By Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Space Wing Inspector General’s office kicked off a roadshow to educate units about their role in the inspection process at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 30.
The first of several roadshows scheduled throughout the remainder of the year targeted the 50th Mission Support Group and Wing Staff Agencies.
“We want people to fully understand what we do and what their role is within the Commander’s Inspection Program,” said Capt. Joseph Villalpando, exercise program manager for the 50th SW IG.
Air Force inspections, which are facilitated by the Inspector General, fall underneath the Air Force Inspection System. Their purpose is to promote commanders’ effectiveness and efficiency, improve discipline and performance and identify issues.
In order to meet these objectives, inspectors and units rely on the CCIP.
“The purpose of the CCIP is to improve readiness, efficiency, discipline, effectiveness, compliance and surety in Air Force wings while allowing commanders the ability to assess their own unique mission sets,” Villalpando said.
Villalpando said in years past there used to be a mindset of “shine everything up for inspection and hide our weak areas.”
“Commanders were sometimes concerned about the very real possibility of getting fired,” he said. “But the program has changed its emphasis to focus on encouraging self-identification. We’re out to help units improve.”
Inspectors visit units on an average of once every two years and use several different types of inspections to help units improve: horizontals, verticals, by-laws, no-notice and exercises.
“With horizontal inspections, we look at a specific program throughout the entire wing,” said Tech. Sgt. Martin Howard, exercises section chief for the 50th SW IG. “For verticals, we inspect several aspects of a unit.”
While most inspections are on a set schedule, the inspectors can also perform them no-notice, which only requires them to give a unit 48 hours notice. The 50th SW IG even makes time to visit the wing’s geographically separated units to ensure the full might of the wing’s capability is ready 24/7, 365 days a year.
Exercises are conducted throughout the year to test the wing’s ability to respond to emergency or contingency situations.
“Exercises help us validate our programs and practice what we would do in emergency situations,” Villalpando said. “In the middle of a crisis isn’t when you want to figure out you have shortfalls or problems with your ability to respond.”
Villalpando said it’s important Airmen understand everyone is a sensor in identifying problems.
“You see the day-in-and-day-out of your squadron,” he said. “You’re the one managing critical programs. As the subject matter expert, you’re the best suited to identify problems. In fact, our Airmen are the most important part of the CCIP.”
In keeping with every Airman being a sensor, inspectors are also encouraging units to “embrace the red.”
“We use color codes in identifying compliance throughout programs and units in the wing,” Howard said. “Red is for things that are not in compliance. Sometimes red can scare people because of the stigma of something being wrong. Labeling something as red is a good thing — it means we know there is an issue and we can start fixing it.”
When Airmen find things that are “in the red,” Villalpando said they should report it through their chain of command.
“Use your chain appropriately, so they can start fixing the problem,” Villalpando said. “Some things can be fixed on the spot. Others may require a waiver signed by the wing commander or higher.”
According to Howard, the most extensive and powerful tool in the AFIS toolkit is the Unit Effectiveness Inspection.
“The UEIs are the Super Bowl of what we do,” Howard said. “That’s where major command inspectors come down and look at as many programs and units in the wing as possible and grade us on our ability to accomplish our mission.”
The UEIs are on a 24-30 month cycle and cover four major graded areas: managing resources, improving the unit, leading people and executing the mission. The types of questions inspectors will ask can be found in the CCIP handbook.
“People often ask, ‘so what should I do,’” Villalpando said. “Keep up with your duties and your Air Force Instructions, most importantly. AFIs change all the time. If you’re not staying current, you’re probably not in compliance with something. Finally, report noncompliance. Do not try to hide it.”
The 50th SW’s UEI is scheduled for Feb. 19, 2019.
“Thirty days out, Air Force Space Command will send out a survey to every member of the wing,” Howard said. “Not every person will have an opportunity to sit down with inspectors one-on-one when they’re here, so this is your chance to share any concerns you may. It allows inspectors the chance to take the pulse of the unit.”
Villalpando said it’s important Airmen buy in to their role within the inspection process.
“The success of your unit is directly tied to your job performance and understanding how the inspection process works,” he said. “That’s why it’s important people come out to these roadshows. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.”
The next roadshow is Sept. 26, 2018 at 1 p.m. in the Building 300 auditorium. It is targeted toward 50th Network Operations Group and 50th MSG members, but all are encouraged to attend. There will also be a roadshow for the 50th Operations Group Oct. 25, 2018 at the same time and location.
The next wing exercise, Opinicus Vista 18-2, is scheduled for Oct. 10-17, 2018.