WASHINGTON -- The Air Force recently implemented a new inspection system, aimed at giving more power to wing commanders. With the signing of Program Action Directive 13-01, Air Force inspection system Implementation Tiger Team transitions from the planning phase to the execution phase.
The program, which was beta tested by United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, aims at empowering wing commanders to run their wing's inspection system. By doing this, each commander will be able to focus on improving mission effectiveness every day, balancing resources and risks without the wasteful peaks and valleys of preparing for inspections. The goal of the new system is to make inspections a nonevent, part of the daily battle rhythm of continuous improvement.
With the new AFIS, it "rebalances authority from functional staffs to commanders," said Col. Robert Hyde, the Air Force Director of Inspections. "(It) enables commanders to focus on mission readiness, not inspection readiness."
As the Air Force continues to be shaped leaner, the importance of eliminating waste, and increasing efficiency is at an all-time high. As the new AFIS is implemented and evolves, senior Air Force leaders are confident the program will reduce manhours significantly.
"I believe the return on a manpower investment to help the wing commander identify, report, analyze and fix problems is at least 10 to 1," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Mueller, the Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General. "I'm convinced the efforts we're making together to strengthen command, reduce and prioritize our guidance and reduce wasteful preparation for external inspections will be a catalyst for mission capability and cultural changes that will benefit every Airman, our Air Force and our nation. I don't say that lightly." Under the previous legacy system, major commands would send their inspector general along with dozens of function inspection teams to inspect how ready that unit is and how compliant they are. "The legacy system of 100 (plus) inspections, no matter how well organized or consolidated, still resulted in several unhealthy outcomes," Hyde said. "The worst of which is wasted effort to prepare for inspections at the expense of mission readiness." Under the new AFIS, "the MAJCOM commander says to the wing commander 'You inspect your unit and tell me how ready, compliant and sure your unit is," Hyde said. "Help me see the big problems, how you are fixing them and where you need my help. Over the two-year (Unit Effectiveness Inspection) cycle, I'll have my IG verifying how your wing is doing. My IG will inspect your own inspection program, validate and verify your reports, and help you see how to become more effective. If I find your reports are not accurate I will ensure we find and fix the root cause of the inaccuracy. My staff will engage you as a result of the info you provide.'"
As wings begin to adapt to this new culture, senior leaders are confident their main objective of strengthening the Air Force will be achieved.
"Our ultimate goal is to strengthen and improve the force," Mueller said.