The Key to Building Partner Capacity Published March 21, 2023 By Mikala McCurry, AFCLC Outreach Team AFCLC MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Training, education, and exchange programs, like the United States Air Force Special Operations School’s Building Partner Aviation Capacity Seminar, provide mutually beneficial educational and operational opportunities for international partners and U.S. Airmen while promoting long-term relationships with future international military leaders. The USAF Special Operations School recently hosted its annual Building Partner Aviation Capacity Seminar, or BPACS, with language and cultural support from multi-capable Airmen in the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Language Enabled Airman Program. “Relationships with allies and partners are pivotal to interoperability, collaboration and integration, and galvanizing collective action. The Building Partner Aviation Capacity Seminar aims to strengthen U.S. partnerships globally, starting with those pivotal relationships. The LEAP liaisons are a crucial part of this relationship development,” Capt. Sarah Biro, Director of the Building Partner Aviation Capacity Seminar, said. BPACS is a two-week international Aviation Enterprise Development forum held at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The most recent iteration included 13 allied and partner nation participants from 12 countries and 17 U.S. participants from units within the Security Cooperation and Assistance enterprise as well as special operations. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss aviation best practices with U.S. civil-military professionals and participate in panel discussions and cultural immersion events. “One of the objectives for the seminar is to strengthen relationships with partners and allies, and the language-enabled Airmen are at the forefront of this objective,” she explained. “They leverage their capabilities during the seminar by helping participants understand the material presented in their target language should they need assistance.” LEAP Scholars also provided support to international partners outside of the educational forum during the duration of the event. “After classroom hours, the LEAP liaisons accounted for, transported, and engaged with the partners to support socials, dining, and shopping. During this time, they were the face of the United States military, the seminar, and what we represent,” Biro said. LEAP Scholars Maj. Oyunchimeg Young, Master Sgt. Kerim Kodal, and Technical Sgt. Guillaume Allardice utilized their combined language skills in Arabic, French, Mongolian, Spanish, and Turkish to strengthen alliances and partnerships, build rapport, and provide interpretation support for the 13 partner nation participants throughout the event. “The participation of LEAP members in BPACS was crucial to its success. LEAP Scholars not only helped the partners feel more comfortable by allowing the use of their native language when their English fails them, but they also transferred all communications between event staff and the partners and managed their time outside of seminar hours,” Allardice explained. The seminar achieved its objectives by providing a collaborative environment to encourage a mutual exchange of information and collective action. BPACs provided an atmosphere to address major international problems and crises through strengthened relationships—which are vital to enhancing interoperability, integration, and collaboration. “This program was extremely beneficial to all participants in developing a holistic view of the United States Aviation Enterprise Development. Each organization maintains a small section of the nation’s overall aviation capacity, but by working separately or together, they manage to accomplish the wide variety of missions both at home and abroad,” Allardice said.