One Summer, 9 Bases: DLC Delivers Leadership Training to 400+ Airmen, Guardians Worldwide

December 7, 2023

In a “Summer Blitz” between June and October, AFA’s Doolittle Leadership Center (DLC) delivered a series of 19 leadership development workshops to more than 400 Airmen, Guardians, and DOD civilians at nine Air Force and Space Force installations around the world. The DLC adapted the workshop—called “Lead, Develop, Care: Proactive Leadership for Competitive Advantage”—to meet the location- and mission-specific needs of each group.

“Given monumental geopolitical challenges and strategic complexities like Agile Combat Employment (ACE), Mission Command, and Multi-capable Airmen, our Airmen and Guardians need more than just leadership theory or generic management tools to succeed,” said Dr. Patrick Donley, a retired Air Force colonel and Director of the DLC. “Our warfighters need to know what to do as leaders. To this end, the ‘Lead, Develop, Care’ framework distills leadership into its most crucial elements so that leaders have a model to guide their actions and enable them to succeed practically and proactively.”

The DLC met in-person with hundreds of Airmen and Guardians—ranging from Air Force ROTC cadets to senior officers and enlisted leaders—and presented eight-hour workshops at nine installations around the world, including:

  • Air Force ROTC Detachment 890, Va.
  • Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
  • Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
  • Eielson AFB, Alaska
  • Nellis AFB, Nev.
  • Buckley SFB, Colo.
  • Peterson SFB, Colo.
  • Osan AB, South Korea
  • Kunsan AB, South Korea

Terry Cook, creator of the “Lead, Develop, Care” model and author of the book by the same name, assisted the DLC in adapting the program for military audiences. The workshops are designed to be interactive and to give students hands-on skills they can easily apply after the course ends.

“I think my favorite part of the course is watching these leaders ‘get it,’” Cook said after a workshop at Peterson SFB, Colo. “They recognize this is a practical tool which gives them insight into how you actually do your job as a leader.”

Post-workshop surveys demonstrated the value of this training throughout the force. Nearly every participant rated the training as either “extremely helpful” (77%) or “helpful” (21%) to their leadership development. Participants also reported an average 46% increase in self-rated leadership understanding after one 8-hour session.

“I wish I could have been mentored with or taught these principles earlier, and I wish more people could experience this training,” one Airman wrote in a survey. Another wrote, “I’ve been through a ton of leadership courses over the past +17 years of Active duty. I’ve heard it all. This is the very first course that has not only told me what I should do but given me the tools and shown me how to use them.”

After seeing the impact and feedback of the DLC’s tour de force in 2023, more Air Force and Space Force installations around the globe are requesting training for their personnel—while several of the original nine bases have already invited the DLC back for a second round.

“The best part of the tour was seeing the tangible difference ‘Lead, Develop, Care’ is making in the lives of our Airmen and Guardians,” Donley said. “Even though all of our students had attended various PME and leadership training events before, their overwhelmingly positive feedback indicates that we’re meeting a need. I truly believe this model can transform organizations across the DOD as well as the broader government, industry, and our nation as a whole.”

AFA’s Doolittle Leadership Center is expanding its offerings to include not only Air Force and Space Force personnel, but also government and industry partners. If you’re interested in learning more about the “Lead, Develop, Care” framework and how the DLC can improve leadership across your organization, contact us at