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Preparing for the unexpected

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. James Fuller
  • 90th Missile Wing Plans and Programs
Throughout the year, the Wing Plans and Programs office at F. E. Warren oversees the preparation of the wing for local and major command inspections. Whether it is a Nuclear Surety Inspection, launch facility recapture, Consolidated Unit Inspection, or an active-shooter scenario, we go to great lengths to prepare ourselves for the unexpected.

For most, these exercises are monotonous and, in some cases, unrealistic. However, those who design and plan the scenarios for each exercise work closely with subject matter experts across the wing to ensure exercises are realistic and in compliance with Air Force Instructions.

Those who run through the widgets and are tested on the particular scenarios sometimes express "could this really happen?" In most cases, exercises in not only the Air Force, but across armed forces, are based on actual incidents which have happened in the past.

With each exercise, we learn the performance of the wing from the input received from the Wing Exercise Evaluation Team leads in their after action reports. These reports break down the necessary information needed for our EET members to ensure all units are evaluated appropriately.

Without these reports, teams would be uncertain of compliance with standards, and if our wing is primed for an incident or accident.

Many may recall the shooting which took place in November of 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas. On that day, U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old psychiatrist, killed 13 and wounded 29, in what was considered one of worst shootings to take place on a military installation. This, of course, is not the first time a shooting has taken place on a military installation. There have been six other instances of active shooters on military installations: Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., and Moody Air Force Base, Ga., as well as Fort Bragg, N.C. and Fort Dix, N.J.

Leadership takes these types of incidents seriously, and participants in local exercises should take them seriously too. The events are simulated to reenact events such as those at Fort Hood. The purpose for all exercises is to prepare us not only for the unexpected, but also for inspections with which Headquarters Air Force expects us to comply.

With the New Year, there will be changes in the way inspections are conducted across the Air Force as a whole. The new Air Force inspection system considers the "inspection prep" unnecessary and ineffective. The staffing requirements and time used preparing for large teams to come in and inspect will now be transferred to the wing commander's EET.

The change will allow the wing to focus on the mission each day. According to HAF, the new system will allow commanders to inspect their "unit's ability to execute the mission, manage resources, lead people and performance."

The new system will enable us to perform more self-assessments rather than have a large group come through and inspect, and will allow the commander to be more mission focused than inspection ready, as stated by HAF.

In the Wing Plans and Programs office, we strive to make each scenario as realistic as possible so that each EET lead can test their individual units in performance of checklist and response to unexpected actions. As these new changes are implemented, we can assure you that your leadership is informed of the changes, and we will strive to make this a seamless process.