Inspections lead to wing readiness

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Charles Taylor
  • 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Many factors determine mission success. Resources, logistics and strategies are all needed. The processes and standards, however, are equally important, which is why the 301st Fighter Wing Inspector General of Inspections play a crucial role.

The 301 FW IGI is charged to effectively manage the Commander’s Inspection Program (CCIP) through the direction of the Air Force Inspection System (AFIS). They ensure the compliance adheres through assessments of units, programs, higher headquarters (HHQ) directed taskers and exercising functions/mission objectives. What they are responsible for is to evaluate the state of conformance and ensure continuous improvement of mission readiness.

Senior Master Sgt. Clay Jennings, 301 FW IGI superintendent, explains how their mission depends on their everyday goal.

“We want to develop a culture of mission ready, and deter from ‘inspection ready’, as that has been identified as preparing for inspections is inherently wasteful,” he said. “The end game is to motivate and promote military discipline, improve unit performance, and manage excellence throughout the chain of command and within the wing.”

The role of IGI superintendent oversees many responsibilities. Jennings must ensure CCIP is at peak performance, leads the IGI team and the Wing Inspection Team (WIT), studies inspection results and identifies undetected areas of risk. He must also make sure units answer discrepancies accordingly and advises leadership on the wing’s program management and mission readiness effective state.

Jennings’ team is made up of five Traditional Reservists and two full-time Reservists. The team comprises of various roles to support the CCIP.  These roles include the IGI director, exercise planner, inspection planner, WIT manager, wing self-assessment program manager and chief of inspection and analysis.

“We want to continuously improve and evaluate the state of conformance, discipline, economy, efficiency, readiness and resource management,” Jennings said. “Above all, we want to effectively manage the CCIP to where it meets the wing’s mission to train and deploy combat ready Airmen.”

One way the IGI evaluates readiness is through the Airmen Readiness Training Exercise (ARTEX). During this annual exercise, all the units come together in deployed 48-hour scenarios to test readiness and the ability to continue operations in the face of various attacks, whether they’re in the physical, chemical or cyber form.

Airmen also wear Ground Crew Ensemble (GCE) gear to protect them from the attacks. The gear includes gas masks, over garments, protective boots and detection paper. In the fall, the wing will go through the third iteration of this exercise.

“The primary misconception is that IGI exclusively owns, plans, directs, and grades every inspection,” he said. “The inspections are a collaboration effort from the WIT members, commanders, assigned unit planners, self-assessment program managers, and HHQ directives. Also, IGI is not charged to have Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) and remedies for all identified deficiencies – that is the unit’s ownership.”

In spite of the enormous effort an ARTEX requires from an entire wing, the ultimate results bring improvement and a sense of satisfaction.

“Identifying undetected risk and being questioned of identified non-conformity procedures can be tough,” Jennings said. “But the tempo of challenge, the sense of belonging, and the instant ripples of making the Airmen more lethal on executing 21st century Air Force vision is a favorite part.”

For those who our interested in working in the IGI, Jennings says there are certain characteristics needed to take on the task.

“A person must possess attributes of the highest professional standards and moral character, specifically strengths in organization, adaptability, accountability, computer literacy, vocal leadership and followership,” he said. “Most importantly, they have to accept the challenge of gaining knowledge of all the wing’s functions to be the pulse of the Commander’s Inspection Program.”


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