JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Vince Lombardi, one of the most successful professional football coaches in history, was famous for beginning his practices by saying… “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He understood that the basics won games. The basics brought his team together. The basics were the foundation. Let’s take a moment to focus on the basics of our service.
As service members and federal civilian employees, we all raised our right hands and took an oath affirming or swearing to, "...defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." The oath we took -- whether it was last month, last year or many years ago -- is part of our common history and purpose, a unifying force and the foundation for our service… an accepting and diverse service to our nation. A service focused on being ready for war tomorrow, with the intention of forestalling that moment. There are innumerable tasks to be completed to make our service successful, however the foundation is the ethical standards bringing us together and building our credibility with the people we serve.
We must be committed to fostering and maintaining a strong ethical culture in which all employees are truthful and respectful in our dealings with each other and with those outside our organizations. We should always remain sensitive to others and pause to consider our actions to ensure we maintain a workplace free from harassment and discrimination of any type.
Public service is a public trust, which means we are, and should be, held to a higher standard. By following a few simple rules of thumb which I use, we will remain strong and successful.
1) Do your best at whatever you are supposed to be doing, right now. Understand your mission. Don’t be distracted by things other than your team’s mission.
2) Be nice. Build a team and create the foundation for success in our collaborative enterprise.
3) When someone isn’t living up to the standards of our service, help repair the situation. Each of us is accountable for the culture in the teams of which we are members. Improve those teams.
Our nation is only as strong as our culture, and the culture we have is the one we accept. Keep our expectations high and the nation will be better for it.
For a bit more detail, please take a few minutes to review the federal Guiding Principles for our Code of Ethics as codified in Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 2635. When the next story is released about our service, let’s ensure it is a proud moment.
14 Guiding Principles that make up the Code of Ethics:
1. Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain.
2. Employees shall not hold financial interests that conflict with the conscientious performance of duty.
3. Employees shall not engage in financial transactions using nonpublic government information or allow the improper use of such information to further any private interest.
4. An employee shall not, except pursuant to such reasonable exceptions as are provided by regulation, solicit or accept any gift or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting, activities regulated by the employee’s agency, or whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee’s duties.
5. Employees shall put forth honest effort in the performance of their duties.
6. Employees shall make no unauthorized commitments or promises of any kind purporting to bind the government.
7. Employees shall not use public office for private gain.
8. Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.
9. Employees shall protect and conserve federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activities.
10. Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities, including seeking or negotiating for employment, conflicting with official government duties and responsibilities.
11. Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse and corruption to appropriate authorities.
12. Employees shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those—such as federal, state or local taxes — imposed by law.
13. Employees shall adhere to all laws and regulations providing equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or handicap.
14. Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance they are violating the law or the ethical standards promulgated pursuant to this order.