Thirty-five students from 13 ally and partner nations across the European theater graduated the Inter-European Air Forces Academy’s Professional Military Education course on March 26, its second virtual PME course to date.
In accordance with COVID-19 regulations, students from Albania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States collaborated virtually. The PME course coincided with IEAFA’s fifth anniversary on March 23.
“Our Professional Military Education courses establish a foundation of trust and cooperation with our allies and partners,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joshua Killian, IEAFA Director of Operations. “Officers and NCOs from across NATO and Partnership for Peace countries come together to develop new skills and share perspectives as members of a multinational, cross-functional, and rank-diverse team. This shared experience helps to foster teamwork and collaboration across borders, during major exercises, and in operational assignments where allies and partners work together to identify innovative solutions to our most pressing challenges.”
IEAFA develops lifelong ties among allies and partners and underscores the importance of a professional NCO corps. The PME course integrates the Inter-European Noncommissioned Officer Academy and Inter-European Squadron Officer School, blending fifty percent of the five-week curriculum into a combined officer/NCO experience. During these blended lessons, officers and enlisted personnel from across the European theater work through cultural, linguistic, and rank disparities to arrive at common solutions for challenges presented throughout the course.
Since its first course in 2016, IEAFA has trained and educated over 1,000 students from over 40 ally and partner nations across the European theater. IEAFA is expanding its partnership-building mission to the African continent and growing its technical training courses.
“There are leadership courses and then there is IEAFA,” said British Armed Forces Cpl. Sally Raimondo. “The unique blended learning environment creates an inclusive platform where different experiences enable a greater understanding and appreciation of other views. This level of context allows for a variety of perspectives and challenges the status quo, preparing the student to continually develop as an effective leader.”
Success like this is partially achieved through IEAFA’s direct organizational alignment with the Warrior Preparation Center, the USAFE-AFAFRICA Directorate of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, and its close ties with USAFE-AFAFRICA Directorate of Plans, Programs and Analyses.
IEAFA leans forward into the future by adapting to the dynamic security environment. It remains an agile and responsive tool that supports the priorities of Gen. Jeff Harrigian, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander, and develops interoperability of the theater’s only common weapons system: its people.