For 10 days, starting Oct. 27, Air Force Materiel Command inspectors will be visiting the command’s units at Hill Air Force Base with one question in mind: How effectively is each unit accomplishing their mission?
“It’s not just about whether individual units pass or fail anymore. We’re taking a holistic approach to the inspection. We want to know where organizations are succeeding, or where there may be blind spots and how those affect the mission,” said Timothy Gray, AFMC Deputy Inspector General and the Team Chief for the Hill AFB inspection.
During the unit effectiveness inspection, 200 on-site inspectors will be grading four major areas at the 75th Air Base Wing, Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Life Cycle Management Center, Supply Chain Management Group, Nuclear Warfare Center and other Team Hill partners.
Each organization will be evaluated on how well they follow higher level strategic direction (like the AFSC Way) in executing their mission, managing resources, leading people and improving the unit. The new inspection process looks to eliminate the checklist heavy, sweat-inducing slogs of ORIs, UCIs, LCAPs and more.
“We have worked really hard to establish open communication with the units before we come out so there are not any surprises,” Gray said. “We’ll still run through the checklists and make sure units are following instructions and technical orders, but we don’t want people to just hold their breath for a week. That doesn’t necessarily indicate an effective unit.”
Inspectors want to take the temperature of an entire organization using a variety of methods, including pre-inspection surveys, group and individual interviews and observations. Group and squadron results will feed up into the grade for the top-level organization for overall unit effectiveness.
While the grading system is new, the process of interacting with inspectors should be familiar to most Airmen.
“If you operate the way you’re used to operating during an inspection — looking sharp, having clean facilities, being on your ‘A’ game — you will be just fine,” Gray said.
About 130 of the on-site inspectors will be augmentees from across the Air Force, including other depot operations. The augmentees from other depots will not only be here to inspect depot processes, but also to collect best practices for how things can be improved from depot to depot.
Gray said the inspectors are mindful that there is no perfect organization that has all the resources needed to complete the mission. They are part of a team with the people they are inspecting and their overall goal is to help improve the Air Force by improving individual organizations
Inspectors are encouraged to let units know of potential deficiencies immediately so that they can be addressed. If there is a disagreement between the inspectors and the unit on how deficiencies should be addressed, Gray said to remain professional and ask the inspector for the reference or instruction the inspectors are basing their deficiency on.
“Our inspectors know they aren’t any smarter than the people that they are inspecting. If an issue arises, they should be able to show you the policy they are citing,” Gray said. “If it’s not a black and white issue, folks can always raise it through their chain of command.”
Any issue that is not “black and white” will be removed from the report.
“We have a series of daily feedback meetings with organization leadership to work these issues out and in fiscal 2014 (our reports) had a 99.8 percent accuracy rating,” Gray said.
Units can help improve their chances for success, not by “buttering up” the inspectors or offering them donuts, but by showing a positive attitude and enthusiasm. While there is no mathematical formula for the inspectors to quantify a good attitude, it goes a long way toward a positive inspection result.
“We have had very strong professionalism from Team Hill and we anticipate top-notch performance, ” Gray said.