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My Coast Guard
Commentary | June 6, 2024

Strengthening Service Culture through Our Core Values

By Deputy Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Jahmal Pereira

Our Core Values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty are more than just words - they are the guiding principles that inspire us to be our best. Adopted 30 years ago, these values continue to shape our actions and interactions, serving as an ethical and moral compass in our service to the public and each other. Our Core Values are not just words: they are the foundation of our Service Culture. 

"Each and every one of us contributes to the well-being and organizational success of the Coast Guard," Adm. Linda Fagan said. "It's OUR Coast Guard. Together, we have the power to create the culture we aspire to, one that reflects the very best of who we are and what we stand for." 

Living Our Values Every Day: The Stories that Inspire Us 

As we embark on the Strengthening Service Culture Initiative, we recognize an exciting opportunity to reinvigorate our commitment to these values, and to understand how best to live them every day. The Core Values Project invites every member of Team Coast Guard to contribute their unique perspectives and experiences, helping us create a shared understanding of how we conduct ourselves, treat one another and the people we serve, and accomplish our mission. 

To start, the Core Values Project team will engage with the workforce through one-on-one interviews and other engagements, exploring two key questions: 

  • What does it look like when we're truly living our Core Values? 
  • How can we create a culture where each person, unit, and professional community embodies these values to the fullest? 

By sharing real-life stories and reflecting on moments that exemplify our values in action, we'll gain a deeper understanding of how Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty are expressed in our daily lives. At the same time, we'll identify the aspirational values, behaviors and actions that represent the highest standards to which we can strive. 

The Core Values Framework: The Foundation of Our Service Culture

The insights gathered from across the Service will form the foundation of a Core Values Framework - a roadmap for integrating our values into every aspect of our work, from leadership training to performance evaluations to policies. But even more important than policy change is the individual commitment each of us makes to live these values in our interactions with one another and those we serve. 

By recommitting ourselves to living them each day, we have the power to create a Service that inspires pride, trust, and the very best in one another. Together, we will work to strengthen Service Culture and ensure that our Core Values shine through in all that we do. 

Getting Involved and Reflecting on Your Values 

Interested in getting involved? We want to hear your voice and insights as we rediscover the power of our Core Values. In the coming months, we'll be offering a variety of engagement opportunities for Coast Guard members to contribute to this important initiative. From one-on-one interviews to small group discussions to larger forums, there will be multiple ways for you to share your experiences, ideas, and aspirations. 

Stay tuned for more information about these upcoming engagements and how you can get involved. In the meantime, you might start by reflecting on what our Core Values mean to you and how they shape your daily actions and interactions. Your unique perspective is essential to creating a shared understanding of our values and strengthening our service culture. 


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