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UEI, MICT, WIT -- oh, my! The 152nd's upcoming inspection explained

Staff Sgt. Chelsea Canaday pulls security during a hijacking/active shooter training exercise last week at the Nevada Air National Guard Base in Reno. The exercise was part of the 152nd Airlift Wing's ongoing inspection process. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Emerson Marcus

Staff Sgt. Chelsea Canaday pulls security during a hijacking/active shooter training exercise last week at the Nevada Air National Guard Base in Reno. The exercise was part of the 152nd Airlift Wing's ongoing inspection process. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Emerson Marcus

RENO -- By now, the acronyms UEI, MICT, WIT and CCIP have their own special place in the High Roller lexicon.

They're elements of the new Air Force Inspection System (AFIS), a more cost effective, continuous inspection process that increases commander autonomy while eliminating redundancies.

But what exactly happens this March during the Unit Effectiveness Inspection and how can traditional 152nd Airlift Wing High Rollers prepare for it?

During March drill about 70 Air Mobility Command inspectors are set to visit the Nevada Air National Guard Base in Reno for the 152nd Airlift Wing's first ever UEI.

The inspection process differs from the old operational readiness and unit compliance inspections. UEI isn't conducted at an off-base location (such as the Air Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich.). It's also not a snapshot, but rather a continuous evaluation.

The Air Force rolled out the new system in 2013. Its goal: create a daily, continuous internal inspection process that will shape an on-site capstone visit by major command inspectors.

Active Duty Air Force inspections are set to occur once every two years while National Guard inspections occur once every four years. This cycle can vary depending on how individual Wings perform.

Each individual Commander's Inspection Program, or CCIP, focuses on two components: self-assessment and the formal inspection. 

Self-assessment is conducted through the Management Internal Control Toolkit, or MICT. This includes continuously updated self-assessment communicators. Traditional Airmen need to know these communicators (sometimes referred to as checklists) in order to maintain compliance. However, performance isn't necessarily graded on a blind pursuit of compliance perfection, said Master Sgt. Tracy Woodfolk, 152nd Wing Inspections Superintendent.

Capt. Gregory Green, 152nd Communications Flight director of operations, said the self-inspection method proved one of the more challenging hurdles in the process.

"The self-inspection method only works when you have a culture of openness and non-retribution," Green said. "This is at direct odds with the culture built around decades of previous inspections. Buying into the new method requires Airmen to be up front with their areas of weakness. In a competitive work environment, this can be very difficult if leaders do not reward members who bring shortfalls to light."

Green said Comm Flight has worked diligently to expose unit shortfalls, even bringing in members of the 103rd Communications Flight, Connecticut Air National Guard, to look over their programs.

"Their feedback, having gone through a recent IG inspection, gave us additional trust in the system," he said.

In addition to Inspections Director Maj. Shannon Manning, Woodfolk and the inspection staff, commanders designate Wing Inspection Team (WIT) members in their sections. These Airmen are considered subject matter experts and work with the inspection staff to monitor compliance. Everyone should know their WIT members in their section, Woodfolk said.

Units are assessed on four Major Graded Areas (MGAs): Executing the Mission (primary mission, warfighter support); Managing Resources (manpower, equipment, facilities, funds); Leading People (communication, discipline, training development); Improving the Unit (strategic alignment, process operations, data-driven decisions).

The new inspection process will create a "culture of disciplined compliance in which every Airman does his/her job right the first time and when no one is looking," according to the new inspection processes' guiding regulation, AFI 90-201.

"Basically, people need to know the regulation," said Master Sgt. Suzanne Connell, inspections administrator. "A lot of it is military appearance, too, from cutting your hair to making sure your uniform is good to go.

She added: "Airmen should know how to get into MICT. They should know their communicators. They should also know their SAPM (Self-Assessment Program Manager)."

When asked if there was anything more Green wanted to say about the upcoming inspection, he responded with three simple words.

"Bring it on."