expertise and Culture symposium highlighted the importance of cultural competency and language proficiency in the military. It provided a platform for LEAP participants to share their experiences, best practices, and recommendations, which include making LEAP an integrated element in the design of the U.S. Air Force’s structure.

Airmen listened to lectures from speakers with a wealth of experience from working abroad with allies and partners.

“I witnessed firsthand how imperative language and cultural skills are in tandem with the vital role they play within our military,” said 1st Lt. Sydnee Ramsey, 86th Communications Squadron Communications Focal Point OIC. “We were presented various echelons of research with solid data proving how these skills can act as a catalyst or without the skills to be the detriment of future operations and campaigns.”

According to the U.S. National Security Strategy states the U.S. unrivaled network of allies and partners protects and advances our interests around the world—and is the envy U.S adversaries. LEAP graduates secure U.S. interests around the globe and help highlight the importance of diversity and partnerships.

“The networking opportunities this conference provided were invaluable,” Ramsey said. “It left a lasting impression on me regarding how valuable LEAP scholars are: This takes buy-in from all levels of leadership, and it is our duty as scholars to effectively shape that narrative. This is a necessary component that should be of utmost importance for any missions.”

LEAP is open to Active-Duty officers and enlisted and is available to most Air Force careers fields. It continues to be a way for Airmen to expand their horizons and further their careers as they work with people around the world. Visit Air University for more information on LEAP.