Airman given International Affairs Excellence Award

by Master Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

WASHINGTON ― Air Force officials presented a major with the International Affairs Excellence Award for 2010 here May 31 after deeming him most effective in building, sustaining, expanding and guiding international relationships for the service.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley presented the award to Maj. Paul Sebold, a political military affairs strategist and country desk officer who championed building partnership goals in 35 military engagements and building air capabilities for 16 nations while based in U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein.

“Paul is part of a skilled workforce that recognizes the importance of the cultural differences between the U.S., its partners and their neighbors abroad and recognizes the subtleties that go with international affairs,” Secretary Donley said. “There is no doubt in my mind why he would be identified as one of our star players.”

According to the award citation, Major Sebold’s analytical expertise led to improved cooperation and interoperability with partner air forces in the European Command area of responsibility. Secretary Donley described Major Sebold, a linguist, as the “go-to regional affairs strategist” for countries such as Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

He added that the major is a critical liaison for numerous agencies, the State Department and combatant commanders.

“USAFE is really the place to be right now because you have a unique opportunity with forward deployed forces and we work with the host nations, partner nations and non-NATO partner nations every day,” Major Sebold said. “My job as a country desk officer and a (regional affairs strategist) is to facilitate for the U.S. Air Force experts: the maintainers, the pilots that USAFE has on the ground to work with our partner nations. They’re really the folks who get the job done.”

Major Sebold is also a recent graduate of the George and Carol Olmstead Foundation, which sponsors active-duty military officers in a two-year program for graduate studies, overseas at foreign universities. Prior to graduate studies, the officer will have up to one year of intensive, foreign language training.