By Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — For the last two years, the 50th Space Wing has been preparing for the “Super Bowl” of inspections, a Unit Effectiveness Inspection slated for Feb. 24 to March 4.
During that period, the 50th SW Inspector General’s office has been urging units to “stay ready in the off season” by focusing on the four major graded areas, emphasizing one each quarter: managing resources, leading people, improving the unit and executing the mission.
With game day right around the corner and the fourth quarter in full swing, the 50th SW IG is advocating Airmen focus on executing the mission.
“All the MGAs are important, but this one is probably the most important because at the end of the day, everything we do is to help us execute the mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Martin Howard, 50th SW IG exercises section chief.
Executing the mission has three sub MGA’s: primary missions, Air Expeditionary Force Readiness and Mission Assurance Command and Control. Each asks if the right quality, quantity and time metrics are meeting mission intent.
“With quality, we are trying to determine if things are up to the professional standard we need in order to execute at a high level,” said Capt. Joseph Villalpando, former 50th SW IG exercise program manager.
Villalpando said quality applies not only to the mission, but the people as well.
“Are we raising Airmen of character here at Schriever AFB,” Villalpando asked. “Have we put the time and effort into making sure our people are competent for the mission and worthy of the trust placed in us by the American public? These are important questions to ask when we determine if we are up to the quality standard.”
“Quantity is the numbers,” Howard said. “Are we supplying the right amount of support to our end users? For deployments, are we able to send the number of Airmen forward as is required of us? If not, what are we doing to fix it?”
Villalpando said preparation and planning are key to ensure the 50th SW is postured to execute the mission under any circumstance.
“Emergencies happen,” he said. “Contingencies happen. We have to ensure the mission gets executed no matter what challenge the elements or adversaries may throw at us. To do that, we have to have emergency plans and backup plans to the backup plans.”
“Sometimes, executing the mission late can amount to mission failure,” Villalpando said. “In the space domain, time is critical. So, we ask questions like ‘does our mission execution meet the appropriate time constraints?’ If it doesn’t, we have a problem and we must fix it.”
To help units break down the MGAs and sub MGAs, the 50th SW IG distributed a Commander’s Program Inspection Handbook, which has many specific questions commanders and Airmen should be asking about their programs.
“The CCIP handbook is basically our play sheet for the Super Bowl,” Howard said. “Just as a team that doesn’t know their play sheet is going to fail, we will fail if we’re not executing our plays just like we drew them up. Units should be actively reviewing the handbook to see what can be improved in their area of responsibility.”
Howard pointed out Airmen should look at inspections as positive events designed to help them improve, not punish them.
“Most of the time, if people are doing something wrong, it’s because they don’t know,” he said. “We get that, and commanders get that. We don’t come into your unit looking for people to get in trouble. We come to identify and fix problems.”
To help familiarize Airmen with their role in the inspection process, the 50th SW IG has been conducting roadshows with various units.
“Each and every Airmen plays a critical role in the success of this wing during the UEI,” Villalpando said. “We highly encourage anyone who is unfamiliar with inspections or what they should be doing to get ready, and come to one of our roadshows.”
Howard noted his office has seen great things from Schriever AFB in the offseason but that the wing should continue to sprint through the finish line.
“Don’t let your foot up off the gas,” he said. “The 50th SW has looked pretty good so far in practice, so let’s take the lessons we’ve learned from our exercises and inspections and execute on game day.”