Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Team Mildenhall prepares for inspection

by Gina Randall,  100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs  

RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- An inspection is an opportunity to validate compliance and mission readiness. It's a time to prove an installation's preparedness, professionalism, and highlight its integrity. It's also a time for personnel to interact with the installation's inspection team. At RAF Mildenhall, members of the 100th Air Refueling Wing Inspections and Readiness (IGI) office lead the base's inspection team.

Team Mildenhall, as a whole, will be inspected many times over the course of a year. Individual units will prove their readiness as inspectors assess critical areas. Then the inspection team will consolidate its findings into a report for the base commander.

"The Inspections and Readiness team has empowered several subject matter experts with the responsibility of crafting exercise design injections and developing key scenarios," said Staff Sgt. David Rodriguez, 100th ARW IGI inspection director from Los Angeles, Calif. "The IGI team will later assign inspectors to assess the installation's response to the injections created by these select experts."

"Our team has had to develop relationships with subject matter experts across the base, and bring them together in order to intelligently design exercises to meet the objectives approved by the wing commander," added Maj. Jeremy Patrick, 100th ARW IGI director of inspections from Marion, Ill.

The Wing Inspection Team will study the scenarios and anticipated reactions so they are prepared to assess performance. Additionally, the WIT members will form together prior to an exercise for a workshop which will remind them of the necessity of the inspection and prepare them to perform a completely honest and unbiased inspection. The workshop will include topics such as how to observe without interfering, how and when to intervene, if necessary, to prevent unintended consequences or safety issues, how to take effective notes of their observations and how to transform those notes into useful inputs during the processing of the written inspection.

"On a large scale, the goal is to verify the ability to practice and improve RAF Mildenhall's capability to deploy and employ 100th ARW units and personnel," Patrick said. "Within this broad umbrella, the wing commander, with inputs from his staff and the group commanders, has laid out several specific objectives to be evaluated during an inspection."

A positive result from an inspection would validate Team Mildenhall's ability to employ and deploy assets in support of designed operational capability statement requirements and other directed missions.

"Of course, if my team is doing the job right, even after a successful outcome on an exercise or inspection, there will be valuable lessons learned, and these lessons will be incorporated in to ensure even better performance in the future," Patrick said.

A negative inspection result would indicate flaws in the 100th ARW's ability to perform necessary missions. In the worst case, the wing commander may have to stand-down certain units until the deficiencies are corrected.

Other less-drastic negative results may lead to a redesign of programs, identification of equipment that needs to be sourced or training opportunities. The possibilities are nearly endless and would depend on the problems uncovered.

"It's not so much about passing or failing, as it is taking an objective look to see how Team Mildenhall is doing and where there are opportunities to improve capabilities through improved training, guidance, equipment, efficiencies or synergies," Rodriguez said.

Ultimately, these inspections are a key part of the Commander's Inspection Program. It allows the wing command team to gauge whether the wing is aligned correctly to support its missions.

"Another key element of these inspections is the ability to practice our craft and work with our partners here at RAF Mildenhall to improve our ability to meet our unique and challenging mission sets," Patrick said.