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Academy Lays Out Strategy

Seven Strategic Goals

Focus on character and leadership development

Integrate institutional processes

Strengthen our communications and reputation

Prepare and motivate the workforce

Produce highly educated and trained officers

Secure and manage resources

Enhance faculty, staff and cadet diversity

By Capt. Uriah Orland

Academy Public Affairs

Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, "Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Despite being written around 100 B.C., the words still ring true. The U.S. Air Force Academy has outlined the strategy that will carry it forward in its mission to "educate, train and inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the U.S. Air Force in service to our nation."

Volume 1 of the U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Plan 2008-2013 was published in December 2007 and outlines seven strategic goals that reflect the Academy's vision and are linked to the Air Force's 2006 strategic goals and objectives. These goals are broad focus areas that, when achieved, will better enable the Academy to achieve its overall mission. "It is critically important that everyone read and understand our Strategic Plan," Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen. John Regni, said. "The most challenging item with any strategic plan is getting it off the coffee tables and into the hands--and minds--of all of our people. We've published a thin, easy-to-read version, and I encourage everyone assigned here to read it and think of how they can accomplish it. That is how it becomes a living document."

Across the board, every person working at the Academy supports the development of the cadets, whether directly or indirectly.

"Not everyone is involved in all seven goals," the general continued. "But, if you look closely at each goal, you will see that you do, in fact, contribute. For example, the first goal is about character development -- our core values. Even if you never see cadets during your day, the cadets see you and your actions, and they see the core values as day-to-day actions."

As future leaders of the Air Force and the nation, cadets must have the qualities necessary to meet the Air Force's operational needs. They must be intelligent, innovative, principled, disciplined and fit-to-fight. To fulfill these needs, the Academy fosters in its climate - and, therefore, will instill in its graduates -- the Air Force Core Values: Integrity First; Service Before Self; and, Excellence in All We Do. From these core values, the Academy derives the three key cadet development outcomes centered on commissioning leaders of character: Leaders committed to societal, professional, and individual responsibilities; leaders empowered by integrated intellectual and warrior skills; and leaders grounded in essential knowledge of the profession of arms, and the human and physical worlds.

These outcomes ground everything everyone here does in responsibilities, skills and knowledge. Collectively, they outline a commitment to the core values; strong personal, interpersonal, team and organizational leadership abilities; and a foundation of knowledge and experiences that support further development at the operational and strategic leadership levels. The strategic planning process is centered on the three key activities: assess, plan and execute. Strategic performance measures are used to track the success in implementing the plan.

Volume 2 of the strategic plan, The Initiatives, will identify strategic mission element initiatives designed to achieve the strategic goals and objectives; it is scheduled to be published in October. It will also contain additional qualitative and quantitative measures for these objectives and their supporting strategic initiatives." The development of this plan was across the board," said Col. Paul Ackerman, vice superintendent. "Everyone has had a voice in the plan and, now, they are contributing to its success.

"The U.S. Air Force Academy already has a proud heritage of developing leaders of character for the Air Force and the nation; now, we honor and preserve that heritage by strategically planning for and investing in the future" -- Air Force Academy Strategic Plan.

The U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Plan 2008-2013 is available online at:

Editor's Note: This is the first segment of an eight-part series about the strategic plan featuring the seven strategic goals. Look for more coverage on Goal #1 in next week's issue.

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