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September Chief's Perspective

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert Wright, with the 169th Operations Support Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, Jan. 11, 2013.
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert Wright, with the 169th Operations Support Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, Jan. 11, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- It's been three years now since the Air Force rolled out the Air Force Inspection System (AFIS).  This inspection program was established to get units doing the right thing all the time, versus just in the months leading up to an inspection. Many of us can remember the days of prepping for an inspection, painting buildings, rocks, offices, creating binders, spending money on items to look new and shiny.  Under the AFIS, we are required to continuously evaluate our programs for compliance and develop corrective action plans for non-compliance. The days of "inspection prep" should be gone! 

In August, I participated with the AMC/IG as an Associate Inspector conducting a "Capstone" for one of our sister units. This event is the pinnacle inspection within every wing's Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI) cycle. ACC will send Subject Matter Experts (SME) here to McEntire to "pull the threads" and validate the Commander's Inspection Program (CCIP). As SMEs review our continual evaluation programs, the threads will unravel if we haven't honestly scrutinized ourselves. The overall benefit of the Capstone, is outside eyes on our programs, by identifying deficiencies that we may have missed while conducting our continual evaluations. 

One resource that we use while conducting our CCIP, it's everyone's favorite, the Management Internal Control Toolset (MICT). MICT actually should not be a bad four letter word. It's a tool for all Airmen to utilize while identifying deficiencies or areas of concern, and up channeling your concerns to leadership. The one thing we don't want to do is cover up deficiencies in MICT because we "fear the RED" and any potential scrutiny. We need to change our culture when executing MICT and learn to "embrace the red." Your leadership wants to know when and if there's a problem, and what you need to fix it!

Everyone likes to use quotes, well here's one from the 169 FW/IG, Lt Col Andrew "Tank" Thorne that I'd like to share.

"Our Commanders Inspection Program (CCIP) as part of the Air Force Inspection System (AFIS) doesn't work without honest self-assessment. We know our jobs better than anyone else. ACC is trying to gage our job knowledge and performance from the many "snapshots" we take of ourselves with inspections/exercises/MICT. The more "snapshots" they have to look at, the better "big" picture they get and therefore the more confidence they have in our ability to accurately assess our performance.  That means honest reporting in all inspections/exercises/MICT; and reporting at regular and frequent intervals. I recommend all MICT checklists assigned should be run at least quarterly, even if nothing has changed in that time period it will show that we are always taking those "snapshots."

When ACC/IG rolls in here next October, you can guarantee, they will be giving us a very comprehensive look. I challenge each and every Swamp Fox to go ahead and start "pulling the threads," identify what we're doing right, and what we may be doing wrong. Don't wait for someone else to find something that we should have already identified! 

We are the Swamp Fox, the Air Force's premiere fighter wing. To remain on top, we must take ownership of our deficiencies and identify the problems. Let your leadership know if your programs are broken, turn it "red" in MICT!