Self-Assessment Program managers key to compliance

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

Self-assessment is the evaluation of one’s actions or the processes used in accomplishing their job, and it’s something Senior Master Sgt. Spring Walden knows all about.

The Inspector General Inspections superintendent runs the Self-Assessment Program for the 403rd Wing, a key component of the Air Force Inspection System, referred to as AFIS.

According to Air Force Instruction 90-201, AFIS is designed to foster a culture of critical self-assessment and continuous improvement, providing a "photo album" versus a "snapshot" view of wing effectiveness. The Self-Assessment Program, better known as SAP, is how program managers such as Walden identify areas of non-compliance.

 “I ensure overall quality and accuracy of the wing’s self-assessment program to provide the wing commander with trending analysis, areas of risk and needs for future funding and manning,” said Walden, who provides oversight and guidance to the wing’s 48 Self-Assessment Program managers, or SAPM, charged with running their unit’s SAP.

SAPMs such as Lt. Col. Natalie McKee, 403rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, and Master Sgt. Katie Williams, 403rd Maintenance Group, track deficiencies and findings for their units and report to their commanders. They are a crucial part of the AFIS and assist IGI in validating a unit’s compliance in executing the major graded areas of executing the mission, improving the unit, leading the people and managing resources, said Walden.

McKee has been a SAPM since 2019 and Williams took on the additional duty in 2021.

“I am the eyes and ears for the commander on programs and compliance,” said Williams. “I monitor everybody’s checklist in MICT (Management Internal Controls Toolset), a tool we use to keep track of programs and compliance. If there are deficiencies, they have to come up with a corrective action plan and a root cause analysis. I’m monitoring the process for all those things, and if there is an area that we are not in compliance with, I help them in establishing a way forward in fixing the process and preventing it from happening again.”

SAPMs ensure self-assessment communicators, or SACs that are better known as checklists, are assessed and validated in MICT. They assist with effective program management and manage deficiencies by reviewing MICT for currency and effective correction action plans. 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.

“It’s a time consuming job,” said McKee, who spends time outside of the Unit Training Assembly reviewing MICT and informing unit personnel on changes in checklists and if they need to go back into MICT to provide better documentation.

“The answers to the questions in MICT need more than just a yes, no, or not applicable response,” said McKee. “Unless it involves classified information, it is best for the assessors and validators to paint a clear picture of how they are meeting the requirements of their AFI. It is important for them to describe their processes and to provide supporting documentation.”

Walden relies on SAPMs such as McKee and Williams to ensure MICT checklists are current and are assessed with detailed and accurate assessments to help ensure deficiencies are identified and corrected, which is key to providing effective communication between program managers and functional area managers at headquarters who monitor MICT regularly.


“A SAPM should have good communication skills, be well organized, with attention to detail,” said Walden.


In addition to having these attributes and running effective programs, according to Walden, McKee and Williams said training is important too. They both provide training to their Unit Self-Assessment Program Managers and unit members on how to use MICT and properly assess and validate their SAC checklists.

SAPMs, such as McKee and Williams, are a key part of the Commander’s Inspection Program, the wing commander’s interpretation of AFIS. It’s through the CCIP that leadership is able to determine the accuracy of self-assessment programs in the 403rd Wing.

“It’s vital that the wing embrace a culture of self-assessment and AFIS,” said Walden. “It takes everyone from commanders to Airmen to take an honest look at our programs, critically self-assess and identify those areas that need work and come up with ways on how we can do things better. It takes more than saying, ‘we are the Wing of Choice and we do our mission well,’ we have to prove it.”