KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
The 173rd Fighter Wing completed their 2023 Unit Effectiveness Inspection Capstone, May 7, 2023. This in-person inspection is the final element of a four-to-five-year inspection cycle.
Colonel John Bartoli, the inspection division chief for the Air Education and Training Command Inspector General, led the inspection team.
“The goal of the UEI is to give both the major command, in our case AETC, and the wing commander a sense that the wing’s ability to effectively execute their mission is sound,” said Bartoli. “Assuming risk is a commander’s business … we want to support commanders by using a robust team of subject matter experts to tell them exactly where they’re buying those risks.”
The purpose of the continuous inspection cycle is to promote effectiveness and is monitored heavily in a computer-based application called the Management Internal Control Toolset, or MICT. MICT is a self-evaluation tool used to assess organizational effectiveness and ensure compliance with directives. It also allows higher headquarters to continuously monitor how a unit is performing in their work centers and managing their programs, as opposed to the previous types of inspections which, realistically, only captured a single snapshot in time.
“Some people like MICT, some people hate it,” said Bartoli. “I like it and I hate it; but I also find that it’s not what’s written in MICT, but how it’s written that tells me how well the person knows their job.”
He gave an example of how entering “non-applicable” into multiple boxes could indicate that an Airman may not fully understand their program. Whereas, a more knowledgeable Airman might identify that a program is not functioning out of their office, but they can tell you who is running the program or what the applicable equivalent program is.
Bartoli said one of the benefits of MICT and a continuous inspection is the opportunity for growth. “Having a formal inspection program with a couple of checklists and self-assessment tools that focus on objective and empirical information helps [Airmen] grow into the job and raises the kind of leaders that have a skill for introspection later in their career.”
The inspectors visiting the wing for the capstone event are considered subject matter experts in their area. Bartoli indicated that the inspectors want to come out to units and talk about programs, because they are eager to help people and are very passionate and invested in in their programs. He wished people recognized that these inspectors have been in their shoes.
When asked what advice he had for Airmen, Bartoli said, “to get very comfortable being uncomfortable, and question your own assumptions. It’s something we don’t naturally do, but it helps uncover some blind spots.”
Ideally, a unit’s self-assessment aligns closely to the capstone inspector’s assessment. This indicates that Airmen are running programs safely and effectively.
Although the results of the inspection have not been compiled, Bartoli did express that, “The 173rd Fighter Wing has a great reputation, and it's been great to meet the Airmen and to see how passionate people are in the ‘Land of No Slack.’”