OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - The Rising Strategic Leaders (RSL) group, targeted to and facilitated by enlisted ranks E-6 and below, made its debut at U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) May 29.
The group’s aim is to serve as a central hub for E-6 and below personnel throughout USSTRATCOM to come together and promote communication, professionalism, responsibility, camaraderie, esprit de corps and mentoring across all the services within USSTRATCOM. Additionally, the group provides a forum for members, families and friends to gather in a social setting.
USSTRATCOM Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sergeant Major Patrick Z. Alston, and USSTRATCOM HQ Commandant, Chief Master Sergeant Quinton H. Otto, serve as the senior mentors. RSL president Technical Sergeant Sarah R.L. Morgan, enlisted aide to Deputy Commander, USSTRATCOM; RSL vice president Yeoman 1st Class (SW) Jerron Williams, assigned to J010 USSTRATCOM, Secretary of the Joint Staff; RSL secretary Army Staff Sergeant Krista Avant, assigned to J2 USSTRATCOM; and RSL sergeant-at-arms Marine Sergeant Joshua Poblano, assigned to J3 USSTRATCOM serve as RSL council members representing all four branches of service at USSTRATCOM.
Alston identified the unique strengths brought to USSTRATCOM by the E-1 to E-6 demographic.
“Some of your superiors are watching you, believe it or not. When it comes to all that great technology out there, we really rely on your expertise in order for us to survive,” Alston said at the RSL unveiling. “That’s a form of leadership. Leadership is not always described by the rank on your sleeve. It’s described by the ability to influence somebody to accomplish a mission. Anybody can influence someone else by the power someone perceives you have in a particular arena.”
Alston continued with an observation that “junior and mid-grade leaders” did not have a comparable organization to establish the camaraderie such as in the USSTRATCOM Senior NCO Association, which is comprised of Marine E-6 and above and all other services’ E-7 and above personnel. The RSL addresses that gap, and the interest level goes all the way up to Commander, USSTRATCOM Adm. Cecil D. Haney.
”Admiral Haney values the junior and mid-grade enlisted and their contributions to the command.Â He always wants to ensure they are provided an opportunity to grow and to develop as they will one day replace us as the leaders of tomorrow,” Alston emphasized.
The RSL’s genesis traces back to a conversation between Morgan and Williams. Morgan spends most of her time outside the headquarters building, which makes networking with other enlisted members challenging.
“(Williams) and I were talking, and we thought it would be great to network with other enlisted members in the command and talk about the issues facing us in the joint world,” Morgan explained. “I started talking to every junior enlisted person I ran into and asked for feedback on their development. What I was finding out was no one really knew their plan or knew how to get from Point A to Point B.”
Williams emphasized the concept of unity across all service branches as a defining feature of RSL, distinct from other service-specific enlisted groups.
“This is a joint environment and a joint group we can all be a part of. We can reach out and help our junior people, and that’s something I enjoy doing,” he said.
“This is about growing camaraderie in a unit,” Morgan added. “The services tend to gravitate towards each other for the most part, but there are also enlisted personnel scattered around the building in a singular number. Here, we can grow together, and one of the best parts of a joint environment is being able to learn from all the services.”
The RSL held their first meeting June 5 at the Command Conference Center. The venue offered a more intimate setting and allowed one-on-one time for the attendees with each other and with the guest speaker, Joint Forces Combatant Command-Global Strike Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sergeant Major Sheryl Lyon. Lyon spoke on a number of topics including professional development and mentorship.
“We had numerous people start talking to each other after the meeting, and just based on that small sample size, it’s helping out a lot. I think it will work,” Williams observed.
“No matter what it is, they’re networking. It’s huge. We’ve done so many things as a council together, and now it’s spreading to people who attend. Every weekend I have something I do with the Rising Strategic Leaders, and that’s great both personally and professionally,” Morgan added.
For more information on the Rising Strategic Leaders search “Rising Strategic Leaders” on Facebook to connect with the group.