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Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson (Air Force Photo)
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Strengthening our culture of commitment

Posted 2/12/2014   Updated 2/12/2014 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson
Academy Superintendent

2/12/2014 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- As we sprint into the spring semester, I'd like to expand on one of our strategic imperatives: our Culture of Commitment and Climate of Respect for all at the Air Force's Academy.

Lately, I've been citing political theorist Thomas Paine, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value," because it's becoming more and more clear that what we personally invest in and "own," we value most highly.

What we need to own together is a strong culture of commitment, whereby our cadets, faculty and staff are committed to service to our nation, our Air Force and its Core Values, to this Academy and each other -- committed not just because rules dictate so, but because it's the right thing to do.

New initiatives now put more responsibility on the shoulders of the cadet chain of command and emphasize a strong sense of duty, commitment and accountability. We are giving the cadet leadership more authority and I have been proud to watch them really step up and run the cadet wing with confident yet humble ownership.

In the course of examining the workings of the cadet wing, it has become evident to me that the cadets are in many ways overscheduled and over-managed. We are testing a new pass policy which gives cadets more flexibility in their schedules, while emphasizing command responsibilities. In the coming months, we will look at our schedule to find opportunities to allow cadets an increased role in decision-making and to promote mature understanding of opportunities and consequences.

To strengthen our climate of respect, we have realigned many programs under a retitled Director of Culture, Climate, and Diversity. While this structural change will help USAFA align cultural sensors, the truly important work lies with all personnel at USAFA.

Organizationally, we are committed to a work and living environment free from prejudice, focused on respect. Our goal from the beginning has been to eliminate all sexual harassment and violence incidents. Likewise, my commander's intent has been to ensure we remain united in supporting Air Force Instruction 1-1, including individual freedom of expression balanced with government neutrality regarding religion. I'm glad to see our mission element commanders discussing this directly with you.

As some of you may have seen, -- with a lot of help from experts -- I now have a Twitter account (@USAFA_Supt). I look forward to using this medium to communicate more frequently with you; and more importantly, I look forward to hearing from all of you as we continue to develop leaders of character for our Air Force and for our nation.

2/15/2014 7:11:41 AM ET
Hello from a member of the class of 1994. I applaud the changes you are making and hope the climate of USAFA will become one we can all be proud of. I especially noted your words It has become evident to me that the cadets are in many ways overscheduled and over-managed. I will be interested to see how those changes are implemented. Proud to be a Zoomie GME
Gabriela Montoya-Eyerman, Maine United States
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