New AFSAC Director looks to ‘Unleash Talent’ across the Security Cooperation Enterprise

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  • By Daryl Mayer, AFLCMC Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) – Returning to the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate a decade later, Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey admitted it felt a bit surreal walking back in the building and into the Boss’s – now his – office. 
“To literally come back to the exact same unit, the exact same building, and in some cases, the exact same people, was like stepping into a time warp,” Cropsey said.  “But the AFSAC I have the privilege of leading today is not the same AFSAC I left almost 10 years ago.  We are light-years ahead of where we were in multiple different areas like process improvement, data analytics, and product delivery timelines.”
Cropsey served as the Materiel Leader in the Pacific/South East Asia/Americas Branch from August 2011 to July 2013.  Last month, he returned as the AFSAC Director. 
You might say his experience with foreign affairs started a bit earlier as he spent much of his early years with his missionary parents in Africa. 
“My dad ran a 25 bed hospital out in the sticks of Africa. And so I spent most of my formative years growing, kind of out in the middle of nowhere.” 
He came back to the states as a senior just in time to receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy.  A graduate degree in material science from Michigan State in his now-claimed home state followed. 
His career has taken him from a wide variety of research and acquisition positions and programs across the US and Europe where he worked as an Information Operations and Space Planner, and Executive Officer to the Director of Operations for U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.  His most recent assignment was as the Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics at the Pentagon.    
It was while at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., that he wrote out the leadership philosophy he had developed throughout his career.  He calls it “Unleashing Talent.” 
It began with thoughts about how he wanted to run a System Program Office. 
“I realized then that I really needed a more foundational framework, one that encompassed my leadership philosophy, values, execution approach, and management theory in a way that was uniquely my own,” he said.
He began to see his role in an organization as giving people the opportunity to reach their full potential with two basic principles at work.   
“One is the idea that excellence has to be an individual quest. You've got to want to own that for yourself. I can't do that for you,” Cropsey said. 
The second part was reaping the benefit from that excellence. 
“If excellence is the individual quest part of that equation, then the taking of that individual talent and actually doing something useful with it, that has to get done inside of teams.  And so at the end of the day, our organizations are effective to the point where they put those teams together and then allow those individuals that are on that team to perform at their best with their strengths, while the rest of the team then mitigates where those holes are.” 
To hear the full conversation, you can watch Leadership Log on YouTube at  You can also listen by searching “Leadership Log” on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Overcast, Radio Public or Breaker.