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News > Language Enabled Airman Program announces selections
Language Enabled Airman Program announces selections

Posted 11/27/2012   Updated 11/27/2012 Email story   Print story


Air Force Culture and Language Center

11/27/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Foreign language experts from around the Air Force recently met at the Air Force Culture and Language Center, part of Air University's Spaatz Center for Officer Education, to select the latest participants for the Air Force's Language Enabled Airman Program. More than 500 people from across the Air Force applied, and on Nov. 8, officials notified 206 Airmen of their selection to LEAP.

The recent selection board was unique, said Jay Warwick, AFCLC director. For the first time since the program's activation in 2009, a large number of enlisted candidates were able to apply.

"We are thrilled to announce the selection of 73 enlisted Airmen into LEAP," Warwick said. "As a relatively new program, we had to limit the application eligibility during previous boards. We hope that we are able include other categories, such as Air Force Reservists, Air National Guardsmen and Department of Defense civilians in the near future."

LEAP is a career-spanning program to select, develop and sustain foreign language capability and cross-cultural competence. The program seeks to provide the Air Force with leaders who have working-level foreign language proficiency, and to select those leaders from across all Air Force career fields, added Zachary Hickman, the AFCLC's Language Division chief. Airmen must have some foreign language ability to apply, he said.

The selected applicants bring a wealth of language ability with them. The 37 foreign languages represented included Afrikaans, Swahili, and Hindi, among others.

Program officials said that the LEAP selections were shaped by Air Force requirements, and that applicant board scores were based primarily on the need for their language within their Air Force specialty code, defense language proficiency test scores, overall academic portfolio (with emphasis on foreign language course performance), record of officer performance or enlisted performance report, commander's recommendation, and potential for success in achieving and maintaining a high level of language proficiency throughout their Air Force career.

"The world is growing more interconnected," said Warwick. "Commanders have a need for cross-culturally competent Airmen -- individuals with language, cultural and regional abilities to help them accomplish the global mission. LEAP is a great way to ensure our leaders have those capabilities when they need them."

LEAP members are already using their language and cultural abilities in real-world missions. Participants have served as interpreters for Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, as well as worked with the Department of State and the Department of Energy in China. Additionally, several LEAP participants recently provided support to a combined training exercise at Hurlburt Field, Fla., with the Polish air force.

Two LEAP selection boards will be held in 2013, a board for enlisted members in the spring, and a board for officers and cadets in the fall. For more information on LEAP, and to check for application period dates, see the AFCLC's website at

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