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National Character & Leadership Symposium

Reimagine Leadership. Inspire Teamwork. #NCLS2023

FEBRUARY 23-24, 2023



Registration Schedule 2023 Speakers Deadlines & Fees FAQ’s  Visiting Students Travel Info Nominate Speakers

The annual National Character and Leadership Symposium is a flagship event on character and leadership held at the U.S. Air Force Academy. It brings together distinguished scholars, military leaders, corporate executives and world-class athletes to motivate and equip participants for honorable living and effective leadership.

The NCLS 2023 tagline, “Reimagine Leadership. Inspire Teamwork.” is rooted in the “Leadership, Teamwork, & Organizational Management” Institutional Outcome and will explore the many facets of what it takes to lead in today’s complex environment. As part of the Air Force and Space Force, leaders are expected to execute the mission, lead people, manage resources, and improve the unit. With a focus on Reimagining Leadership, participants will contemplate how they will tackle unique problems and lead differently to face the unknown adversaries of the future. An emphasis on Inspired Teamwork will allow participants to consider how to effectively lead others through creating an environment of inclusion and teamwork, employing emotional intelligence, and effectively communicating with team members.

NCLS connects participants with powerful speakers from all walks of life, in presentations and discussion sessions throughout the year, to encourage reflection and motivate personal action.

NCLS in Review

at a Glance

NCLS Facts




168+Visiting Universities


Deadlines and Fees

Dates & Deadlines:
October 3, 2022 Registration opens for Visiting Students and Faculty
December 5, 2022 or when sold out, whichever comes first Registration closes for Visiting Students and Faculty
January 4, 2023 Registration & Speaker Sessions open for all other participants
February 9, 2023 Registration closes to all in-person participants
February 23, 2023 NCLS begins
Conference Fees:

Speaker Sessions (no meals) – Free

A limited number of meals are available for purchase for an additional cost. Please note that due to the high volume of in-person participants and the limited food vendors available onsite, we highly encourage participants to consider registering for meals in advance during the registration process. The meal options and pricing are available upon registration and can be selected and confirmed until February 8. Payment will be done at check-in on February 22nd between 10 am and 10 pm at Registration in Falcon Club.

Payment Policy: Cancellations for meal registrations must be done before February 8th, 2023 5:00 p.m. MST. If you have registered for meals and do not attend the event without notification of cancellation, you will be liable for the balance of the meals you registered for. We cannot accommodate new meal requests past February 8th, 2023. If you need to cancel your meal registration, you can do so via your email confirmation (edit your registration), or by emailing us to ncls@afacademy.af.edu with your request before February 8, 2023 5:00 p.m. MST.

When registering for meals please notate any dietary restrictions, also notate the type of restriction. Dislikes will not be honored.


Service Academy Cadets & Partnering University Students (includes ROTC cadets only if associated with a partnering university): The meal fee will be waived in the registration system with discount code provided to your faculty representative.

Visiting Students staying at USAFA: The mandatory meal fee includes all meals for duration of stay at Cadet Dining Facility “Mitchell Hall”.

Click here for travel directions and lodging info.

Check-in Process

All Community Participants, Visiting Students and Faculty, and Distinguished Guests will check-in and receive their badges at the Falcon Club.

Early check-in will be available on Wednesday February 22nd starting at 10:00 am MST until 10:00 p.m. MST.

Speaker on stage at NCLS

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is NCLS?

    NCLS is a two day symposium in which participants have an opportunity to hear from speakers sharing inspirational stories of character and leadership with the audience through his/her own words. It is one of the premier national symposiums in the area of character development, brings together distinguished scholars, armed forces leaders, corporate presidents and others to explore various dimensions of character and leadership. Speakers share their life experiences in order to challenge the audience to meet the objectives. NCLS is a personal development symposium.

  • Who can attend?

    NCLS is open to anyone. This includes, but is not limited to, Undergraduate Students, Visiting Faculty members, community participants, military academy graduates, Association of Graduates members, USAFA staff and faculty, out of state military members, local military/ DoD ID Card Holders, and federal, state, county, and city government employees.

