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The Air Force’s top leaders issued a joint statement to airmen last week emphasizing the importance of the service’s core values. “When airmen fail to live up to our core values, the reputation of all who serve is tarnished,” wrote Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, and CMSAF James Cody in the March 13 statement. The Air Force must uphold “the sacred trust given to us by the American people . . . We must have the strength of character to do and say the right things at the right times, always with diplomacy, tact, and respect,” they wrote. “You are accountable not only for your actions, but also for failing to take action if you see bad behavior,” they reminded airmen. The Air Force leaders challenged airmen “to reaffirm their commitment” to have integrity first, to place service before themselves, and to be excellent in all they do. “Throughout our history as a service, airmen with tremendous moral courage have taught us there is no replacement for virtue, character, dignity, and respect. Today’s airmen . . . must continue this tradition.” James outlined a series of steps to curb what she called “systemic problems” in the nuclear force, including going back to the basics and reinvigorating USAF core values, following a widespread cheating scandal at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., earlier this year.