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  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Lynette Rolen
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs
Members of the U.S. Special Operations Command Civilian Leadership Development Program visited Air Force Special Operations Command Jan. 28-31, 2019.

The visit allowed the cohort to see the various mission sets and capabilities of AFSOC, interact with Airmen and tour AFSOC’s facilities.

“The CLDP is designed to do many things,” said Todd Small, USSOCOM civilian professional development manager. “Probably the most important thing is to expose members of the cohort to the capabilities of, in this case, AFSOC and the competencies of AFSOC’s warfighters. We’re really trying to give them an understanding of who you are as a major command and as a Special Operations Force component command within SOCOM’s SOF enterprise.”

During the visit, CLDP members paired off with a job-matched member (mentor) from AFSOC’s Headquarters staff to discuss similarities and differences with their positions. Ellie Kitt, a policy analyst for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations in Low-Intensity Conflict at the Pentagon, commented on her mentor experience.

“I’m thrilled to have gotten to talk to my mentor about some of the specific challenges that are in the portfolios we work and how we may be able to collaborate better,” said Kitt. “He’s a key piece of what I work, so I’m pleased to have made the connection. He had some encouraging insight. As a Pentagon person, I also really appreciated learning how AFSOC is positioning itself to be competitive in the near peer fight and support the National Defense Strategy.”

The CLDP is a 10 month-long experiential learning program where members visit the different component commands within SOCOM.

“The field visits and command visits are the heart of the program,” said Small. “The most important piece of the program is connecting with people. Relationships form the foundation of everything we do. No one does relationships better than special operations and AFSOC’s part of that; so from the relationship piece, it’s very important for them to get out and be exposed to Airmen, to understand or see what they’re doing, and learn the uniqueness of AFSOC.”