Commentary

April 3, 2014

Professionalism, mission focus, and a new way forward for base inspections

Commentary by Col. Kevin E. Blanchard
Commander, 355th Fighter Wing 

Professionalism, mission focus, and a new way forward known as the Air Force Inspection System – those three things sum up what members of the Desert Lightning Team should take away from last week’s Unit Effectiveness Inspection.

The Air Combat Command Inspector General Team conducted the 355th Fighter Wing’s Capstone event, known as a UEI, here March 23-30. The event also encompassed snapshots of the 55th Electronic Combat Group and 563rd Rescue Group under the new AFI 90-201. They were impressed with the Desert Lightning Team’s professionalism and mission focus, and spent much of their time teaching D-M’s Airmen about the new Air Force Inspection System.

Overall, the 355th FW received a grade of “EFFECTIVE,” and all major graded areas were graded “EFFECTIVE” as well. Sub-area grades spanned from “MARGINALLY EFFECTIVE” to “HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.”

The IG team identified just over 200 deficiencies and 93 strengths out of tens of thousands of graded items. Additionally, 155 DLT Airmen and 18 DLT Teams were identified as superior performers during the inspection. However, what the ACC IG Team Chief stressed at the formal debrief were more general impressions.

Professionalism – The entire ACC IG team was struck by the Desert Lightning Team’s warm welcome, excellent preparation of the IG work center, and smooth and efficient bed down plan. Furthermore, the team could not comment enough about the receptiveness they received at each and every work center, which included polite, welcoming greetings and true interest in how to make their respective programs better under the tutelage of the IG team members. Every member of Team D-M should be proud of the manner in which we took care of our guests and the lasting impression we made on them.

Mission Focus – Team D-M’s dedication to mission execution also left a lasting impression on the IG. The mission execution and accomplishment, despite the fiscal challenges of the past year, thoroughly impressed the IG team. Though we have some work to do on attention to detail and compliance, the bottom line is that the motivation, dedication and “will not fail” grit I and my fellow DLT leaders see every day, was transmitted loud and clear to the IG team and noticed by all of them. Every member of the team should be proud of what they do day to day for our USAF and our country, and the IG noticing is just validation of your amazing efforts.

New Way Forward – Finally, the IG team spent much of their time teaching the DLT about the new AFIS and how in the future, much more work and responsibility will fall on the Wing Inspection Team and less on the IG team. What this means for members of Team D-M is to not “lose” your MICT checklists and be ready to exercise like we expect to fight. Those things are two key components of the new AFIS that the WIT will evaluate and, in turn, the ACC IG will verify that the WIT is correctly evaluating these components. In pragmatic terms, this means units need to keep following directives, annotating compliance via the MICT self-inspection checklists, and expect periodic compliance inspections from the WIT.

Additionally, expect quarterly readiness exercises based on real-world scenarios in order to train and evaluate our readiness to accomplish our wartime missions. Those exercises will not be based on an IG grading system, but upon wing commander defined objectives based upon individual unit wartime roles and missions. Under the new AFIS, every Airman must be a sensor to identify non-compliance and identify mission execution shortfalls in order to continually increase mission readiness.

I am extremely proud of every member of the DLT, not just because of your hard work preparing for the UEI, but because of the professionalism and mission focus that you display every day that resonated loud and clear while the ACC IG was in town watching.




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(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

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