The new Air Force Inspection System is here at Dyess!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kevin Ripple
  • 7th Bomb Wing Inspector General
"Mission ready is inspection ready." Many of you have heard your 7th Bomb Wing Inspector General inspection team say this new phrase, but what does this really mean? It means that we should become adept at accomplishing our mission and stop worrying about preparing for the next inspection -- no more building continuity binders just before the Air Combat Command IG team shows up. No more Operational Readiness Exercises or Operational Readiness Inspections. No more extraneous simulations for exercises. 

So what is this new inspection system all about? I have two words for Team Dyess: measuring reality. This means we must be honest about what tasks we can accomplish with the resources that are provided to Dyess. What are the tasks that are most important in order for the 7th BW to provide combat capability to combatant commanders anywhere in the world?

The new Air Force Inspection System requires a complete mindset shift in how Airmen need to think about inspections. We are currently being inspected each and every day. We are no longer preparing for one week deep-dive inspections of our processes and programs from our major command IG. AFIS and its new Unit Effectiveness Inspection are necessary for future success in our resource-constrained environment. The continuous, two-year-long UEI process provides wing commanders with the tools needed to ensure mission readiness and compliance using a more decentralized approach.  

At the wing level, AFIS implements the Commander's Inspection Program. The CCIP is based on two main pillars; self-assessment and inspections. Self-assessments are unit/program managers' declarations of mission capability and compliance. Inspections provide unit/program managers an opportunity to demonstrate mission capability and compliance. Inspections validate and verify self-assessments.   

Self-assessments provide commanders at all levels the necessary information to make appropriate resourcing decisions on a near real-time basis. The database system of record to report self-assessments is the Management Internal Controls Toolset. MICT allows units and programs to communicate their ability to comply and execute, not only to their supervisors and commanders, but also to MAJCOM and higher headquarters functional area managers. 

Kept current, MICT proves to be a useful tool for everyone. Every Airman now has a role in providing input (through their supervisors) into their functional area's reported compliance with Air Force Instructions and directives. Commanders can ask themselves, "do I need to apply more resources toward a function that is unable to maintain compliance?" or "should I request a waiver to allow me to be non-compliant because I can accept that risk?", or "do I need a waiver to not meet this required compliance item because it doesn't impact the unit's ability to execute the mission?" For end users, not only does MICT report your status to your chain of command, it also provides direct communication to those who write AFI requirements. MICT responses are viewed by higher headquarter functionals who analyze and archive all MICT data on a monthly basis.

Self-assessments alone, however, are not enough. Title 10 of the U.S. Code states that commanders are responsible for inspecting their own units. The new AFIS finally brings unit inspections into compliance with the law. As such, wing commanders now have the authority to inspect what they believe is important in order to measure combat capability. If the 7th BW IG inspects something, Col. Michael Bob Starr, 7th BW commander, wants it inspected. In order to inspect wing-wide programs and capabilities, Col. Starr has a highly experienced Wing Inspection Team. WIT members are the wing-level subject-matter experts for their respective functional areas and are sworn in by the wing Inspector General to provide the commander feedback on their assessment of the wing, through deliberate wing inspections.

Under the new AFIS construct, our MAJCOM IG visits will be focused on Col. Starr's Commander's Inspection Program and the 7th BW IG's ability to inspect and accurately assess the 7th BW's capabilities. ACC IG's first on-site visit will occur October 2014. The team will be focused on assisting our wing inspectors in specific areas that the wing commander has deemed important.

Our initial UEI cycle began in June 2013 upon direction to implement the new AFIS, and will end on Jan. 31, 2014. At that time, we will immediately begin our next two-year cycle. Self-assessments and inspections are continuous. ACC IG will conduct numerous virtual inspections, as well as on-site visits during each cycle. Inspections are now focused on the needs and desires of the wing commander in order for him to be able to assess the 7th BW's ability to execute the mission. 

Headquarters Air Force is devoted to providing wing commanders the tools needed to make decisions at their level on what tasks are important for their wing's ability to execute its mission. All AFIs were directed to be rewritten, and must provide guidance on waiver authorities for all compliance items. This gives Col. Starr the ability to waive some specific AFI requirements at his level, if he believes the benefit of not applying resources to that requirement outweigh the risk of non-compliance.

So what does this mean to you, Dyess Airmen? Know your job. Do your job. Honestly report your ability to do your job. Be innovative. Be resourceful. We (the IG team) are here to help. We are here to make the 7th BW better, and we do this through inspecting and measuring reality.  Ultimately, your participation in the new AFIS will help Col. Starr make those hard resourcing decisions as our wing commander.