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UEI: It's closer than you think

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

Although still a year out, the Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI) is closer than you think. But don’t jump into crisis mode to prepare for the inspection; if we focus on doing our jobs the right way, every day, we’ll be in great shape. 

Yes, AFRC/IG is going to examine our programs with a fine-toothed comb, because their job is to identify risk areas that could hurt the mission.

So how do you sleuth out those risks? MICT is a great starting point. Run those checklists every six months to make sure your programs are operating in accordance with instructions, policies and regulations, because the IG is also looking at them before they arrive. Lean on Wing Inspection Team members – a dedicated group of volunteer SMEs that can look at your programs with in inspector’s eye. Your unit’s Self-Assessment Program Managers are IGEMS gurus who can keep you on track to close deficiencies. Call Mr. Christopher Gruber, 926th Wing Command Process Improvement Manager, to help flesh out solutions to systemic problems.

When assessing your programs, keep in mind that the inspection looks at overall four areas which can be remembered with the acronym MILE, or “running the MILE” – Managing Resources (manpower, equipment, facilities, funds); Improving the Unit (strategic alignment, process operations, data-driven decisions); Leading People (communication, discipline, training development); and Executing the Mission (primary mission, warfighter support). Everything we do can be categorized into one of these areas; it’s the Air Force’s big picture.

Similar to physical fitness, we should regularly exercise so we can always run that MILE – not wait until two weeks prior to prepare, risking injury.

And even when you believe you’ve found and resolved all the risk areas, don’t be discouraged if the team finds deficiencies. No unit is doing everything perfectly 100% of the time. So there’s no sense in “painting the grass” to make everything look pristine, because that sends up a red flag to the IG team. Instead, we need to “embrace the red” and acknowledge the problems, but more importantly, show how we (from the top to the bottom of the chain) are engaged and invested in fixing those problems.

Like your teacher always said in school, “show your work.” While on the road to fixing the issues, we need to show the IG how we’re getting there.

It’s a difficult culture shift to highlight areas of weakness, but it’s important to identify a known area of non-compliance because 1) if inspectors find something we haven’t told them about, it can be documented as undetected non-compliance, which shows that the self-inspections we’ve spent so much time on aren’t helping, or that we’re not even aware of what our responsibilities are; and 2) if we can show that issues exist due to inadequate resources (not to be confused with mismanagement of resources we’ve been given), it could help justify getting those needed resources.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Take the opportunity to also highlight the great work you’re doing – those above and beyond procedures and innovative processes that could become benchmarks for the Air Force as a whole.

So instead of preparing for the UEI, let’s focus on doing our jobs the right way – not only to ace the inspection, but because it’s the right thing to do to make sure everyone is taken care of every day.