In a widely distributed op-ed style piece, US Air Force Academy Superintendent LtGen Michelle Johnson answered the question “Why you should consider attending a service academy,” though by “service academy” she meant USAFA. The Supe highlighted leadership, followership, sports — and also the culture of character:
At the Academy, character is paramount – while they’re evaluating our Academy we’re evaluating them to determine if they have the honor and fortitude it takes to succeed at the Academy and serve in our Air Force…
Our four-year curriculum and emphasis on character development is interwoven in all aspects of cadet life to create an atmosphere of trust and accountability amongst cadets and staff…
Our emphasis on impeccable character is why it becomes “news” when an extremely small minority of our cadets does not meet our high standards. We hold ourselves to a higher standard.
(Despite using similar language about character, LtGen Johnson’s column did not include a disclaimer as BGen McGregor’s did.)
Character is, of course, extremely important, but simply saying “impeccable Read more
Reserve BrigGen Udo “Karl” McGregor is the US Air Force Vice Commander to the little-known Joint Enabling Capabilities Command. He has a storied career, from a helicopter mechanic as an Airman in the 1970s to the C-5 and joint billets today, logging more than 11,000 flight hours along the way.
On February 2nd, the official Air Force website published Gen McGregor’s commentary entitled simply “Character.” This was the very first line, emphasized in the original italics:
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Air Force, Defense Department or the U.S. Government.
For its part, the short article almost seemed to Read more
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State recently joined in on the debate over US Air Force Academy football prayers by calling it an “incident” and a “problem.”
It seems even the AU’s Rob Boston didn’t think this was the issue Michael “Mikey” Weinstein was making it out to be:
I’ll admit that when I first read about this, I didn’t think it was a big deal. These are college students, I reasoned, not high schoolers. They could decline to take part if they don’t want to pray, right?
Boston then reconsiders, saying that because the games have mandatory attendance (in a long-running thorn in every cadet’s side, the cost of each ticket is deducted from their pay) and there is a military chain of command, it must be a “problem.” He cites Weinstein’s single email from a self-described USAFA football player:
He writes that there’s great pressure to participate in the joint prayer.
“If you don’t go along with it you are not going to be viewed as a good follower or teammate,” the anonymous player writes… “There are enough of us who feel pressured to conform and this is wrong…I mean virtually the whole team kneeling down and praying on the field in front of the crowds.”
There’s an important omission, however: The cadet never says he prayed Read more
Col Christopher Sage recently wrote an article (oddly, published at the commercial Air Force Times rather than through the Air Force) calling on the Air Force to explicitly add “courage” to its list of core values that currently include integrity, service, and excellence.
The trait of courage was absorbed under integrity in the 1997 construct, and only briefly described as “doing what is right…”
Courage should be explicit, not implicit, in our core values. It is time to elevate courage to its proper place.
In an interesting bit of history, Col Sage notes that the 1997 Air Force pamphlet on the core values focused on the institution, rather than the individual:
“Our first task is to fix organizations; individual character development is possible, but it is not a goal.” It goes on Read more
The US Air Force Academy quietly announced the USAFA Mosaic Character and Leadership Coaching Program had received the Best Practices Award from Florida State University’s Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values last month.
Col. Joseph Sanders, director of the Academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development program [said] “Mosaic coaching has become one of the primary methods that cadets in the squadron can strengthen their commitments to each other and the Air Force’s values, through a professional coaching intervention that is committed to respecting the worth of the individual.”
The notable thing is that Dr. Mike Rosebush — not mentioned in the article — is credited with much of the work behind the “design and execution” of the MOSAIC program. That’s the same Dr. Rosebush that a few critics tried to get fired because he previously Read more
The US Air Force Academy is hosting its annual National Character and Leadership Symposium this week with the theme “Character overcoming Conflict: Individual Stories, Global Impact.” One of the invited speakers is Mike Farrell, most famous for his role as BJ Hunnicutt in MASH. He’s also been an advocate for other causes, including opposition to the death penalty and a board member of the Cult Awareness Network. What Farrell is less known for is his advocacy for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF, as a member of his “advisory board.”
It is unclear if the MRFF will be part of Farrell’s address at the NCLS, though it is fair to say Farrell has been discreet about his involvement with Weinstein’s outfit.
USAFA’s NCLS is an academic forum that has hosted a wide variety of speakers over the years — including Weinstein himself. This year is no different, and Farrell is hardly Read more
The US Air Force Academy published an article featuring cadets attending a seminar on “ethical dilemmas.”
Eight special operations captains from Kirtland and Cannon Air Force Bases, Academy active-duty Airmen and Air Force retirees shared ethical dilemmas that have occurred in their personal and professional lives with about 70 cadets, to engage in reflective conversation, focus on character and leadership, identify pressure that make ethical action challenging and how to improve them.
While the class was certainly long-scheduled, the timing of the public affairs piece is probably not coincidental, given the recent focus on ethics — more accurately, ethical failures — in the US military.
The cadets were introduced to the USAFA Center for Character Development’s ARDA model for decision-making: Awareness, Reasoning, Decision and Action. They then rotated through tables where they interacted with active duty officers who spoke to them about ethical dilemmas they had experienced.
The program certainly gained much credibility in Read more