Reserve component officers attend international leadership course

  • Published
  • By Maj. Joe Simms
  • Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center

U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard officers, along with officers representing seven NATO-affiliated countries attended the 2019 International Junior Officer Leadership Development Seminar (IJOLDS), Aug. 4-10, at Her Majesty’s Australian Ship Harman, Canberra Australia.

The week-long seminar, hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve, provided attendees an opportunity to build relationships through lectures and discussions on each nation’s military and societal culture.

The course started on a cold wintery morning with presentations by a member of each nation discussing their Air Reserve components followed by a facilitator-led discussion and group exercise.

“The country briefings were valuable for the participants so they may understand that we may wear different uniforms and speak different languages, but our Reserve forces are much more similar than many of them realized,” said Maj. Jeff Robertson, a Security Forces Operations Officer assigned to the Arizona Air National Guard and IJOLD facilitator. “No matter the size of the Reserve component or the capabilities, we all have the same goal of providing an operationally ready force while balancing family, civilian and military commitments.”

The course also exposed the 60 participants to leadership techniques and decision-making processes of each NATO partner in attendance in an effort to facilitate interoperability and future mission success in a coalition environment.

“IJOLD was a great chance for all of us to hear from different points of view and come to better understand all of the countries represented here,” said 1st Lt. Julia Renke, a personnel officer with the German Air Force Reserve.

The U.S. contingent at HMAS Harman was comprised of 26 participants, seven of which representing the Air National Guard and four facilitators, also representing the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

Also in attendance, representing Air Force Reserve Command, was Maj. Gen. Eric Overturf, the Mobilization Assistant to the Chief of the Air Force Reserve, and head of the U.S. IJOLD delegation. 

“Serving in a military leadership role is the highest goal one can aspire to achieve,” Overturf said while leading a discussion on important topics for junior officers as they progress to new levels of leadership. “Your job is to provide the next generation of world citizens a safer and more secure place to live.”

In addition to lectures and discussions on leadership, participants were exposed to Australian military history during a visit to the National War Memorial. Participants also explored the dynamics of the Australian government while visiting the Australian Parliament House, both located in the national capital.

While each country is able to provide their own perspective on the IJOLD curriculum, the performance objectives of the course are dictated by representatives of 16 partner nations that make up the International Air Reserve Symposium (IARS) Committee on Leadership Development (COLD).

According to the COLD charter, the learning objectives for IJOLD are developing leadership knowledge among the participants, raising awareness and build relationships between nations through exposure to each nation’s military history and culture and to motivate the future leaders.

AF Reserve company grade officers and junior majors interested in attending IJOLD 2020 in the United Kingdom are encouraged to look for the invitation to apply announcement scheduled to be submitted via myPers in November.  Air National Guard members may contact the National Guard Bureau for more information to apply.

Of the 158 Air Force Reserve officers that applied to attend IJOLD 2019 through the Reserve School Selection Board process, only 20 participants were selected to attend.

For more information on RSSB opportunities, visit the Force Development site on the HQ ARPC webpage or contact the Total Force Service Center at 1-800-525-0102.