by Monica Mendoza
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 21st Space Wing personnel erupted into cheers as it was announced this week that they emerged from a 23-day Operational Readiness Inspection with a ‘Satisfactory’ rating.
Headquarters Air Force Space Command Inspector General Col. Scott Gilson told 21st SW personnel that this wing had the most professional performers, the most professional teams and the most identified strengths listed in an inspection report since he has led the IG team.
Col. Stephen N. Whiting, 21st Space Wing commander, congratulated the wing on its ‘Satisfactory’ rating and said there is a lot of excellent and outstanding work wrapped up in that rating.
“Satisfactory is a word that covers a lot of ground,” he said to the wing during an ORI out brief March 21 in Hangar 140 on Peterson Air Force Base.
ORIs are conducted to evaluate the wing’s ability to perform wartime or contingency missions. A five-tier rating system – outstanding, excellent, satisfactory, marginal and unsatisfactory – is used for major graded areas and overall wing performance. In 2009, the 21st Space Wing earned a ‘Satisfactory’ rating on its ORI. At that time, the wing had one area rated unsatisfactory and five areas rated as marginal.
“In the ORI portion of inspection, we had zero areas rated marginal or unsatisfactory,” Colonel Whiting said. “We had seven areas rated as excellent. That is a huge improvement and I commend each and every one of you for that.”
In addition to the ORI, the wing underwent a Unit Compliance Inspection where 36 areas were inspected in categories including special interest items, common core compliance areas and mission areas. Of the 36 inspected areas, the wing received 24 ‘in compliance’ ratings; 12 ‘in compliance with comments’ ratings; and one ‘not in compliance’ rating. The wing earned an overall rating of ‘In Compliance with Comments,’ which means that the IG found some areas with deficiencies that could impede mission accomplishment. Colonel Whiting said that all deficiencies discovered are already being aggressively attacked.
“We’ve been talking about building a culture of compliance for two years now, and this inspection shows we are on that journey,” Colonel Whiting said. “We built on the 2009 results in a significant way, and I know we will build on these results to get even better for our next inspection.”
For three weeks, a team of more than 100 evaluators from Headquarters AFSPC pored over the wing’s records, policies and procedures and tested its wartime contingency plans. Scenarios included a hazardous material incident, a fire at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, explosions near the base auditorium, and an active shooter on Peterson Air Force Base that required full throttle from emergency responders, called for a base lockdown and tested all aspects of the wing’s security procedures.
The mission of the AFSPC Inspector General is to assess a unit’s readiness, enhance the command’s war fighting effectiveness and assure the highest standards and compliance through a rigorous inspection and investigation. The IG then reports to the AFSPC commander and war fighting commanders on the unit’s ability to safely, securely, reliably and efficiently execute its mission and support expeditionary and contingency operations. Col. Gilson congratulated the wing saying it showed significant improvement since its last ORI and UCI.
The wing was simultaneously tested in the Logistics Compliance Assessment Program, which evaluated the wing’s ability to ensure logistics and maintenance technician proficiency and that effective processes are performed in a safe, standardized, repeatable and technically competent manner. It earned a ‘Satisfactory’ rating, but all subordinate units that were inspected earned an ‘Excellent’ or ‘Outstanding’ rating, Colonel Whiting said.
“Thank you for all your hard work, thanks for the work that has gone into these weeks of execution,” Colonel Whiting said. “It is my honor to serve with you; it is my honor to come to work every day as a Knight here in the 21st Space wing. Be justifiably proud of what you have done, go back and celebrate.”