AFLCMC Black History Month profile: Dr. Carlos Braziel, AFSAC

  • Published
  • By Allyson B. Crawford, AFLCMC Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) -- Dr. Carlos Braziel is Chief of the Global Facilities Support Division of the Air Force Security and Cooperation (AFSAC) Directorate, part of Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC). He has held this role since the beginning of 2019. Dr. Braziel has worked all over the world, first as an active-duty member of the Air Force, then as a government contractor, and now as a civilian. Dr. Braziel is the first person to hold the position of Chief of Global Facilities Support; orchestrating the branch’s transition into a division. His deep knowledge of security cooperation (SC) and how different cultures conduct successful business across the globe makes him a smart choice to lead the division in providing facilities and services support to the Air Force’s foreign partners. In fact, his passion for education and understanding different cultures sent him on a path to a Doctor of Education Degree in Organizational Leadership.

Dr. Braziel joined the Air Force in 1989 and became a high-voltage electrician. He studied hard during his time in the Air Force, earning degrees in different disciplines including engineering, computer science and management.

As a military security cooperation officer (SCO), Dr. Braziel served as the Chief of Personnel and Resource Management and Joint Civil Engineer at the United States (U.S.) embassy in Cairo, Egypt. The experience was eye-opening.

“My doctorate is all about organizational leadership with a focus in cross-cultural leadership [and] communication,” Dr. Braziel explains. “So what I realized when I was in Cairo is that some of the Air Force SCOs were having difficulty in building cross-cultural relationships with their foreign partners because we did not receive the foreign area officer (FAO) training like our Army and Navy counterparts. In fact, we try to use our same imprint that we use to operate, communicate, interact with other Western type counterparts. Non-western environments [are] completely different. I went over to Egypt -- thinking I was Captain America -- asking the status of taskers without first attempting to build a personal connection. I had to build trust before I could even ask for any type of support, or ask them to act on something that was going to benefit them. It took me about six months to learn how to build that relationship, and eventually earn their trust, which in turn led to getting commitments. I realized for us to be effective as security cooperation officers, we need to know how to manage and maintain relationships with our foreign partners.”  This discovery prompted Dr. Braziel to focus his doctoral research on analyzing the cross-cultural competencies of SCOs.

After being selected to rank of Staff Sergeant and earning his first Associates of Applied Science degree from the Community College of the Air Force in 1996, Dr. Braziel started thinking of his future.  He formulated a plan to complete a four-year degree in two years with the goal of applying for Officer Training School (OTS). 

“At the time, I did not see a lot of individuals that look like me in the commissioned officer corps and the selection rate to OTS for prior-service personnel was quite low.  Therefore, as a back-up, I was planning to separate from the Air Force and pursue a career in the electrical power distribution industry.” Dr. Braziel took a shot and applied for OTS in 1998.  He was accepted and continued his military career, eventually retiring as a Major in 2010.  Later, he became a government contractor, dealing with business development for Middle East and North African countries. It was during his contractor years that he completed his doctorate.

Dr. Braziel became an Air Force civilian employee in 2011, first working as an assistant professor for Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, later moving to other roles that enabled him to use his technical, educational, and multi-cultural expertise earned from his years in service. He worked for United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and eventually came to AFSAC and AFLCMC in 2016. Working to support strategic relationships and helping foreign partners grow their military capability is where Dr. Braziel wants to stay in his career.

Outside of work, Dr. Braziel serves as an adjunct professor for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and previously served as the Legal and Legislative Review Committee Chairperson for the Dayton, Ohio chapter of Blacks in Government (BiG). BiG’s goal is to help promote equity, excellence, and opportunity for African Americans in public service.

“Diversity is power,” says Dr. Braziel. “When you have people from different backgrounds, they bring different ideas, different perspectives to the team. And that's very beneficial to problem solving. So, BiG’s purpose is to improve the diversity and overall effectiveness of federal, state, and local governments through the recruitment and advancement of minorities.”

It is not surprising to learn that Dr. Braziel mentors younger employees within AFLCMC. Some is through the Air Force mentorship program, but other guidance is more organic. Dr. Braziel likes to make himself a sounding-board for younger employees looking to grow their careers.

“I'm always willing to share my story of how I was able to go about accomplishing goals throughout my career. Instead of simply giving advice, I focus on providing perspective which allows them to determine what will work best for them. And hopefully, that perspective will give them some other opportunities or ideas to ponder to help them develop themselves into the professionals that they need to be.”

For individuals just beginning their careers Dr. Braziel has advice for those feeling overwhelmed with completing training and professional requirements in what seems to be a short timeframe. He thinks back to some wisdom a supervisor gave him as a new airman with no stripes. That supervisor told him to breakdown monumental goals into smaller tasks which can be tackled a little bit at a time, keep documentation of progress, and celebrate the milestones.

“Having a plan where you have milestones and goals along the way helps show that you're making progress toward something, and that keeps you motivated,” Dr. Braziel concludes.