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Academics, Cadet Wing, Leadership

Academy opens NCLS Feb. 23

By Ray Bowden, U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs.

Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said today’s cadets need to think like warriors to be successful officers.

Johnson, the superintendent of the Air Force Academy, gave remarks in Arnold Hall to open the National Character and Leadership Symposium here.

The annual event features military, corporate, and academic speakers who share their stories of overcoming challenges. This year’s NCLS theme is Warrior ethos and the American Airman.

“We have literally institutionalized this theme into our curriculum here,” Johnson said. “Every cadet must demonstrate [warrior ethos] prior to becoming a second lieutenant. This means developing the warrior ethos permeating the entire cadet experience from the classroom to the airfield to the athletic fields.”

Johnson said the NCLS theme corresponds to the idea that every Air Force cadet, Airman and civilian, contributes to the mission.

NCLS 2017 Program Cover

“Though each speaker may say it differently, the essence of what it means to be a warrior is universal — commitment, moral character, and perseverance in the face of adversity,” she said.

Johnson said the role of a newly commissioned officer is complex. Modern military conflicts look like science fiction compared to 30 years ago.

“Not only do [cadets and officers] have to understand the battlespace in the air, they also need to understand how to incorporate cyber, space and effectively harness the creative ingenuity of creative people,” she said.

Featured NCLS speakers include former NFL player Brian Griese, TEDTalk speaker Anthony Porter, and Maj. Heather Penney, was ordered to ram a hijacked plane with her unarmed F-16 on 9-11.

“The Academy holds this event annually to grow and nurture our commitment to developing leaders of character that serve not just the Air Force, but the nation,” Johnson said.