Air Force Featured Stories

Building the culture we need: CMSAF hosts Senior Enlisted Summit

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nick Z. Erwin
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass hosted more than 300 senior enlisted leaders during the Senior Enlisted Leader Summit in Leesburg, April 26 – 28.

The summit underscored an ongoing effort to continue to build and refine a Department of the Air Force culture that is ready and equipped for strategic competition and capable of projecting air warfighting capabilities at a moment’s notice.

Additionally, the leaders also discussed solutions to further attract and retain the defining advantage of the department — the people.

“This summit is about preparing our Air Force to compete, deter and win in any, and all, contested environments,” Bass said.

"The challenges we face will require new modes of thinking, collaboration and integration on a scale that spans multiple domains." -Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne Bass

"Our senior enlisted leaders are at the forefront of helping us design the Air Force our nation needs and ensuring the rules-based international order remains unchallenged.”

Throughout the three-day summit, understanding Airmen and pacing challenges were the main themes that Bass and other DAF leaders echoed as being critical to tomorrow’s fight and the challenges currently faced from the wing level to the headquarters.

Starting with a briefing from Bass, the leaders participated in multiple sessions that focused on what employing Airmen look like today and what changes will better prepare the Air Force for future challenges.

From first-hand accounts of modernizing the force as a whole to highlighting the role that senior leaders have as the pinnacle of the enlisted force — the entirety of the summit emphasized how these leaders are directly connected with continuing the Air Force’s legacy.


Leaders throughout the summit reiterated that past victories would not ensure future success. They also underscored how today’s Airmen must be prepared for tomorrow’s fight and take forward-facing actions to ensure the department’s success.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., joined the summit virtually and provided his expectations for senior enlisted leaders.

“What I expect you to be, is experts in your field,” Brown said. “At the same time, as senior enlisted leaders, you need to be broad … When you get to a certain level, you’re more of a generalist. You need to understand the broader aspects of the Air Force, and as you do that, you have to be inquisitive.”

Brown elaborated on how critical it is for enlisted leaders to understand the influence they have over a wider margin of Airmen and ensure they use this influence to support and build up the future generation of leaders.