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Preparation is Key

  • Published
  • By Col. James Howe
  • 6th Maintenance Group Commander
The Air Mobility Command (AMC) Inspector (IG) General team along with the command Logistics Standardization and Evaluation Program (LSEP) team will be evaluating MacDill from August 3-8. UCI, EMX and LSEP...How do these acronyms apply to you and why are they vitally important? They stand for Unit Compliance Inspection, Emergency Management Exercise and Logistics Standardization and Evaluation Program. (BLUF: You need to know how these affect the 6th Air Mobility Wing and 927th Air Refueling Wing!)

Uniformity and standardization is key to organizational effectiveness. We should be leading the way in utilizing a program such as the Enterprise Information Management (EIM) software commonly known as "SharePoint", to help standardize procedures and share information. SharePoint is a new AMC initiative which will allow accessibility and availability of documents and processes across the command. It is an effective web based management tool which avoids information overload and provides a forum for sharing information and managing tasks, schedules, programs, and processes.
The "UCI/LSEP Prep 2009"tab on the Maintenance Group (MXG) Commander's page provides a wealth of standardized information: a countdown clock to the inspection, checklists hyperlinked to detailed descriptive answers, links to previous inspections, Special Interest Items, safety, HAZMAT, Technical orders, AFIs, Policy Letters, and Appointment letters for all interested parties with access to SharePoint.

Compliance, competence and training ensure units are meeting or exceeding established standards. One technique we use in the MXG is the personnel evaluation. Inspectors observe technicians performing tasks to make sure it's done correctly and by the book. Supervisors are then informed how well their technician performed the task. This is a great tool to evaluate compliance since feedback is immediate. Remember, inspections are open book tests! Grading criteria, instructions/guidance and report cards (checklists) are available to all. The IG will grade a program either "in compliance", "in compliance with comments" or "not in compliance." We need you to make sure your program is "In-Compliance!"

Integrity, our first Air Force core value, demands we do the right thing all the time whether someone is watching or not! Being honest is vitally important to ensure safe and effective accomplishment of our mission. Integrity is paramount when grading oneself through the self inspection program and unit staff assistance visits. Identifying and fixing findings, sharing benchmark processes, and networking with experts will only lead to organizational success and ultimately to an exemplary rating from the IG.

Emergency Action Checklists, Shelter-In-Place (SIP) kits, hurricane evacuation plans, SAFE HOUSE/HAVEN and Major Accident Response Exercises are among a few of the evaluated personnel, equipment, and facility safety programs. Training is very important to safety. Untrained or unqualified personnel will be the weakest link in the chain of success. Does your unit possess the most current grid maps/overlays? Do members of your unit know where their emergency checklist and critical item lists are maintained and how to access them? Furthermore, do members of your unit know where the SIP areas are and each SIP kit location? These are just a few questions to think about when looking at EMX unit readiness.

Management of personnel resources means taking responsibility for your training and being a mentor to subordinates. This is critical to unit continuity and mission execution. Do your Airmen know the proper self aid buddy care procedures and are they current on training? Do they have the tools available to complete the required checklist items during a contingency operation? Information is powerful, but only if that knowledge is communicated up and down the chain of command.

Exercise Exercise Exercise!!! Exercises test and measure a unit's readiness and capability to perform during a real-world emergency. Effective practice and repetition enforce learning objectives. A well executed exercise program provides feedback needed to fine tune your training program. During an exercise, ask the "5 Whys", evaluate the root cause analysis, and identify possible shortfalls or limiting factors (LIMFAC) that could affect the next real world emergency. Thorough emergency preparation and readiness training will ensure our wing's success in future emergency situations. (Are you ready to exercise your training objectives?)

Logistics leaders should work on developing a Safety Culture for Airmen who autonomously implement operational risk management in daily operations. Evaluations involve standardized verification inspections, special inspections and personnel and management evaluations. Inspectors evaluate over the shoulder evaluations on task performance, competency and proficiency levels. Performing tasks consistently and proficiently will validate personnel Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. August 3 - 8 will be extra special for all logistics professionals. Both the Mission Support Group and the Maintenance Group will be evaluated on task proficiency and compliance with Air Force instructions and technical orders while simultaneously being inspected by the AMC IG team for program compliance.

Any visit by the major air command IG can cause undue anxiety and outright fear for some personnel. However, if you are prepared and following HQ guidance you have nothing to fear! You should be proud of your programs and want to show them off! When the inspector comes to your section, greet them enthusiastically and show them not only how you comply with higher headquarters guidance, but also show them how you've exceeded their expectations. You want an outstanding! (Merely meeting the intent of an instruction is satisfactory). You need to show you've gone above and beyond. One way is through detailed continuity books. If you step away tomorrow, can the second in command step into your job seamlessly? If not, then you need to make sure they can. Some functional managers even spell out continuity book formats in their MAJCOM supplements. Make sure you know the book better that the inspector and you will have earned their respect.

All Airmen should be reminded that procedures must be followed Precisely, by the book, all the time! Be sure to implement a change to procedure or suggest an improved process by approved methods--in the technical order world it's called the Air Force Technical Order Form 22 process. Airmen must be Responsive to training opportunities, with an understanding that they are ultimately Trusted to get the job done correctly, whether someone is evaluating them or not. Regardless of the inspection team, each provides the opportunity to showcase our Airmen and unit capabilities proving we are "America's Best Wing! Precise, Responsive, and Trusted...Always!" MXG ...FMC!