Air Force Academy

USAFA’s commandant makes culture at Academy top priority

(USAFA Article; photo above is the featured photo on the article) When Brig. Gen. Gavin Marks assumed command in June, he established three primary goals after consultation with U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Wing senior leaders.

Three months into his tenure as commandant of cadets, Marks remains committed to maintaining a healthy institutional culture, expanding training and development, and strengthening commitment to the profession of arms.

A clear vision for the Cadet Wing

The commandant leads 4,100 cadets and more than 200 Airmen, Guardians and civilian personnel. Marks earned his commission from the Academy in 1996. Before being appointed commandant, he served as the director of Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia.

“Brig. Gen. Marks has an impeccable reputation in the Air Force,” said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark. “He has a clear vision and goals for the Cadet Wing that will ensure we are developing the leaders of character our nation expects.”

Reinforcing a foundational healthy culture

Marks considers reinforcing a healthy culture his most important priority, he said.

“This is a long-term goal for me because culture takes time to evolve and can erode over time and must be constantly monitored,” Marks said. “[The Academy’s] culture is foundational to the development of our future leaders, and we need our culture to match what we expect of being members of the profession of arms. We need a culture that embodies the Air Force’s core values and doesn’t accept or tolerate anything less.”

The Academy represents a diverse American population, and its makeup as an organization should reflect the nation’s diversity, Marks said. Two current opportunities that showcase the Academy’s diversity commitment are the superintendent’s “Let’s Be Clear” campaign and the Leader of Character framework.

“We’re all on the same team, and nothing erodes trust and performance faster than disrespecting the dignity of your teammates,” Marks said.

“Diversity at the Academy enriches the cadet experience by exposing them to various viewpoints and experiences. Diversity in the Cadet Wing also prepares our leaders to lead diverse units. It also helps them to gain a true appreciation for receiving wide-ranging, diverse thoughts on matters of great importance.”

(STARRS NOTE: No one is against diversity of ‘thoughts’–although the Left likes to censor anyone who doesn’t think like them–but using this word is a cover for getting people to slide into accepting the divisive Diversity (of skin color/gender, etc) ideology/agenda of identity politics where merit is discarded. The USAFA graduates magazine, Checkpoint, had an article in its December issue which mentioned Diversity and DEI 14 times, yet when asked to publish an article by a former Air Force Chief of Staff that offered a ‘diverse’ thought on the subject, they refused. Here is the article: Racial Preferences At Our Service Academies Are Not Essential To National Security.

Expanding training and development

Second on Marks’ three priorities is a commitment to expand training and development for years. He wants each class to develop and train with intensity and purpose to help graduating cadets be prepared as newly commissioned lieutenants for any fight in the current or future environment.

“I want to leverage our world-class training facilities, cadre and permanent party to do even more with training and development for all of our class years,” Marks said. “We can drive 21st-century training with new doctrine on mission command, agile combat employment and multi-capable Airmen concepts to the Cadet Wing. Progressive, deliberate and continuous training is a staple for our operational Air Force and Space Force.”

Respecting the profession of arms

When cadets leave the Academy, they face a serious responsibility in their careers as U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force officers. Marks is committed to reinforcing respect for the qualities that future officers will need to fulfill their duties.

“I want to reinforce respect for and a commitment to the profession of arms in the near term,” Marks said. “We are the violent arm of politics and given a significant, serious responsibility. We’re a volunteer force, meaning we’re volunteering to live up to the professionalism, ethics and values of our profession. We’re committed to character, integrity, sacrifice, selflessness, courage, valor and excellence. I want to reinforce what that means—an understanding of the responsibilities of being a member of this profession.”

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