The basis of true strength
is Character.

Character is "the sum of those qualities of moral excellence which compel a person to do the right thing despite pressure or temptations to the contrary." At the United States Air Force Academy, we'll teach you to evince character in everything you do.


Character + Leadership (CCLD)

Character and leadership development is a crucial, all encompassing part of a cadet’s experience at the United States Air Force Academy. The Center for Character & Leadership Development (CCLD) ensures that character development, education and scholarship are a major focus of Academy life.

From basic training to graduation, cadets can expect to see character development programs in every aspect of their lives, with the ultimate goal of imbuing them with the inner desire to put integrity first, place service before self, and strive for excellence in all they do.

Vision and Mission of the CCLD

The CCLD is the Air Force’s premier center for integrating the development of character and leadership and the United States Air Force Academy’s catalyst for achieving it’s highest purpose. It’s mission is to facilitate programs and activities throughout all aspects of cadet life, which help cadets develop this internal moral compass. The Center’s activities and initiatives are firmly grounded in its conceptual framework for character and leadership development, creating an environment where cadets and faculty alike “Own, Engage, and Practice” the habits of honorable thoughts and actions in line with an identity of a leader of character.

CCLD Commitments
  • To elevate and integrate character and leadership development, both conceptually and structurally throughout the entire USAFA experience
  • To advance the scholarship of character and leadership
  • To providing world-class education and experiences for USAFA cadets and staff

The CCLD facilitates character development programs and activities throughout all aspects of the Academy experience.  Its objective is to graduate officers who have forthright integrity and voluntarily decide the right thing to do — and do it! Graduating officers:

  • Are selfless in service to the country, the Air Force, and their subordinates.
  • Are Committed to excellence in the performance of their personal and professional responsibilities.
  • Respect the dignity of all human beings and are decisive, even when facing high risk.
  • Take full responsibility for their decisions and possess the self-discipline, stamina and courage to do their duty well under even the most extreme and prolonged conditions in support of the national defense.
  • Appreciate the significance of spiritual values and beliefs to their own character development and that of the community. 

Organization of the CCLD

The CCLD is organized into four directorates:

  • Honor
  • Cadet Development
  • Integration & Outreach
  • Scholarship
Honor Directorate

The Honor Directorate is responsible for administering the cadet honor code. The honor code was created by, and is owned by Academy cadets. It is central to life at the Academy, creating an environment of trust and cooperation unparalleled at other colleges or universities. Cadets themselves ensure that the code is kept and that violations of the code are brought to light. Under the guidance of the Honor Directorate, the Cadet Honor Committee is responsible for administering the Honor Code, adjudicating possible violations and recommending appropriate sanctions.

Cadet Character & Leadership Development Directorate

The Cadet Development Directorate provides a variety of classroom, seminar, workshop and experiential learning programs — including an Adventure-based learning (ABL) ropes course — to all cadets. These cadet development programs encourage character and leadership development throughout the cadet experience and across Academy life. There are hundreds of opportunities for involvement throughout the four years of a cadet’s Academy career.

Integration & Outreach Directorate

The Integration & Outreach Directorate organizes character and leadership development courses, workshops, lectures and cadet service learning opportunities for the Academy. It was formed to provide an intentional focus on alignment of CCLD efforts both within the Center and across the Academy and beyond. A focus on strategic partnerships and efficiencies enhances the reach and impact of CCLD initiatives, and brings external perspectives and best practices to our efforts.

Scholarship Directorate

The Scholarship Directorate was created to generate diversity of thought and innovation that takes theory into practice and helps CCLD and the Academy assess, challenge and support the character and leadership development process. This Directorate proactively and accurately assesses, analyzes, and refines the effectiveness of developmental programs and examines “the big Character & Leadership questions that matter” through research, scholarship and outreach.


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