Base preparing for September inspection

by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs

5/26/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala -- September's compliance inspection, or CI, gives Maxwell Air Force Base an opportunity to demonstrate to the Air Education and Training Command inspector general how well the installation follows Air Force guidelines.

The evaluation will confirm the installation is doing "the right thing at the right time in the right way," said Col. Brian Killough, 42nd Air Base Wing commander. "(The inspection) ensures the units are following Air Force and (major command) instructions and guidance, supplied by their functional areas."

The AETC IG performs inspections every two years, with the focus of inspections having shifted from readiness to compliance, according to Colonel Killough.

Scenarios during operational readiness inspections, such as the one at Maxwell in October 2008, focused on deploying large portions of the military population. This year, the inspection is more in tune with how the Air Force operates today. The mission is not just deployment, but expanded to services and support.

Previous inspections were based on observing units in action. This inspection will investigate details, and units will have to show how they complete tasks.

"The emphasis is more on instructions and the rules you set," said Col. John Neal, the Air University inspector general. "Are you enforcing the standards based on the rules you've established?"

The IG sets out broad guidelines. The 42nd ABW's Plans and Programs Office will develop scenarios to test all portions of the installation as a whole for the inspection in September.

The process also examines all facets of the installation, including everyday programs, such as contracting, logistics, safety and equal opportunity.

The situation at Maxwell is unique, since both Air University and the 42nd ABW will be inspected at the same time. Thus, they are following the same plan to prepare.

"The plan entails self-inspections, which we do on a regular basis to ensure we are in compliance with Air Force directives and policy," said Lt. Col. Craig Drescher, the 42nd ABW's project officer for CI preparation.

Since many of the programs for AU and the 42nd ABW overlap, "having both organizations on the same page of music is critical," he said. For example, some AU support offices help execute a program that is managed by a 42nd ABW office.
"Self-inspection makes sure we're doing it right all the time," Colonel Drescher said.

With monthly exercises and self-inspection procedures already in place, Maxwell measures compliance year-round. This has the dual benefit of maintaining readiness for inspections and ensuring the agencies are prepared to handle their responsibilities in accordance with Air Force standards.

"Self-inspection is the first line of defense in passing a compliance inspection," Colonel Neal said. Creating a battle rhythm of compliance helps ensure AU is consistent in its rules and curriculum according to Air Force regulations.

Recently, real-world events have tested installation capabilities, providing valuable experience for September's inspection. After Osama bin Laden's death the installation went to Force Protection Condition Bravo. In response to the April 27 tornadoes that devastated areas of Alabama, Maxwell served as an incident support base for relief efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies.

Previous base exercises included an active-shooter scenario, biological attack, aircraft accidents and pandemic response.

In preparation for September's inspection, "we want to have all the big rocks moved by June 1," Colonel Killough said.

This will give agencies time to refine procedures, fully demonstrating the accuracy and efficiency of the 42nd ABW and AU capabilities. The plan also sets a solid framework before staffing changes this summer.

As part of the groundwork, all employees should review Air Force instructions in all functional areas. "Don't take anything for granted," Colonel Drescher advised. "Make sure we're aware of the instructions and meet all requirements."

The exercises, self-inspections and IG inspections all support the Maxwell-Gunter goal to be the best hometown in the Air Force and the AU mission to be the intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force.