Commentary Search

Keeping the Bar High after Unit Inspections

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Aaron T. Meadows
  • 6th Communications Squadron commander
Whew! For those of us in the 6th Air Mobility Wing, we're all relieved to have successfully navigated through three recent inspections (the Logistics Standardization & Evaluation Program Inspection, the Unit Compliance Inspection and the Air Traffic System Evaluation Program Inspection). Thousands of man-hours went into preparing for the inspections and all the hard work paid off with Outstanding and Excellent ratings. The challenge we have now is to maintain that same level of compliance and readiness throughout the rest of the year and to push ourselves to be even better than we are today. 

There are three things I believe will help us keep that bar high so that we're ready to get the mission done and also ready for any future inspections. The first is to maintain a "Back-to-Basics" attitude. Secondly, individuals need to take ownership in their programs, and third is to train your replacement.

Back to Basics
The term "Back to Basics" gets thrown around a lot, but it's a good attitude to keep when faced with reductions in manpower and resources. The key is to figure out what is required to get the mission done and what is required to be in compliance with governing directives and instructions. When faced with an overwhelming number of tasks, you can't go wrong with a Back-to-Basics approach. While inspection checklists are only a guide to keep us in compliance, they are still a good tool to use to help us stay focused on exactly how to execute our mission per the governing DOD or Air Force instruction. 

I can't tell you how proud I was of individuals in the Comm Squadron that took full ownership of a whole host of communications and information related programs as we prepared for the UCI. I watched with amazement as I witnessed young Airmen and NCOs come together and really take pride in every aspect of their program. It's that same level of commitment that will help us stay in compliance and maximize our mission effectiveness. 

Ownership means that individuals know their programs and responsibilities so well that they're in a position to continuously improve their processes. And they take pride in offering up new ideas on how to do things smarter, better and faster, all the while keeping us in compliance with the rules. 

Train Your Replacement
One of the things that worries me the most about being done with the UCI is that the compliance level and programs will deteriorate because we're no longer focused on the UCI itself. Training your replacement when you PCS, separate or retire is one effective way to ensure your hard work doesn't go down the drain when you leave. Spend the time to make sure your replacement understands the management tools and tracking mechanisms that are in place to keep us where we want to be. Your enthusiasm and positive attitude go a long way in getting your replacement to take on the same level of pride and ownership that you have in your job. 

In the 6th Communications Squadron, we have the motto, "Good, Better, Best," and it's a great way to look at how you can continuously improve your contribution to our mission. We started off as "Good" before our inspections, the inspectors validated that we got "Better," and now our challenge is to be the "Best." By keeping a "Back-to-Basics" attitude, taking ownership of your programs, and training your replacements, you can ensure that we keep the bar high and fulfill our vision statement of being "America's Best Wing!"