Look out, here come the black vests!

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Danielle Conde
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
"The IG is coming, watch out" seems to be a common thought as personnel wearing black vests arrive with pens ready to write down any deficiencies they see on their evaluation checklists.
However, the purpose of the Inspector General Inspection team is not to find a reason to fail a unit, but to help them identify non-compliance with the goal of improving.

The Air Force created IGI to take over the majority of inspection duties from Higher Headquarters inspection teams and act as an unbiased review and assessment program that conducts monthly inspections with the goal of ensuring units achieve mission readiness rather than inspection readiness.

"Overall, the intent of the program is to ensure that people are critically assessing themselves and their programs, making sure they are in compliance with applicable guidance and ready to execute the mission," said Lt. Col. Brian Gilpatrick, 6th Air Mobility Wing inspector general. "The driving force is to always be ready."

Consisting of senior NCOs handpicked by their unit commanders, the IGI team looks at a number of different factors while planning an inspection. One of the main tools they use is the Management Internal Control Toolset, which is a self-assessment communicator.

"MICT contains the most important questions that give the wing and units the opportunity to communicate any deficiencies," said Gilpatrick. "The whole goal is to self-identify any problems or limitations early, and develop corrective action plans to fix them."

The team strives to guard against undetected non-compliance, and by using the MICT database, risk-based sampling, and Subject Matter Experts on the Wing Inspection Team (WIT), they are able to accurately assess the status of a unit and pinpoint weak areas to focus on in future evaluations.

Previously, inspections occurred every couple of years and the major command inspector general team only saw a snap shot of the units' readiness. However, with continuous inspections, the team has access to a photo album of each unit's progress over a two-year period for the Unit Effectiveness Inspection.

"The feedback we give to the units should help them improve and build their processes," said Gilpatrick. "Continuous compliance, process improvement, and the mentality of being ready now is really what it is about."