BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — Air Force Global Strike Command initiated the creation of a new Nuclear Leadership Development Center, which will focus on nuclear and leadership education, and professional development.
“The center will have several lines of effort designed to increase nuclear knowledge and leadership across the force,” said Col. H.B. Brual, the deputy director of the Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements and Analysis Directorate.
The creation of the NLDC was driven in part by reports both before and after AFGSC’s standup that noted a declined focus on the nuclear mission, with a lack of developmental opportunities for career nuclear personnel, Brual said. In addition, the reports identified gaps in the development of leaders and critical thought within the Air Force’s nuclear enterprise as a whole.
“The creation of this center will allow us to address those gaps and bring a nuclear focus back to the command’s education and professional development programs,” Brual said.
Capt. Reed Elsbernd, a NLDC leadership education officer, said the center is not designed to compete with other education and professional development programs in the Air Force, but rather to complement them. This will leverage and capitalize on leadership development from other sources, while ensuring a nuclear focus.
“This is a different focus than traditional professional military education and professional development,” Elsbernd said. “We want to create a culture that inspires transformational leaders and make them nuclear experts.”
He added that while part of the NLDC is education-focused, the other part is dedicated to deliberate development of nuclear professionals, including ensuring they get the right training at the right time in their careers, and identifying assignment opportunities to maximize their potential.
The center is developing curriculum for officer education and professional development, and will subsequently move to the enlisted and civilian force. The team is currently meeting with some senior enlisted members to chart touch points for the enlisted career life cycle.
“Over time, the NDLC will increase capacity,” Brual said, “but to make sure we get it right, we’re focusing on one segment of the force right now.”