  • Who will be speaking?

    You will hear from distinguished scholars, military leaders, corporate presidents, world-class athletes, and others in order to explore a character-related theme. The speakers will share their life experiences, challenges, and triumphs in alignment with the NCLS year-long theme, reinforcing the Air Force Core Values, encouraging reflection, and motivation for personal action. Click here to access speaker information.

  • How do I register?

    Registration for NCLS is scheduled to open in October for Visiting Students and Faculty and in January for all other participants. Once registration is open, an email invitation will be sent to our previous participants and a “Registration” button will be available on our website. Please visit the Deadlines and Fees page for specific dates or email us at ncls@afacademy.af.edu for more questions.

  • What is my registration type?

    On the NCLS registration landing page, click the hot button that describes you.

    Visiting Student
    • You are a student at a college or university between ages 18-26
    Visiting Faculty:
    • You are a college or university faculty or staff member attending NCLS with students
    • You are an academic educator attending without students
    Community Participant
    • You are a college or university student over age 26
    • You are an Air Force Academy alum or Association of Graduates member
    • You are a member of the local community with no military affiliation
    • You are local or non-local area military, not assigned to USAFA and not an Association of Graduates member
    USAFA Permanent Party
    • You are military or civilian assigned to any USAFA organization

  • I do not see my college or university on the list, what do I do?

    In order to complete your registration in a timely manner, please select “Other” to proceed. Our NCLS registration team will update both your individual registration and our list of visiting universities.

  • If my school already has four students selected, can I still attend?

    If your school already has four students confirmed, we can place students on a waiting list. Should a spot become available, students will be notified on a first come first served basis, after December 6. Once all the registration requirements have been met, the registration status will change from “pending” to “confirmed.” If you wish to be placed on the waiting list, please have your faculty sponsor email NCLS@afacademy.af.edu with your name, email and college/university.

  • When I register I only see a certain speaker listed once, but I know they are speaking more than once. Why is this?

    Speaker sessions will open for registration on January 4th for all registrants. Typically, each NCLS speaker is scheduled to present multiple times over the course of the two days; however, a few of our speakers may only speak once due to schedule limitations. Speakers are scheduled for various sessions throughout the event, some large and some small. The speaker you are looking for may be scheduled for a smaller session, which may already be full. If that is the case, that specific speaker session will no longer be visible as a registration selection.

  • Can I register a guest?

    While a guest may certainly attend with you, Visiting Faculty, Visiting Students, and USAFA Cadets and Faculty will require individual registrations. All other categories of attendees will be able to register a guest. Your guest will receive a separate confirmation email with their registration.

  • Can I attend virtually?

    Yes! Please click here to register for virtual attendance. You will receive access to the virtual live content the week of NCLS, to the email address you registered with.

  • Where do I pick-up my badge?

    Check-in and badge pick-up for Visiting Students, Visiting Faculty and Community Participants will be available in Falcon Club according to the following schedule:
    Wednesday, February 22nd from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
    Thursday, February 23rd from 6:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
    Friday, February 24th from 6:30 a.m.-12:00 pm
    *Please note that USAFA Permanent Party members are not required to check-in at Falcon Club and will not be issued badges.

  • What is the Uniform/Dress code?

    For the Cadet Wing and Guests:

    Wednesday 22 Feb: UOD

    Thursday 23 Feb: UOD Blues and Service Dress required for Symposium Dinner

    Friday 24 Feb: UOD

    Civilians: Business Casual for speaker sessions and Formal for Symposium Dinner

  • Will there be transportation?

    Transportation from Colorado Springs Airport will be available on Wednesday, February 22. Shuttles will depart the airport for the Academy every 1.5 hours beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding at 10 p.m. Arriving participants who indicated they require transportation to the Academy can find shuttle personnel outside the baggage claim area.

