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Chiefs conduct seminar on professional development

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Command-level senior enlisted leaders took time to mentor Airmen here during a Professional Development Seminar on March 21. 

The seminar, which included three guest speakers and a panel of 14th Air Force command chiefs, focused on strategic planning and joint operations. 

Guest speakers included Fleet Command Master Chief William Nissen, senior enlisted leader at United States Strategic Command; Chief Mastger Sgt. Todd Small, command chief master sergeant of Air Force Space Command; and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Dickens, senior enlisted leader with the Defense Information Systems Agency. 

"The PDS provides a big picture view of the strategic to the operational to the tactical level of war relationship and how each Airmen is connected to the levels," said Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Narofsky, command chief master sergeant of the 14th AF. "Each of these senior enlisted leaders represents each level of war and represents a component of the command relationship." 

Understanding these relationships is important for future leaders, because as services continue to work jointly, junior Airmen will need to understand their part, Master Chief Nissen said. 

"Our young, intelligent warriors want to know why we're doing what we do and how it affects the Global War on Terror," said the master chief. "It's our job to tell them." 

While Chief Small gave an overview of the AFSPC mission, he also told attendees that they must comprehend their place in the grand scheme of things, while not forgetting their roots. 

"We need to remain engaged in discussion on command relationships and how we fit in the fight," Chief Small said. "But in order to be successful, we must understand every service has its inherent and unique capabilities." 

After the guest speakers finished their presentations, a panel of six command chiefs from across the 14th AF took questions from the audience. Questions ranged from "Why did you become a command chief?" to "How can I learn more about thinking at a strategic level?" 

One attendee asked how professional development events help Airmen. 

"Understanding the joint environment will help you grow," said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Candler, command chief master sergeant for the 460th Space Wing at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. "But the important thing is that it cascades down. Your understanding this will help your junior Airmen grow." 

Tech. Sgt. Becky Ramey, who works with the 30th Mission Support Squadron here, said that's exactly what she wanted from the seminar. 

"I came here to be a better NCO and leader, to learn from the chief's experiences," Sergeant Ramey said. "I want to get educated to better develop my Airmen." 

Team V Airmen may get more opportunities like this in the future. The goal, Chief Narofsky said, is to bring in guest speakers to reach a wide audience here for professional development. 

"The real target is the tech sergeants, staff sergeants and airmen 1st class," said the chief. "The most significant contribution we can make as leaders today is to leave a legacy of leaders behind to take care of tomorrow."