Air Force Inspection Program: An overview

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Marnee A. C. Losurdo
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

Airmen who are new to the Air Force Inspection System, and even those who have been working with it for a while, can get confused by all of its programs and acronyms. When people start talking about AFIS, CCIP, USAP, SAPM, WIT, MICT and IGEMS it starts sounding like alphabet soup. 

Lt. Col. Shane Devlin, director of the 403rd Wing Inspector General Inspections program, and his staff are here to help decipher those acronyms, and are working with wing members to provide a better understanding of the AFIS and its importance in making wing units more efficient and effective and, most importantly, making sure that they are ready to conduct the mission.

“Inspection readiness equals mission readiness,” said Devlin, whose office is charged with managing wing inspections. “AFIS is designed to foster a culture of critical self-assessment and continuous improvement, and it places more control and responsibility in the hands of the squadron, group and wing commanders.”

For Col. Stuart M. Rubio, 403rd Wing commander, the commander’s program is pivotal in evaluating the wing’s effectiveness, and improving processes or areas that are not meeting standards, but he said it requires every Airman’s input in proving the wing’s compliance.

“We are the Wing of Choice, so ‘Let’s Prove It’ through a culture of excellence and innovation while using the Air Force Inspection System and its tools to document those actions,” said Rubio.

Inspections are nothing new to the Air Force as they are one method the Air Force uses to determine the efficiency and readiness of its units, and it does this through AFIS, which evaluates four major graded areas of wing readiness: Managing Resources, Leading People, Improving the Unit and Executing the Mission.

AFIS is the umbrella that covers all inspections and directs the use of the Commander’s Inspection Program, or CCIP, to determine wing-wide mission effectiveness and compliance, said Devlin. Commanders at each level can direct their inspection program to look into the areas of their organizations where they may have weaknesses in their units.

“The CCIP improves readiness, efficiency, discipline, effectiveness, compliance and surety,” said Devlin, whose office facilitates the CCIP, composed of the wing-level inspection program and the unit self-assessment program, or USAP. The IGI conducts exercises, inspections throughout the wing, and deals with special interest items.

IGI then provides the wing commander with a quarterly update on the readiness of the organization through the Commander’s Inspection Management Board, referred to as the CIMB, where they discuss key performance indicators and determine countermeasures for areas that need improvement, said Devlin.

IGI can’t facilitate this CCIP by themselves so they rely on the help of subject matter experts throughout the wing to validate unit’s compliance in executing the four graded areas.

These subject matter experts, who serve on the Wing Inspection Team, are trained and sworn in by the wing commander giving them the authority to perform inspections. They observe, detect and report on the performance and condition of the area they are assigned to inspect.

IGI, with WIT assistance, perform horizontal and vertical inspections of different units in the wing. During vertical inspections, the inspector general looks up and down a specific unit to ensure they are maintaining Air Force standards. Horizontal inspections look into general bylaws and operations of all base units. The findings from these various inspections are then entered into the Inspector General Evaluation Management System.

In addition to inspections, CCIP relies on unit self-assessment programs such as Management Internal Controls Toolset where subject matter experts report their compliance up the chain of command and to appropriate staffs. MICT is evaluated continuously through the online system by the Air Force Reserve Command Inspector General.

“These areas of non-compliance are discovered through a proper utilization of the Unit Self-Assessment Program,” said Devlin. “It’s important that we embrace the red, and identify deficiencies, document them and then develop a plan to correct them.”

The person who tracks these deficiencies and findings for their unit is the Self-Assessment Program Manager, who works for the commander.

“The unit commander relies on the SAPM for a report on the health of their unit,” said Devlin.

SAPMs assist with effective program management and manage deficiencies by reviewing MICT for currency and effective correction action plans. They make sure these deficiencies are recorded into IGEMs and the corrective action plans are tracked until close out. In cases of non-compliance, continuous process improvement practices are used along with the Air Force’s 8-Step Practical Problem Solving Method to resolve the deficiencies.

To ensure that a wing is executing AFIS correctly through their CCIP and has an efficient process established for detecting problems, the Air Force Reserve Command IGI is continuously evaluating a wing’s performance in the four graded areas through the Unit Effectiveness Inspection, which is conducted in a 24 to 30 month cycle.

“The unit effectiveness inspection is a constant evaluation of performance throughout the inspection period - a ‘photo album’ versus a ‘snapshot’ view of wing effectiveness,” said Devlin.

“Every Airman is a sensor,” said Rubio. “The intent of AFIS and the UEI is to ensure compliance is an 'every day' culture. This is our wing so let’s work together to make it a more efficient and effective place to work. That requires all of us to do our part in the inspection process and to document our findings appropriately, so I’m asking all Wing of Choice members to work together and “Let’s Prove It.”