ORI is a good thing – an opportunity to shine

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Stephen Wisser
  • Chief, Plans and Programs
As the Wingman Day events were taking shape I kept hearing the phrases "The ORI is our number one priority," and "No-repeat write-ups -- period." 

With this commentary coming due, I asked myself what I would like to pass on to help Team Vance prepare for our Operational Readiness Inspection. 

So first things first. The Air Education and Training Command Inspector General Team is coming to conduct a periodic readiness and compliance inspection and we can't avoid it.
Apprehension, worry, fear, anxiety and tension are floating through the wing like a thick fog as questions arise in everyone's minds: What will the IG team expect of me? What will they focus on? Are those "black-hat" inspectors going to intentionally intimidate me? What do we need to do to succeed? Is there enough time to prepare? What happens if we bust? 

Now wait a second. With the Air Force's focus on "accountability," a routine inspection of any type is, in fact, a good thing -- an opportunity. 

In the months prior to the big inspection, commanders and supervisors should educate their folks on the rationale and positive reasons behind it, motivate them to dig deep into their processes and procedures, train extensively to ensure everyone is up to standards and fix all the things that are weak or broken. As part of this process, it is critical that a thorough self-inspection be conducted. Bottom line -- we have to first identify the areas before they can be fixed. 

You should never forget that all the answers about the way things should be done are already out there in the form of laws, Air Force instructions, policy letters, operating instructions, technical orders, self-inspection checklists and more. 

Consequently, inspections really are "open book tests" right up to the time the inspection team sets foot on Vance AFB. Don't forget to engage with your functional representation on the AETC staff. They can be a good source of which units have the best practices and processes and answer any questions that arise while you are working your programs. 

Now, with inspection preparation complete, it is finally time for the real thing: the chance to show those IG toads just how outstanding we really are. All those preparations were certainly successful and all we need to do now is establish the right mindset. 

I would like to pass on what I learned as a member of the Air Mobility Command IG team. Here's what I call "The 10 Best Ways to Dazzle the IG." 

Competence -- Know your job inside and out, and perform those duties to the best of your ability despite the inspection scenario or the inspector's glare. 

Responsiveness -- Show that "sense of urgency" during every waking moment; lean forward in those starting blocks and then realistically propel yourself into every activity. 

Attitude -- Display a positive attitude, recognize that enthusiasm is contagious and that problems always arise in the fog of war and can be overcome. 

Readiness -- Ensure your training and mobility requirements are current and the paperwork and processes in your work section are in perfect order. 

Aggressiveness -- React authoritatively with Ability to Survive and Operate skills in attack scenarios and with Self-Aid and Buddy Care in medical emergencies. Effectively continue mission essential activities in all Force Protection levels and treat inspections and exercises as the real thing. 

Appearance -- Look people in the eye, pop that sharp salute and exceed those standards for uniform, boots and hair. 

Safety -- Approach duties with a safety-oriented mindset, know when not to press forward on actions because they're unsafe, and apply operational risk management techniques to accomplish the mission. 

Leadership -- Lead by words and actions, formally and informally by motivating, communicating and setting a positive example. 

Followership -- Follow taskings and orders quickly and effectively, employ teambuilding skills, and always keep the objective in sight. 

Pride -- Visibly exude pride in yourself, your unit, your mission and Vance AFB -- looking good, feeling good, being a winner. 

If you scan through those 10 items again, you'll notice those attributes should not only shine for the IG's visit, but are integral to the fabric of our Air Force culture as well. Clearly, they apply far beyond inspections as the foundation of normal ops every day of the year. 

Channel your apprehension and fear toward productivity, positive thinking and action. When the inspection starts, grab that inspector by the collar and say, "Follow me -- I want to show off exactly why Vance AFB and our people are outstanding!"