Military News

Friday, March 20, 2015

AFGSC IG Team recognized for best practices

by Carla Pampe
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

3/19/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- Recently, the Air Force Inspector General approved a new recognition program, called Platinum Eagle, as a semi-formal process to recognize and drive outstanding performance and innovation throughout the Air Force.

One of the first two teams to be named a Platinum Eagle recipient was a team from the Air Force Global Strike Command Office of the Inspector General.

According to the Air Force Inspector General, candidates for the award are nominated by Air Force Inspection Agency inspection teams forums following site visits, Unit Effectiveness Capstone inspections, Nuclear Surety Inspections or directed inspections. The intent is to both recognize outstanding individuals and teams as well as spread good ideas for the new Air Force Inspection System, or AFIS, implementation and execution.

"The Air Force Inspection Agency goes out on the road and looks at all the MAJCOMs and how they do their inspections," said Michael Little, Command Lead for Nuclear Maintenance Inspections at AFGSC. "During these site visits, they note teams that are performing well, and nominate them for the award."

"The Inspector General created this award to recognize those doing well with the new Air Force Inspection System construct," Master Sgt. Bruce Kastner, Command Lead for Vehicle Management Inspections, said. "However, the award is not just based on one inspection. It is based on the last year and a half or so of work."

Kastner explained that AFIS reached Full Operational Capability in October of 2014, but IG teams at each Major Command had several months prior to that to learn the new system and develop their own internal processes.

"The recent change to AFIS was the biggest change to the inspection system the Air Force has ever seen," Little said. "We had to change an entire mindset, starting with us, and then at the wings.
The new system is an inspection philosophy, versus a rigorous standard, so every MAJCOM had to figure out how to best do their inspections."

"Our core team put a lot of work into how we were going to make the system work best for us," Melissa Hubbard, Command Lead for Medical Inspections for AFGSC, said.

One area the team worked hard to develop was facilitating Airmen interviews at the bases, which help give inspection teams a good sight picture of what is really happening at each wing.

"Our team put a lot of thought into the best ways to facilitate interviews with Airmen," Hubbard said. "We did a lot of training, and we currently have 12 inspectors certified to facilitate these interviews."

Little and Hubbard said that the team did more than 40 mock interviews during facilitator training, and members were not afraid to tell someone when they weren't ready.

"It was so beneficial to have that training for the facilitators, because when they got out to the wings, they were well-prepared and confident," Hubbard said. "We are the only MAJCOM that does formal facilitator certification."

The training and certification process for the Airmen-to-IG Sessions was one of four AFGSC/IG programs benchmarked by the AFIA for the Platinum Eagle Award. The others were a robust risk based sampling strategy, methodical ATIS-G session analysis and a data driven Unit Effectiveness Inspection scoring process.

Because of these benchmark programs, other MAJCOMs are reaching out to AFGSC to ask for training guidance and to share ideas on how to do inspections, meeting the Inspector General's goal of making AFIS better.

Kastner said while he and the other leads are very proud of being recognized through the Platinum Eagle program, developing the processes that earned the award was truly a team effort.

"It takes a lot of people to make the inspection process happen, but it takes a good group of core people to develop the processes," Kastner said. "The core processes our team built early on are going to carry us into the future."

Hubbard added that the team worked very hard on developing their inspection process in order to help AFGSC wings.

"We did it for the units. By performing the best inspections we can, it helps the units improve," she said. "This team truly cares about our units and making them the best they can be."

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