Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in All We Do
Whoever you are and wherever you fit on the Air Force team, the Core Values are what you will live by and learn to cherish.
The Core Values are much more than minimum standards. They remind us what it takes to get the mission done. They inspire us to do our very best at all times. They are the common bond among all comrades in arms, and they are the glue that unifies the Force and ties us to the great warriors and public servants of the past.
Integrity FirstThe Airman is a person of integrity, courage and conviction.
Integrity is a character trait. It is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking. It is the moral compass, the inner voice, the voice of self-control and the basis for the trust imperative in today's military.
Integrity is the ability to hold together and properly regulate all of the elements of a personality. A person of integrity, for example, is capable of acting on conviction. A person of integrity can control impulses and appetites.
But integrity also covers several other moral traits indispensable to national service.
- A person of integrity possesses moral courage and does what is right even if the personal cost is high.
- Honesty is the hallmark of the military professional because in the military, our word must be our bond. We don't pencil-whip training reports, we don't cover up tech data violations, we don't falsify documents and we don't write misleading operational readiness messages. The bottom line is: We don't lie, and we can't justify any deviation.
- No person of integrity is irresponsible; a person of true integrity acknowledges his/her duties and acts accordingly.
- No person of integrity tries to shift the blame to others or take credit for the work of others. "The buck stops here" says it best.
- A person of integrity practices justice. Those who do similar things must get similar rewards or similar punishments.
- Professionals of integrity encourage a free flow of information within the organization. They seek feedback from all directions to ensure they are fulfilling key responsibilities, and they are never afraid to allow anyone at any time to examine how they do business.
- To have integrity is also to respect oneself as a professional and a human being. A person of integrity does not behave in ways that would bring discredit upon himself/herself or the organization to which he/she belongs.
- A person of integrity grasps and is sobered by the awesome task of defending the Constitution of the United States of America.
Service Before SelfAn Airman's professional duties always take precedence over personal desires.
Service before self tells us that professional duties take precedence over personal desires. At the very least, it includes the following behaviors:
Rule FollowingTo serve is to do one's duty, and our duties are most commonly expressed through rules. While it may be the case that professionals are expected to exercise judgment in the performance of their duties, good professionals understand that rules have a reason for being - and the default position must be to follow those rules unless there is a clear, operational reason for refusing to do so.
Respect for OthersService before self tells us also that a good leader places the troops ahead of his/her personal comfort. We must always act in the certain knowledge that all persons possess a fundamental worth as human beings.
Discipline and Self-ControlProfessionals cannot indulge themselves in self-pity, discouragement, anger, frustration or defeatism. They have a fundamental moral obligation to the persons they lead to strike a tone of confidence and forward-looking optimism. More specifically, they are expected to exercise control in the following areas:
- Military professionals and especially commanders at all echelons are expected to refrain from displays of anger that would bring discredit upon themselves and/or the Air Force.
- Those who allow their appetites to drive them to make sexual overtures to subordinates are unfit for military service. Likewise, the excessive consumption of alcohol casts doubt on an individual's fitness.
- Religious Toleration
- Military professionals must remember that religious choice is a matter of individual conscience. Professionals - and especially commanders - must not take it upon themselves to change or coercively influence the religious views of subordinates.
Excellence in All We DoEvery American Airman strives for continual improvement in self and service.
Excellence in all we do directs us to develop a sustained passion for continuous improvement and innovation that will propel the Air Force into a long-term, upward spiral of accomplishment and performance.
Product/Service ExcellenceWe must focus on providing services and generating products that fully respond to customer wants and anticipate customer needs, and we must do so within the boundaries established by the tax-paying public.
Personal ExcellenceMilitary professionals must seek out and complete professional military education, stay in physical and mental shape and continue to refresh their general educational backgrounds.
Community ExcellenceCommunity excellence is achieved when the members of an organization can work together to successfully reach a common goal in an atmosphere that is free from fear and that preserves individual self-worth. Some of the factors influencing interpersonal excellence are:
- Mutual Respect
- Genuine respect involves viewing another person as an individual of fundamental worth. Obviously, this means that a person is never judged on the basis of his/her possession of an attribute that places him/her in some racial, ethnic, economic or gender-based category.
- Benefit of the Doubt
- Working hand in glove with mutual respect is that attitude that says all coworkers are innocent until proven guilty. Before rushing to judgment about a person or his/her behavior, it is important to have the whole story.
Excellence in all we do also demands that we aggressively implement policies to ensure the best possible cradle-to-grave management of resources.
There are two kinds of operations excellence: internal and external.
Text: U.S. Air Force