Changing culture through dignity and respect

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio -- Col. Aaron M. Prupas addressed family, friends and members of the National Air and Space Center after assuming command of NASIC during a ceremony held at the National Museum of the United States Air Force May 30. During the ceremony, Col. Kathleen C. Sakura relinquished command of NASIC and later retired from the Air Force following 24 years of service. Maj. Gen. Robert P. Otto, commander of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, Lackland AFB, Texas, presided over the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Veronica Pierce)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio -- Col. Aaron M. Prupas addressed family, friends and members of the National Air and Space Center after assuming command of NASIC. Prupas has served as NASIC commander since May 30, 2012.


The world we live in today is highly complex and presents our Air Force with diverse and demanding challenges that together we can and will overcome. While we work through today's toughest issues, we cannot lose touch with the foundation of our decisions and that foundation is in our core values. Our underpinning principles serve as a guide ensuring our daily actions come as a result of sound decisions aligned with our strategic values. When we lose touch with our foundation, the problems in our world take over, and we can forget the basics. By doing so, we endanger the culture we have worked so hard to achieve as a service.


We all know the Air Force core values -- integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do. At the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, I have challenged our team to adopt a fourth core value: dignity and respect.   I believe that while not explicitly stated in the three primary core values, the concept of treating each and every individual that you interact with in a respectful and dignified manner is a cornerstone to the Air Force mission. We are best postured to achieve our missions when every member of our team is respected in every engagement -- regardless of rank, grade or any number of personal characteristics that make us a diverse fighting force.


Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf said: "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it." We must treat everyone with dignity and respect in every engagement -- everyone brings something of value to the fight and is an important member of the team. By actively pursuing daily ways to exercise this tenant, it will continue to lead our culture to change in a positive way. Through daily actions, dignity and respect become integral to our service's foundation. Then, when we confront threats and challenges in our mission, we won't be fooled into allowing a stressful situation to turn into a disrespectful one. To echo Secretary (Deborah Lee) James, Gen. (Mark) Welsh and Chief (Master Sgt. James) Cody, our Air Force depends on Airmen having complete trust and confidence in one another. This is directly applied in the wingman concept of mutual support. A culture of trust and confidence is one that is hard earned but that can be easily lost. By embodying a culture of dignity and respect, we are strengthening trust   and confidence while we inoculate our organizations against the tyranny of fear, harassment, and abuse.


As Air Force Airmen we do set the standard for others to follow. Our standards are high and must be maintained in order to fuel the most capable and ready Air Force in the world. That means to do what's right and guide others to do it as well by maintaining an enduring climate of dignity and respect. This will ensure our people are mission ready and capable of taking on tomorrow's challenges.