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NEWS | June 3, 2015

The commander's (and our) inspection program

By Col. Jimmy Canlas 437th Airlift Wing vice commander

Just before the Memorial Day weekend, members across Joint Base Charleston participated in Exercise Crescent Reach in which the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings, together with the 628th Air Base Wing, tested their ability to deploy tasked personnel, generate and launch a large C-17 formation, in this case 15 aircraft, and to operate and survive in a contaminated environment.  This was not done "just because we could," rather it was part of a larger picture, the Commander's Inspection Program, or CCIP.

A few years ago, the Air Force changed the way units were to be evaluated.  Known as the Air Force Inspection System, it quickly brought new acronyms and words into our vernacular, such as MGAs, WIT, MICT, IGEMS, verticals, and horizontals.  Perhaps the biggest visible change to the inspection system is we are continually reporting and assessing, and being evaluated as a "photo album" (aka Unit Effectiveness Inspection) rather than a single snap shot (aka the old ORI).  During Crescent Reach, Air Mobility Command inspectors had the first peek into our album by providing an external look at our CCIP as they conducted a mid-term UEI visit.

Though the CCIP is only one aspect of the AFIS, one can easily make the case that it is the most important.  This is because the CCIP is a continuous internal look at ourselves to detect non-compliance and identify areas of improvement in accordance with the wing commander's priorities.  It allows us to look in the mirror every day and give an honest assessment of where we are as Airmen, as a unit, and as a wing.  In other words, it is an opportunity to clean up our house before the maid shows up.

However, don't be misled by the name of the program.  Sure, the commander owns the program, but each and every Airman owns a large stake in this process.  Commanders are counting on Airmen to provide honest assessments and for "tell-it-like-it-is" reporting--particularly on areas of improvement.  We need to identify the "red" areas, acknowledge the "red,", and reward finding the "red."  We need the innovative spirit of Airmen to bring creative solutions to the table to "green up" the red to ensure units can accomplish their assigned mission.  In the end, this should be a part of our daily habit patterns so that non-compliance can be discovered on any given day, and not on inspection day. 

We all have an important role to play, and that role should not be taken lightly.  One does not have to be a WIT member to point out problems or identify non-compliance.  Each of us is empowered to do that every time we show up to work--from the wing commander down to our youngest Airman.  Through this, we can create an environment of compliance and foster an atmosphere of continuous improvement that is ingrained into our daily battle rhythm.  So the CCIP must go beyond being a commander's program... it must be OUR program.