JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) — When referencing fundamental standards, Airmen now have a single source: Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards.
As one of the capstone acts of his 39-year career, Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, put his signature on the brand new instruction, which communicates in one document the required standards of conduct, performance and discipline expected of every uniformed Airman.
The instruction — the first and only to be signed and certified by the chief of staff — was preceded by Air Force Policy Directive 1, Air Force Culture, in which the secretary of the Air Force directed the chief of staff to develop and execute policy related to standards.
The new instruction is particularly noteworthy not because it offers many new standards, but because it consolidates many of the standards that had been spread among many separate instructions, officials said. In a single document, the instruction conveniently summarizes the expected standards of conduct for uniformed Airmen.
The intention for the instruction is to serve as a compass, providing a convenient overview of standards while directing Airmen to other instructions where more detailed information may be found, officials said.
Having a one-stop shop for standards-related guidelines, while not unprecedented, has long been absent in the Air Force. In fact, the vast majority of the new instruction’s initial content and structure were borrowed from the now outdated Air Force Regulation 30-1, Air Force Standards, which was not replaced in the early 1990s when Air Force instructions replaced Air Force regulations.
In December 2011, Schwartz directed the Air Staff to develop the new instruction. Much of the heavy lifting related to coordinating and drafting the instruction was performed by Scott Martin, a legal advisor on Schwartz’s senior air staff counsel.
“We needed to capture and consolidate the existing Air Force standards,” said Martin, a 23-year veteran who retired as a colonel in 2010.
From cover to cover, the instruction counts 27 pages, broken into three chapters.
The first chapter, the Air Force environment, focuses on topics such as core values, customs and courtesies, force structure and diversity. According to the chapter overview, the Air Force environment “encompasses the actions, values and standards we live by each and every day.”
The second chapter focuses on standards of conduct, including sections on professional relationships, ethics, drug and alcohol abuse, and government neutrality regarding religion.
The instruction’s final chapter addresses standards related to dress and appearance, physical fitness and government housing.
Martin said that while he borrowed a lot from the old regulation, it was incomplete for today’s Air Force since so much had changed in the past two decades.
“We updated it and brought it up to the 21st century to address contemporary challenges that Airmen face,” he said.
Some of those 21st century updates include standards related to relationships on social media, the wingman concept, resiliency, sexual assault prevention and response, tattoos and body piercing, and the Joint Ethics Regulation.
Martin said he expected the instruction to become a valuable resource for educating today’s Airmen.
“If you have a young Airman who’s not quite getting it, this will be a great tool for a mentoring session,” he said. “Every Airman should periodically review these standards of conduct to assure he is living up to what the Air Force expects of him every day.”
(AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards, and AFPD 1, Air Force Culture, can be found on www.e-publishing.af.mil.)