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Charting the Course for a New Air Force Inspection System

Charting the Course for a New Air Force Inspection System

Frank Camm
Laura Werber
Julie Kim
Elizabeth Wilke
Rena Rudavsky
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 174
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  • Book Info
    Charting the Course for a New Air Force Inspection System
    Book Description:

    The Inspector General of the Air Force (SAF/IG) is leading an Air Force–wide effort to reduce the burden of Air Force inspection activities while also improving the quality of oversight the inspection system provides. In 2010, SAF/IG asked RAND Project AIR FORCE to join in this effort. This report presents primary data RAND collected on the Air Force inspection system and identifies effective inspection and information collection practices that the Air Force might emulate.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8194-0
    Subjects: Technology, Management & Organizational Behavior, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    Air Force senior leadership relies on inspections, assessments, and evaluations to advise it on the efficiency, effectiveness, readiness, and level of compliance of Air Force activities. Conducted by several different organizations within the Air Force, these oversight tasks have grown dramatically over time, despite repeated efforts to limit the burden they place on individual Air Force units. Although Office of the Inspector General of the Air Force (SAF/IG) inspections constitute only about one-fourth of this burden, SAF/IG has the responsibility to set inspection policy and oversee the inspection and evaluation systems for the Air Force as a whole. In 2010,...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The Inspector General of the Air Force (SAF/IG), “when directed by the Secretary or the Chief of Staff” of the Air Force, has the responsibility to “inquire into and report upon the discipline, efficiency, and economy of the Air Force” and the Air National Guard.¹ SAF/IG shall also “perform any other duties prescribed by the Secretary or the Chief of Staff.” SAF/IG interprets this role from the historical perspective of inspectors general going back at least to Napoleon. SAF/IG has the authority and responsibility to act as the Secretary and Chief of Staff’s “eyes and ears,” seeking out and monitoring...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Choosing a Better Inspection Interval
    (pp. 7-22)

    The Air Force inspection system is part of a broader governance structure.¹ And the frequency of external inspection events is one of many moving parts in the design of the Air Force inspection system. To choose the best inspection interval, SAF/IG needs to understand (1) the role that the inspection system plays in the Air Force’s broader governance system and (2) the role that the inspection interval plays in the Air Force’s inspection system. In this chapter, we place the frequency of external inspection events within the broader governance context. We use information we collected from Air Force inspectors and...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Reducing the Inspection Footprint
    (pp. 23-40)

    We can think about “footprint” from two qualitatively different perspectives. One is the total number of manpower hours during a year that a wing spends preparing for and participating in external inspection events. More hours means a larger footprint. The other is the number of days during a year that a wing is subject to any external inspection event. The fewer days of inspection, the more “white space” a wing has to focus on its military mission, and the smaller the footprint. Current efforts to improve the Air Force inspection system tend to emphasize the second—“white space”—relative to...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Shift in Relative Emphasis of External Inspection and Wing Self-Reporting
    (pp. 41-56)

    To ensure readiness and compliance in its wings, the Air Force currently relies primarily on having inspectors, assessors, and evaluators from outside the wings monitor their performance and advise them on how to improve it. As a complement to this independent, external perspective, wings have a variety of internal self-inspection practices, but skepticism currently exists about whether these generate the information required to sustain reliable performance. At the time of this report, SAF/IG is laying the groundwork for a major change that would further emphasize self-inspections and reduce external oversight.

    This chapter reports our findings on Air Force perspectives regarding...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Introducing the New Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI)
    (pp. 57-76)

    SAF/IG’s vision for a new inspection system calls for the complete overhaul of the Air Force’s current compliance inspections. At the time of this report, the plan was for compliance inspection to become a thing of the past; only certain elements will be preserved in a new type of inspection, the UEI. This IG-led inspection has two distinct elements. First, the inspection team will verify and validate the wing’s CCIP (described in Chapter Four). This consists of inspecting special-emphasis items and a sample of core compliance areas using methods such as interviews, surveys, task evaluations, audits, and program reviews. The...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Introducing the Management Internal Control Toolset (MICT)
    (pp. 77-86)

    MICT is a “new computer-based inspection program . . . [being] billed as an all-in-one inspection tracking and analysis toolset. The program is web-based, real-time, and allows individual units and program managers to assess their programs and up-channel their internal inspection results” (Curry, 2009). The Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) first made it available to its wings in October 2008, then began a concerted effort in January 2009 to introduce the program for use in all wings command-wide (Anderson, 2012).

    At the time of our research, the Air Force planned to introduce the program to the active component beginning in...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Implementation of Significant Change in the Inspection System
    (pp. 87-100)

    The previous chapters provide information about five different elements of change in the Air Force inspection system currently under discussion. Implementation of some of these changes has already begun. Other changes need to be defined more clearly before formal implementation can begin. Even if the Air Force ultimately decides to accept all these changes, they cannot occur overnight. Initial experiences with the new systems will lead to potentially significant adjustments. Successful basic implementation across the entire Air Force is likely to take a long time.

    This chapter summarizes what has been learned from efforts to achieve similarly significant changes in...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT Recommendations
    (pp. 101-112)

    The results of our review of practices to emulate, investigation of Air Force personnel’s experiences in the field, and literature review suggest recommendations for SAF/IG to consider as it develops and implements a new inspection system. The recommendations are organized in accordance with the following goals:

    general recommendations

    selecting a better inspection interval

    reducing the inspection footprint

    increasing the emphasis on self-inspections and self-reporting

    introducing the new UEI

    introducing MICT

    implementing significant organizational change

    conducting additional analysis to support implementation.

    These recommendations were informed by ideas shared by Air Force personnel during our fieldwork, but they neither adopt all those...

  17. APPENDIX A Analysis of Practices the Air Force Inspection System Might Emulate
    (pp. 113-116)
  18. APPENDIX B Analysis of the Experiences of Air Force Personnel in the Field
    (pp. 117-126)
  19. APPENDIX C Risk Management in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspection System
    (pp. 127-130)
  20. APPENDIX D Additional Background on the Air Force Climate Survey
    (pp. 131-136)
  21. APPENDIX E Additional Background on the Air Force Culture Assessment Safety Tool (AFCAST)
    (pp. 137-144)
  22. Bibliography
    (pp. 145-150)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 151-151)