Military News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Warriors of the North to host upcoming Unit Effectiveness Inspection capstone team

by Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/17/2015 - GRAND FORKS AFB, N.D. -- The 319th Air Base Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base will undergo an official Unit Effectiveness Inspection capstone visit beginning April 20, 2015 and wrapping up April 28.

The UEI is the new inspection concept that was piloted in U.S. Air Forces Europe and extended to Field Operating Agencies and Direct Reporting Units in 2012. Air Mobility Command adopted the UEI inspection system in the summer of 2013.

"Under the old way of doing things, the inspection teams would come in with a black hat mentality, and focus on the things that were wrong," said Lt. Col. Aaron Bass, 319th Air Base Wing Inspector General. "This new system is not intended to be adversarial."

Bass explained that the new inspection system came about as a way to break the cycle of ramping up for an upcoming inspection, getting into compliance with instructions and regulations at the last minute before the inspectors arrived (even going so far as to literally paint the grass green sometimes), sweeping things under the rug, and letting things settle back down again after the inspectors left.

"The concept of 'inspection prep' is becoming obsolete," said Bass. "Inspections are now being done continually by the Wing Inspection Team or WIT. We are trying to get people to change their thinking about inspections. Instead of gearing up for inspections, our focus should show in our daily mission readiness."

There are four major graded areas inspectors will assess, including resource management, unit improvement, leading people, and mission execution. Each of these is essentially a measure of how well an organization is run.

Along with the adoption of a new mindset comes the application of a new two-year inspection cycle.

"Here at Grand Forks, we are near the end of our first inspection cycle," said Bass. "The cycle starts over when the capstone team departs."

Bass said that is when units will take the findings of the inspection and use them to make the needed improvements, along with other self-inspection tools such as the Management Internal Control Toolset (MICT) and the Inspector General Evaluation Management System (IGEMS).

Bass stressed that for UEIs, honesty is the best policy.

"Being honest, using MICT to self-police, and showing that you're making strides and continual improvement are all paramount to making this inspection system work," he said. "We have got to be fully invested in self-assessment."

Bass advised that Grand Forks Air Force Base members, including family members, should be aware that they might be asked for an interview about their responsibilities in their work environments, the role they play in their unit, or their experiences on base in general, and that all responses should be as open and honest as possible.

Inspectors will arrive in two waves beginning April 20 and begin working immediately following their arrival. Their primary workspace will include the Northern Lights Club Ballroom, and they will conduct the majority of their interviews in a group setting in classrooms inside Carl Ben Eielson Elementary School.

"If we're honest, we should let the inspectors see us in our steady-state operations," said Bass. "It's what they want to see, and it's what we need to show them. If we can show that we're experts at our jobs, we're well-informed, and we take pride in our wing, we will do well during the UEI. They are our guests, they're not here to catch us, and they're here to help us identify things so we can effectively accomplish our mission."

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