NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — What are you doing to get ready for the Air Combat Command Inspector General inspection in November?
Are you cleaning up everything in the Management Internal Control Toolset, also known as MICT? Oops. Trick question. The last thing you want to do is prepare for “the inspection.”
With MICT at the forefront of the new Air Force Inspection System, or AFIS, it would be easy to pour a bunch of effort into it. But that would not be consistent with AFIS, which asserts that mission readiness equals inspection readiness.
In the “old” days, wing preparation for major command inspectors was characterized by a lot of busywork to make things look nice for the inspectors. Just about everyone considers this “legacy” mindset a huge waste of time.
Continuity books were built, hallways were swept, and grass was even painted green to convey the illusion of a well-tended operation. Don’t let MICT be the new “painted grass.”
You are “painting grass” if you click “Yes” 200 times and copy and paste excerpts of a regulation into the assessment notes. Instead of painted grass, we want healthy, watered, trimmed and weeded grass.
What does a well-tended operation look like? The most important characteristic is that your squadron, flight or section continuously critiques itself to be better. You want to nurture Airmen who perform the squadron’s mission despite limited resources. The ACC/IG will look for evidence.
According to Air Force Instruction 90-201 paragraph 126.96.36.199, “outstanding” criteria includes “results of long-term commitment to continuous process improvement are evident; widespread evidence of high proficiency, unit pride and cohesion; programs and processes are institutionalized and produce highly reliable results.”
Sometimes your mission lends itself to tracking unit effectiveness via checklist, sometimes not. Either way, realize that MICT is a commander’s tool, not an inspection tool.
Now, with the focus squarely on mission and your commander’s intent, consider this — the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III has made it very clear he wants to know what you think we should “stop doing.”
We all know there are some requirements that just don’t make sense and don’t bring value to the mission. Maybe you think MICT is one of them. That would be ironic, because functionally, MICT is actually the easiest way to say “no” to most regulatory requirements. It would be awful if we marginalized one of the most convenient tools that can help us meet a CSAF imperative.
Former IG of the Air Force Lt. Gen. Stephen P. Mueller stated in the May 2014 TIG Brief, “For the first time in our history, we have the ability for Airmen who accomplish the mission to give direct feedback to the functional authority on the quality and content of the instructions that guide their day-to-day activities.”
Individuals can now go straight to their Functional Area Manager via the MICT “Send Comment to Functional Manager” (aka “Spam the FAM”) option. By voicing your opinion, you could save yourself and other Airmen thousands of man-hours. Or, if the FAM perceives a misunderstanding of the guidance they wrote on the commander’s behalf, they may tweak it to make it more relevant. In either case, this is a means by which Airmen can team together virtually to make our Air Force better.
Remember, mission readiness equals inspection readiness. Don’t prepare for the inspection; rather, use the looming threat of MAJCOM inspectors as a cue to ensure your focus is on your commander’s priorities.
Gen. George S. Patton Jr. once said, “If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself.”