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IG's support of Wing resilience

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. William Deeb
  • 90th Missile Wing inspector general
Resilience is not a term commonly associated with the installation inspectors general, but I say it definitely should be. Resilience is typically defined as the ability to quickly recover from setbacks, and setbacks can simply be defined as unresolved and/or unaddressed discrepancies. By definition, resilience implies a focus on an individual's situation or circumstances, but that's limiting the scope of resilience to the macro level. Now, we're all probably familiar with the many high-quality resiliency classes offered to individuals by various support agencies throughout the Air Force, and I believe that support network is absolutely awesome!

But I ask, "What about resiliency at the macro level?" That's right, "What about the, resilience of the wing and the effect that degree of resilience has on the wing's ability to accomplish its mission?" Resilience shouldn't be limited to the individual/micro level. As stated earlier, resilience is defined as "The ability to quickly recover from setbacks;" therefore, wing resilience is the wing's ability to quickly recover from setbacks. I believe wing resilience is one of the most vital elements of mission success. Just as an individual can experience setbacks in life, a wing has its own unique array of setback potentials. The definition of setback doesn't change from the micro to the macro level. Setbacks are still simply defined as unresolved and/or unaddressed discrepancies. But be careful not to underestimate the impact of this seemingly insignificant term setback. Setbacks are the mortal enemy of wing resilience and, likewise, mission success. In reference to wing resilience, setbacks are categorized as equipment failures, regulatory or procedural violations or actual or perceived personal concerns that cause anxiety and distract individuals from their job. It really doesn't matter what the setback is; the end result of a setback is the same: an adverse effect on the mission, the manpower, their families or any combination the three.

So is there a correlation between the Installation IG and wing resilience? To start with, let's look at the purpose of the Installation IG. The fundamental role of the Installation IG is to be the eyes and ears of the Wing Commander, to alert and inform the commander of matters indicative to systematic, morale and other matters that might impede the efficiency and effectiveness of the mission. So the role of the IG is to identify setbacks that might impede the success of the mission. You could otherwise state that the fundamental role of Installation IG is to help the wing commander uphold the resilience of the wing, the mission and its people in an effort to promote mission success. So now you see there is a clear and distinct connection between the IG and wing resilience.

So now how does the Installation IG support wing resilience? First of all, we have to agree on a few assumptions: a wing cannot efficiently and effectively meet its mission without efficient and effective equipment, procedures and manpower, unless equipment is properly maintained and operated it can't stay efficient and effective for very long. Unless proper procedures are upheld and adhered to, a wing cannot meet its mission and unless personal concerns and distractions are addressed and resolved, people, just like equipment, will not remain efficient and effective for very long.

Now keeping these common assumptions in mind, let's look at how the IG office is organized. The IG performs two vital functions: complaints resolution and inspections.

It's easy to understand how the inspections role of the IG promotes wing resilience. Periodic inspections validate our adherence to regulations that govern how we maintain and operate our equipment and ensure we perform our duties in accordance with those regulations designed to ensure mission success. If resilience is the ability to quickly recover from setbacks and setbacks are considered equipment failures, regulatory or procedural violations or personal concerns, then IG's inspection function provides wing resilience by identifying any setbacks in the way we maintain and operate our equipment and perform our duties and ensures we correct those setbacks in a timely manner. The inspection function helps identify and resolve any setbacks. It may sound a little cliché, but you could say setbacks hinder wing resilience while inspections promote wing resilience by identifying and correcting setbacks.

Now let's look at how complaints resolution helps provide wing resilience. Complaints resolution supports wing resilience in a more intangible way than inspections. It primarily deals with the third category of setbacks, which is actual or perceived personal concerns that cause anxiety and distracts an individual from their job. It doesn't matter if the concern is actual or perceived; if it causes anxiety and distracts individuals from their jobs, it's a hindrance to wing resilience and must be addressed and resolved. Remember, the end result of a setback regardless of its category is the same: adverse effect on the mission, manpower, their families or any combination of the three. Complaints resolution will take whatever avenues necessary to help people resolve their personal concerns in a just and lawful manner, so they can quickly return to being positive and productive contributors to the mission.

Hopefully the resolution we provide will be favorable to the individual, but in some cases individuals have to accept the fact that they are being held accountable for their actions and they must face the consequences that go along with those actions. However, in almost all cases we're able to provide some type of daylight at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it's necessary to refer the individual to an organization that can provide them the assistance they need. Complaints resolution isn't just our title, it's also our goal. We strive to resolve all personal concerns that come into our office and resolution of individuals' personal concerns, which are also setbacks, is a win-win situation for the individuals, their families and wing resilience.

So next time you think of the IG, hopefully you'll remember this article. Hopefully our contribution to wing resilience will come to mind and you'll cast out those antiquated associations with the IG and black hats with skull and crossbones embroidery or the IG and a pirates flag. According to AFI 90-301, we gave up our black hats and pirate's flag back in 1993 and visiting the IG is no longer taboo.