NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The publication of Air Force Instruction 90-201, Air Force Inspection System, brought fundamental changes to the way the base conducts inspections.
Under the new system, units will no longer be spending weeks and months preparing for a one-week inspection from the Air Combat Command Inspector General team, explained Col. Richard Boutwell, 99th Air Base Wing commander.
“In the past, we’ve spent a lot of resources and manpower in gearing up for an inspection, which is really a ‘snap shot’ of our climate at that particular moment,” Boutwell said. “The new system will allow us to have more inspections throughout the year, so we’ll have more of a ‘portfolio’ of how we’re doing, so we can assess how well we’re doing more accurately. The analogy was we would go out and paint the grass for the inspection, but now we’re going to cultivate that grass and maintain it.”
Another important change in the new AFIS is the Commander’s Inspection Program, or CCIP, which is designed to give more power to wing commanders by allowing them to run their wing’s inspection system.
“I think this is what inspections should have always been like; they should align with the commander’s priorities and not necessarily be externally imposed,” said Lt. Col. Yira Muse, 99th ABW IG. “The idea is you should operate the same way day-to-day as you would during an inspection.”
The CCIP involves a continual assessment of four major graded areas: managing resources, leading people, improving the unit and executing the mission, which will allow the wing to focus on mission readiness and improve mission effectiveness rather than inspection readiness.
The 99th ABW IG team is now charged with implementing the CCIP, inspecting units within the wing, and reporting back to the wing commander. However, internal inspections are the foundation of the AFIS, promoting responsibility and accountability within the unit and allowing commanders to control the depth, scope and frequency of inspections.
“Essentially, we want unit commanders to self-identify areas where they cannot meet the mission fully or they feel their unit is not as strong on,” said Maj. Jennifer Cowie, 99th ABW IG director of inspections. “They really need to give an honest and accurate self-assessment of what it is they have and if they are able to effectively meet the mission. We understand it’s going to be difficult at first and every unit’s program is going to be a little different. There’s not going to be this off-the-shelf program that works for everybody, because it is very much mission-dependent and a lot of answers aren’t out there yet.”
The inspection cycle, which is referred to as a Unit Effectiveness Inspection, spans the course of two years.
“We’re in a UEI right now, and the inspection has been and will be on-going,” Muse said. “Come November 2015, [the ACC IG team] will come for the capstone then the two years will start over again. Consider yourself under inspection all the time.”
In order to be successful, Muse said Airmen will need to get over one common misconception.
“It’s important for Airmen to understand that red is not ‘dead’ and we’re looking for honest reporting,” Muse said. “If you can self-identify deficiencies or areas of non-compliance, that’s what we’re trying to do. Where we can get in trouble is if there are undetected non-compliance areas. If an external agency came to look at Nellis and found areas of non-compliance that we did not identify ourselves, then that would be a problem.”
Overall, Cowie said the wing will ultimately benefit from the new AFIS.
“Once we get through the growing pains and out of that old-system mentality, we can definitely be successful,” Cowie said. “Units should be mission-ready at all times and reporting how they maintain mission readiness, not necessarily spending extra man hours gearing up for a one time inspection. Essentially, this new system will hold everyone responsible, which is a good thing.”
For more information on the new AFIS, contact the 99th ABW IG inspections office at 702-652-2535.