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517th TRG hosts inaugural Cryptologic Language Analyst Convention

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ethan Sherwood and Airman 1st Class Madison Collier
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Cali. – The 517th Training Group launched the first year of CLACON, much like the previous iterations of Visit-A-Palooza; the 517th TRG invited intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance experts to the Presidio of Monterey, May 15-17. 

CLACON, Cryptologic Language Analyst Convention, formerly called Visit-A-Palooza, was an opportunity for operational units and their commanders to come and see how the 517th Training Group operates. 

“We reengineered it this year to still brief them on the state of our training and Airmen, but also to have them turn around and brief us on where they stand operationally and what we can do to shift more to support the mindset of Great Power Competition,” said Master Sgt. Nate Rogers, 517th Training Group Commanders Action Group. “We want to start engraving this mindset into the cryptologic language analysts of the future so we can better succeed as we progress into the future of GPC.”

Air Force ISR experts from around the world witnessed cutting-edge linguist training and engaged in collaborative efforts to further enhance the capabilities of our warfighters. Defense Language Institute instructors briefed the daily schedule of DLI students and the changes made to improve training- including Linguist Next, the introduction of virtual reality, and class trips to the country of their targeted language. 

Goodfellow Air Force Base, a key player in this transformative journey, tuned into CLACON virtually to brief the rigorous training in store for the second part of linguist training with the 316th Training Squadron. This phase marks a significant transition for the students, as they will apply their language training to various real-life scenarios, preparing to step into their roles as dedicated warfighters.

ISR leaders observed classrooms and met with students who would soon enter the operational workforce, giving them insight into their own careers. They invited the students to share their training experience and ask questions about their future jobs and bases. This interaction gave the students an inside view, strongly reinforcing their motivation to finish their training. 

To wrap up, attendees came together and collaborated and discussed multiple topics: What are the gaps between training and reaching the operational field? How are we supporting our Airmen and promoting resiliency? What can be done to better prepare Airmen while they are in training? 

These discussions assisted both the 517th TRG and ISR leaders in creating a game plan for what needs to be done to better prepare incoming CLAs as they transition into their operational units and served as a feedback session for how CLACON can be improved for future iterations. 

“I think, different from Visit-A-Palooza, CLACON was a much more interactive seminar-based engagement amongst leadership that facilitated conversations with both the units and the Defense Language Institute that can influence the future of how we can further develop the language career field in the future,” said Lt. Col. Brad Hyatt, 94th Intelligence Squadron commander. “Being able to get exposed to the different approaches that the other units are taking while understanding what we can see in the near, middle and long term DLI development is very important. We need to be on the same page going forward with all of our efforts.”

At the end of the week, all attendees were invited to the 72nd Language Day, held at the Presidio of Monterey. An event where all attendees get to be immersed into the foreign cultures of those who instruct at DLI and an opportunity to see students put their gained knowledge on display with informational booths, cultural activities and performances. An experience that culminates all of the knowledge gained while at POM.