Fighter Wing Assessed by Inspection Team
By Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 19, 2015
PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. -- The 142nd Fighter Wing hosted the Air Combat Command (ACC) Inspector General team here, August 13-18, 2015, for a Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI) designed to improve mission readiness and educate Airmen amidst a new inspection process.
Badged inspectors roamed the base, interviewed Airmen of the 142nd and provided guidance during the planned UEI.
This inspection is the first outside inspection of the 142nd Fighter Wing under the new Air Force Inspection System (AFIS), which mandates consistent, year-round assessment and self-reporting at the lowest organizational levels. The new approach lays in contrast to the previous inspection model, which was much more focused on top-down evaluation.
Col. Peter J. Milohnic, Team Chief for the ACC Inspector General (IG) Team, expressed the paradigm shift of this new inspection approach during an August 14, 2015 inspection kick-off meeting on base.
"We're here to improve your process through education, help you find that greatest risk to mission of noncompliance, evaluate your CCIP, and provide that independent evaluation," said Milohnic.
The inspection focused on four key areas: resource management, leadership, process improvement and the ability to execute the mission. These four focus areas were mirrored by the 142nd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Paul Fitzgerald as being key priorities for the organization and have been integrated into the newly-developed fighter wing strategic plan, Fitzgerald said.
According to Milohnic, the key to the new inspection process is education and clear communication between the IG team and the wing.
"We get our data through observations and Airman-to-inspector-general sessions (ATIS) to build our report and more importantly to get you the data that you need about your wing," said Milohnic.
ACC Inspector General, Brig. Gen. Russell L. Mack provided a broader perspective and context for the new inspection system.
"We as an Air Force provide our nation with global vigilance, global reach and global power. And we do that at the drop of a hat," said Mack. "I have been charged to make sure we look at (fighter) wings to make sure that you are doing the best you can, given the resources you have."
The new inspection process will provide a series of findings to the 142nd Fighter Wing upon completion and will cover key benchmarks, strengths, recommended improvement items, deficiencies and observations. The findings regarding the management of resources will be broken out into two parts, covering the adequacy of resources and the stewardship of resources at the wing level, said Milohnic.
Upon completion of the inspection, the IG team was charged with rating both the fighter wing and higher headquarters based on a five-tier grading scale designed to measure the wing's effectiveness and the ability of higher headquarters to provide adequate resources.
Throughout the inspection, the IG team reiterated that the focus of this inspection is to provide visibility and learning opportunities for all involved and to assist the fighter wing in identifying areas at the greatest risk of noncompliance.
As the inspection concluded on Aug. 18, Fitzgerald addressed members of the Wing to offer feedback with the marks. He also took time to acknowledge some of the superior performers from the process.
"This was an inspection with a four year look back with the metric the [inspection team] have now," he said. "Overall I have to say this new system is a breath of fresh air as we learn to inspect ourselves and run this program."
As the program matures and broadens, the wing will have a regularly-scheduled Capstone inspection in four more years.
Fitzgerald said the unit was given an 'effective rating' with the new assessment guidelines and that the entire organization was heading in the right direction in every group that was inspected.
"I know we're outstanding - The Redhawks are outstanding in everything we do," said Fitzgerald.