    On Saturday, February 25, shuttles will again be available to transport participants from the Academy to the Colorado Springs Airport. Saturday shuttles will depart the Cadet Area for the Falcon Club at 4 a.m., 6 a.m., 8 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. They will depart the Falcon Club at 4:15 a.m., 6:15 a.m., 8:15 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. respectively and arrive at the Colorado Springs Airport approximately 45 minutes later.

    Shuttles will not run to or from Colorado Springs Airport on Thursday, February 23, or Friday, February 24. Transportation will not be provided to or from Denver International Airport or other local locations. Participants will be required to coordinate their own travel arrangements.

  • Where will I stay?
    • Undergraduate Students (age 18 – 26) will be housed at no cost in the Air Force Academy Cadet Dormitories. Visiting students will be assigned a cadet escort and will room with that cadet in the cadet dormitories. The two Academy dorms, Vandenberg and Sijan Hall, are co-ed dorms with shower facilities on each floor. While dormitories are co-ed, individual rooms and shower facilities are not. Rooms have either two or three residents. Only fully vaccinated students will be allowed in the dormitories.
    • Faculty and Guest: Visiting faculty and guests may stay on the USAFA campus at the Rampart Lodge (also known as the Visiting Officers’ Quarters, or VOQ) pending availability. Alternative lodging is available at other surrounding
  • What is the CCLD?


    To serve USAFA by advancing character and leadership development in preparation for service to the nation.


    To be the center of excellence for the advancement of character and leadership development.

    Created in 1993, originally as the Center for Character Development, the CCLD serves as the focal point of USAFA’s commitment to developing leaders of character. Since character and leadership are complementary and inseparable concepts, synergies result from integrating character and leadership training/education into a common effort. The focus of the CCLD is on the development of cadet character and leadership through high quality, daily interactions with faculty and staff. The Center’s three areas of commitment are:

    1. Elevate and integrate character and leadership development
    2. Develop the character and leadership of cadets and faculty/staff
    3. Advance the scholarship of character and leadership development
  • Where can I find information regarding past NCLS events?

    Please click here to access archived NCLS information from past events.

  • What are the COVID-19 requirements for the general public?

    Official visitors will complete DD Form 3150; maintain a current completed DD Form 3150; and show it to authorized DoD personnel, upon request when they are visiting a DoD facility where the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is high or medium. Failure to complete the DD Form 3150 may result in denial of an official visitor’s access to the DoD facility to which access is sought. Service members not on active duty or active duty for training are also subject to the requirements in this paragraph.

    When visiting a DoD facility where the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is high or medium, official visitors who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or who decline to provide information about their vaccination status, must show an electronic or paper copy of negative results from an FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 test administered no earlier than 72 hours prior to their visit. If unable to show a negative COVID-19 test result, the official visitor may be provided onsite self-testing, if available, or will be denied access to the DoD facility (or facilities) to which access is sought. Service members who are not on active duty or on active duty for training at the time of their official visit are subject to the requirements in this paragraph.

    Consolidated Department of Defense Coronavirus Disease 2019 Force Health Protection Guidance – Revision 1 (CAO 29 June 2022)

  • What are the additional COVID-19 requirements for visiting students?

    Regardless of the CDC COVID-19 Community Level (High/Medium/Low), non-DoD visitors to the Cadet Area must be vaccinated, or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of a visit to the Cadet Area where the visitor will remain overnight in the same dorm room as a cadet. The negative test can be administered at home, or by a health provider. Vaccinated is defined as 14 days after receipt of a single-shot vaccination or the second of a two-shot series vaccination.

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Thanks to the Following Supporting Organizations

Air Force Academy Foundation
Association of Graduates
Falcon Foundation
Lt Col (Ret) Earl A. Enix ’77 and Mrs. Candy Enix
Muse Family Foundation
Class of ’59
Class of ’73 – NCLS Flagship Sponsor
Class of ’74
Class of ’77
Class of ’93
Defense Orientation Conference Association (DOCA)

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30th Annual National
Character and Leadership