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National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS)


The annual National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS) is the United States Air Force Academy’s flagship event on character and leadership. It brings together distinguished scholars, military leaders, corporate executives and world-class athletes to motivate and equip participants for honorable living and effective leadership.

Each NCLS connects participants with powerful speakers from all walks of life, in presentations and discussion sessions, to encourage reflection and motivate personal action. By reinforcing Air Force Core Values of service, integrity and excellence, NCLS contributes to the Academy’s role as a unique and valuable character and leadership resource for both the Air Force, and the nation.
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NCLS at a glance:

  • First held in 1993 and now attracts over 5,000 attendees annually
  • One of the premier national symposia on character and leadership
  • Theme changes each year in a deliberate cycle, to reflect the broader mission of the Academy and its relationship to serving in the Profession of Arms
  • Cadets on the NCLS staff practice character-based leadership in a real-world context over the course of seven months, in a signature developmental opportunity that results in a major Academy event

The National Character & Leadership Symposium is held every year in February. To learn more, visit our NCLS event page or email ncls@usafa.edu.

NCLS Photo Galleries
NCLS 2017 NCLS 2016 NCLS 2015
NCLS 2017 NCLS Speakers 2016 NCLS Speakers 2015
NCLS 2014 NCLS 2013 NCLS 2012
NCLS Speakers 2014 NCLS Speakers 2013 NCLS Speakers 2012
NCLS 2011 NCLS 2010
NCLS Speakers 2011 NCLS Speakers 2010


NCLS Programs
NCLS 2016 NCLS 2016 NCLS 2015 NCLS 2014
NCLS 2013 NCLS 2012 NCLS 2011 NCLS 2010

“Given my past careers – as a cadet, a military officer and an industry professional – NCLS provided an opportunity to reflect on past decisions and actions, both successes and failures.”

Community member

“…I felt refreshed and regained a sense of being, aspiration and motivation. I love the variety of speakers that came.”

Cadet feedback