April’s Capstone marks end of two-year inspection cycle


MICT may sound like something you buy at a fast-food chain, and terms like TIGIRS, IGEMS and Capstone may lead some people to think of an action adventure video game or movie.

The acronyms, in reality, are some of the tools used to evaluate wing-level effectiveness across the Air Force. They stand for Management Internal Control Toolset, The Inspector General’s Inspection Reporting System and the IG Evaluation Management System, respectively. Capstone is the visit from the Air Force Materiel Command Inspector General Team that closes out the two-year Unit Effectiveness Inspection cycle.

April 25 through 28, the Air Force Material Command Inspector General’s office will send a team to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to conduct the 412th Test Wing’s Capstone inspection visit.

Kimberley Strong, 412th Test Wing Inspector General director of inspections, explained that the Capstone is an incarnation of what was formerly known as the Unit Compliance Inspection, but the inspection system has evolved.
Under the old system, she explained, a big group of inspectors came from AFMC.

“We spent three to six months prepping – cleaning, painting, even hiding things – and once the inspectors left we were good for two years,” she said.

With the newer method, the UEI is a “continual evaluation of performance throughout the inspection period – a photo album versus a snapshot. The inspection period begins immediately after the close-out of the previous UEI report,” according to Air Force Instruction 90-201, the Air Force Inspection System.

Strong said for this Capstone there will be fewer inspectors, and more of the self-assessment will be done virtually.

“This time we’re looking at about 100 inspectors, compared to the 170 that came the last time. Eventually, they want to reduce by about 25 percent for each inspection,” she said. “They will be looking at our self-assessment programs when they come down: How well do we inspect ourselves?”

Strong said the 412th TW is already doing a great job of its self-assessments.

“We shouldn’t be doing any prep for this inspection,” she said. “We should be going on just like we do every day and we should always be inspection-ready.”

The inspection-ready concept should cut out the preparation – that spin-up for the inspection – and should reduce stress on 412th TW personnel, she said.

The key to getting through the Capstone inspection, according to Strong, is honesty.

“Identify the things you know you’re not compliant in. It’s OK to be non-compliant as long as we know we’re non-compliant,” she said. “The only time we really get a ‘ding’ is if there is non-detected non-compliance that they found and we didn’t.”

Identifying deficiencies is important, but Strong said people also need to identify areas they are exceptional in as well.

The change in the inspection system is reflected in the attitude of the team toward the new methods, according to the director.

“One of the things we’re most proud of is the growth of the program since the last inspection, and the culture change – the willingness to self-identify rather than the old, ‘We’re going to hide from the IG when they come in,’” Strong said. “We’re accepted in the units with open arms when we come in. It would be amazing to see AFMC (IG) accepted the same way.”