Doing the right things for the right reasons

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As many of you may recall, the core values are November's focus area for Air Force Space Command's Year of Leadership and it seems appropriate to place special emphasis on them during this time. Every aspect of our Air Force life is captured in our core values. Our core values are not just for the military or leaders, but apply to all of our Airmen and civilians at every level. We have been told many times to live the Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do. But, do we fully understand them?

Our Air Force core values provide the foundation for our everyday decisions. They are the guiding principles that allow us to determine right from wrong. More importantly, they allow us to make good, sound decisions. Early in my Air Force career, I had the privilege to observe many great leaders and commanders. They all emphasized through their actions and decisions doing the right things for the right reasons.

Integrity is where it all begins, hence Integrity First. In its most general form, integrity means forthright honesty. It means being the kind of person others can rely on for accurate, complete, and timely disclosure of facts. It's the discipline in doing the right thing even when nobody is looking.

Doing the right thing for the right reason requires Service Before Self. It focuses our efforts on motivating our subordinates and successfully accomplishing the mission. We are not just accomplishing a job, but are practitioners of the profession of arms. By its very nature, this responsibility requires us to place the needs of our service and our country before personal concerns.

Finally, we strive for Excellence in All We Do. Excellence means accomplishing the mission well. It is focused on getting the job done right the first time and on time. Excellence requires that we know our job, have a broad view and completely understand the mission. Striving for excellence requires us to take responsibility in our work and to do what is right. It drives us to do our job better and to accomplish the mission more effectively.

As members of the Air Force, we must understand, cherish and live by our core values. Our deeply embedded core values will enable all of us to make good decisions without constant direction or supervision. These strong values tell us what is important. I challenge you to internalize within yourself the Air Force's core values and then you will have the tools necessary to do the right things for the right reasons.