“We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate anyone among us who does.” The USAFA Honor Code, adopted in 1955 with the first class of the U.S. Air Force Academy, has evolved to meet the needs of the Air Force and address the challenges each generation of new Airmen faces. USAFA’s Honor System, centered on the Honor Code, is designed to be a developmental system for cadets to become leaders of character who live an honorable life.
Future leaders of the Air and Space Force, cadets set an example the rest of the force will follow. Their integrity and ability to carry out high-impact military actions to preserve lives establishes and maintains the trust of the American people whom they serve. As such, it is vital cadets internalize living honorably early in their career to continue the tradition of excellence across the Air and Space Force.
In the Spring 2020 semester, when USAFA sent 3,000 cadets home for remote learning due to COVID, the Academy experienced a surge of honor violations involving 249 cadets. Infractions included group collaboration on tests, using search engines to find answers on quizzes, and more.
Rapid Problem Refinement
While an Honor System review had already been in progress with various studies and whitepapers, this large-scale collection of incidents among the cadets spurred the USAFA leadership to identify innovative ideas to be implemented quickly.
The Superintendent acted swiftly, directing a design sprint with guidance to review the entire Honor System with an open mind and with all ideas welcome. Lt Gen Clark’s intent was for rapid movement on problem refinement and solution generation that would enable the cadets to own and embrace the System.
Outcome: Ideas and Action
AF CyberWorx facilitated a design sprint with 36 participants February 16-18, 2021. The group focused on how the US Air Force Academy can develop cadets’ ability to live more honorably as leaders of character. At the end of the sprint, six teams designed 31 ideas and briefed 8 of those to the Superintendent of USAFA Lieutenant General Richard Clark.
Next steps are to examine and prioritize the ideas developed during the design sprint. A dedicated Implementation Team packaged the ideas into a coherent framework and developed action steps to implement the solution.