SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
With the third quarter in full swing, the time before the 50th Space Wing’s Unit Effectiveness Inspection in February is growing shorter.
As “game day” approaches, the 50th SW Inspector General office reminds units of the major graded areas: managing resources, improving the unit, leading people and executing the mission.
“Essentially, we’ve given people the questions that are going to be on the test in the form of the Commander’s Inspection Handbook
,” said Capt. Joseph Villalpando, exercise program manager for the 50th SW IG. “The exact same questions inspectors will be asking are in that handbook.”
While all the MGAs are equally important throughout the year, the inspectors are emphasizing the importance of managing resources during the third quarter.
Managing resources is broken down into two sub-MGAs: adequacy and stewardship.
Within adequacy, inspectors look to see if units have the right amount of manpower, funds, equipment, facilities and guidance to fulfill their mission.
“Adequacy is all about asking the question, ‘what do we have and do we have enough of it,’” Villalpando said. “If you take away any one component of the adequacy or don’t have enough of it, it can be hard to impossible to accomplish your mission.”
Tech. Sgt. Martin Howard, exercises section chief for the 50th SW IG, said manpower is a key concern for many units.
“We see it everywhere we go,” Howard said. “We’re the best in the business at doing more with less, but sometimes there just isn’t enough to be able to properly get things done. When that happens, it’s important units and commanders have honest, open dialogue as to what has to be done and what has to give, because the mission can’t not get done.”
According to Villalpando, honesty is key when evaluating adequacy.
“Most of the time, getting new or more resources for a unit is something a commander has to ask for and isn’t always guaranteed to get,” he said. “So, as units self-evaluate with the CCIP handbook, they need to be honest, because sometimes the combined voice of a commander and the IG can be advantageous in prioritization and allocation of resources for units.”
While adequacy asks “does the unit have enough,” stewardship asks, “is the unit taking care of and efficiently using what they do have?”
“The two sub-MGAs complement each other perhaps more so than any other group within the MGAs,” Villalpando said. “Each has all the same components: manpower, funds, equipment, etc.”
Villalpando said stewardship starts at the most basic level and is every Airman’s responsibility.
“It starts with the little things like keeping your desk and area clean,” he said. “That may seem small, but it’s important that mindset be woven into everything that you do, because the details matter. Chances are if you’re taking care of your workspace in a clean, responsible manner, you’re probably taking care of major Air Force assets the same way.”
According to Howard, taking care of Air Force assets is important for two reasons.
“One, things break if you don’t take care of them,” he said. “Two, if you’re asking for more resources but aren’t taking care of what you have, you’re probably not going to get them.”
Howard also said stewardship is a category where people sometimes miss the mark in a well-intentioned way.
“It’s about using the right resources for the right job,” he said. “That’s where we can help with an outside perspective for units who think they may not have enough of something. We can help units develop best practices to optimize the resources they have and potentially eliminate a need they think they have.”
While the questions inspectors ask within adequacy and stewardship nearly mirror each other, one key difference is the category of “Airmen’s Time” in stewardship.
“The question we ask is, ‘are the unit’s leaders good stewards of Airmen’s time,’” Villalpando said. “However, while senior leaders are accountable, this is every single Airman’s basic responsibility. What do you do with your time every day?”
Howard said time management is critical as the wing’s “Super Bowl” approaches in February.
“We’ve known this inspection is coming for a long time now, so if you’re waiting until now to start preparing, your execution on game day is going to reflect that,” Howard said. “We are one big family in this wing, so if we’re failing to prepare, we’re hurting our mission and our people. Everyone needs to be ready for game day.”
Editor’s note: this is part three in a four-part series on the major graded areas of the Commander’s Inspection Program