Team XL....Are you ready for UCI?

LAUGHLIN AFB, Texas -- --
We will undergo an Air Education and Training Command Inspector General Unit Compliance Inspection May 2-10.

While six months may seem a long time away, the time to prepare is now. From our wing's most senior leadership, to our most junior Airmen--preparation efforts on the base are in progress now. The 47 FTW IG team offers the following thoughts to help get us all on the same page.

What is a UCI?
A UCI is a Unit Compliance Inspection. It is slightly different than an ORI, or Operational Readiness Inspection. ORIs are conducted to evaluate and measure the ability of units with a wartime, contingency or force sustainment mission to perform assigned operational missions. At Laughlin, we are a training wing. We certainly support the wartime mission, but the bulk of our effort goes into training new pilots. As a result, headquarters inspects us with a UCI. Per the AFI, UCIs are conducted to assess areas mandated by law as well as mission areas that are critical or important to the health and performance of organizations. What does that mean? It means that a UCI assesses day-to-day compliance with applicable laws and regulatory guidance. The UCI measures how well we do our job, in both function and process.

Major areas inspected?
All functions and processes across the wing are open for inspection. The AETC IG Team will consist of about 120 members. Each member of the team is an expert in their particular functional area. You can expect the inspector who assesses your work area to know exactly how you should be doing your job. The team travels around the command, inspecting all AETC-assigned units. You can be sure that after inspecting other bases, the IG Team will know what to look for in your particular area. A very big part of the inspection is the accuracy of our documentation. Often the written record is all that remains to support how well we did our job. Inaccurate or incomplete documentation reflects poorly on our job performance. Inspectors will want to review your records; make sure they accurately reflect your strong job performance.

Grading criteria?
Once complete with the inspection, the IG team will write a report. The report will document all Strengths, Deficiencies, and Recommended Improvement Areas. Strengths are those areas where we demonstrate that we do our job very well. Deficiencies represent areas the inspector finds us not in compliance. In the past, the IG used the term "Finding" for a weak area; that has been recently replaced with "Deficiency." It goes without saying that our goal is to minimize deficiencies and maximize strengths.
IG Inspection Guide?
The IG Team will inspect us using checklists. They make those checklists available to everyone on the AETC IG website, and those checklists serve as the backbone of our self-inspection program. Because we use the same checklists in our self-inspection that the IG will use to inspect us during the UCI, we already know what they'll look at. There should be no surprises. That's the purpose of our self-inspection program, to conduct a close look at ourselves and identify any weak areas now - and fix them!

It's absolutely critical that we conduct a hard look when reviewing the IG's checklists. The worst thing you can do with these checklists is to simply mark the checklists "YES/NO". Each checklist answer should have a "YES/NO" answer followed by a short, concise, yet detailed and specific explanation as to why the answer is YES or how we intend to turn a NO into a YES. Supervisors and flight commanders need to dig deep into the self-inspection reports to find the items that have not been explained properly and work to get those items in compliance. We cannot afford to overlook something which the IG will find.

Grading scale?
The IG Team uses a tiered grading scale for an overall grade. From top to bottom, the scale is: Outstanding, Excellent, Satisfactory, Marginal, and Unsatisfactory. It goes without saying that we are shooting for the top!

Who participates?
Everyone in the wing will contribute to the success of the inspection, because the success of our mission depends on everyone. Some will work very closely with inspectors for several hours as they review checklists and unit programs. Some may be shadowed by an inspector who shadows their job performance. Some will take checkrides to assess our ability to conduct our flying training mission in the air. Perhaps others may be simply asked a question or two by an inspector to assess their awareness of a given program. Even if you don't interact with an IG team member during the inspection, you'll be responsible for preparing beforehand. In order to be successful, we need everyone's support.

IG Exercise during the evaluation?
During the UCI, the Team will evaluate our exercise program. We will conduct a training exercise much like the SCARLET HAWK exercises you see roughly every month. The IG will evaluate both our ability to conduct a meaningful exercise and how we work through that exercise.
How you should prepare?
The best way to prepare for the UCI is to know your job and do it well. You can do this by reading and following any and all guidance pertaining to your part of the wing's mission. Self-inspection checklists are a great tool to use in preparation. As you know, the 47th FTW is using a web-based self-inspection program. We're tracking every item on all unit self-inspection checklists to ensure compliance. If you've not seen your unit's self-inspection checklist, let your supervisor know that you want to see it and help out.

Also, visit the 47 FTW IG's SharePoint site and take a look at inspection reports from other bases. This is a great way to learn how your contemporaries at other bases are doing their jobs. Maybe you can make your program even better than what you see at another base by looking at their Strengths - and their weakness.

Timing? IG Data call? (45 or 90 days prior for local pubs, policies, etc)
May 2 through 10 is six months away.  In the weeks and months prior, AETC/IG will request certain information from us regarding programs in the wing. The 47 FTW IG office will notify your office in the near future if this pertains to you.

Key Elements of our "compliance framework"
Safety, sense of urgency, attention to detail, positive attitude, enthusiasm, etc ... We'll say more about this in the future as we get closer to the inspection, but adherence to all proper military customs and courtesies, to include our personal appearance, leaves a strong impression on a visitor to our base. We want that impression to be a positive one. Probably one of the most important things we can do, both during preparation for the UCI and during the inspection itself, is to remain positive. An enthusiastic attitude goes a long way to shaping how an inspector looks at your work. There is no substitute for doing a good job, but a positive attitude certainly helps. The IG Team is definitely not the enemy and certainly not to be feared.

Anyone who's ever been an inspector before can tell you that the IG really wants to see us do well and succeed. And if we're doing our jobs they way we're supposed to, we can take immense pride in showing them mission success!

The number one way to prepare for the UCI is to keep doing the excellent work that has made Team XL the "outstanding" organization it is already.
I encourage you to ask the tough questions about yourself and the programs under your watch, such as: "What would an inspector say if they came right now?" "What do I already know I need to fix but haven't done so?" "What can I do to make my program stronger?" "Who do I need to team up with in order to resolve this problem?"

I encourage you to consider weekends to put the polish on your work. I'm not suggesting you come in every weekend, but the harsh reality is that with everything we have going on over the next 6 months there just may come a time where weekend work is necessary. I've been a part of three successful UCIs in my career, and all three involved people coming in weekends for focused preparation.

I encourage you to get ready! The nine days in May will be a whirl-wind and the time leading up to it will be marked with long hours, exhaustive repetitions of preparations, and a lot of management oversight.

The reward that awaits us is the opportunity to show AETC and the rest of the Air Force what we already know: Team XL is "Outstanding!"