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USSOCOM CLDP visits AFSOC

A group of people watching an aircraft land

Members of the U.S. Special Operations Command Civilian Leadership Development Program watch an MC-130J from the 9th Special Operations Squadron land at Melrose Air Force Range, New Mexico, Jan. 30, 2019. Part of the CLDP program involves learning about the various aircraft assigned to the different component commands within SOCOM. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

A group of people in a conference room.

Members of the U.S. Special Operations Command Civilian Leadership Development Program participate in mentor sessions at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Jan. 29, 2019. The CLDP members visited Air Force Special Operations Command from Jan. 28-31, 2019. During the visit, members paired off with Headquarters AFSOC personnel to discuss how they can collaborate in the future. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lynette Rolen)

A group of people watch an aircraft land.

Members of the U.S. Special Operations Command Civilian Leadership Development program watch a CV-22 Osprey from the 20th Special Operations Squadron prepare to land at Melrose Air Force Range, New Mexico, Jan. 30, 2019. Melrose Air Force Range is Air Force Special Operations Command’s training range in New Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- 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.”