AFIS Progress Being Made

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Norton
  • EADS
EADS is twelve months from completing our first Unit Effectiveness Inspection cycle under the new Air Force Inspection System (AFIS). We are making good progress in implementing AFIS but we have quite a ways to go. Your continued efforts are critical.

A major element of AFIS is decentralizing decision making and empowering Airmen and their commanders. Under AFIS, wing commanders report annually on their unit effectiveness directly to MAJCOM commanders and are encouraged to highlight the challenges they face. In last year's report, the emphasis was on the impact of medical requirements for non-WD 1C5s on our mission accomplishment. This year, a key focus is the need for dedicated formal training for Battle Control Centers such as EADS. Here are some excerpts for your situational awareness:

· Highly professional EADS Airmen perform their 24/7 mission effectively and with distinction.  However, establishing a dedicated, separate formal training unit (FTU) capability at EADS will increase the quality of initial and crew readiness training and will reduce the mission risk that results from conducting crew training while executing a busy, real world mission. This will ultimately reduce risk in our no-fail mission.

· EADS crew availability improved following the modification of aerospace medical standards for enlisted C2 battle management Airmen. Nevertheless, the lack of on-site aerospace medical support creates challenges in filling the 24/7 crew schedule. Along with limited medical resources, we operate with only 83 percent of the full-time manpower required to conduct the deployed-in-place mission.  That figure does not account for the Formal Training Unit (FTU) mission that we conduct 'out-of-hide' on our operations floor due to lack of an FTU for the Battle Control Center mission.

· Training solutions focus on restoring a separate BCC formal training function to improve and standardize crew and maintenance training. This initiative will also reduce the potential for distraction and error that results from Initial Qualification Training (IQT) occurring simultaneously with operational mission execution on the same C2 system. EADS manning does not include a cadre of FTU instructors; IQT students and instructors are assigned to and train with EADS operations crews. Initial qualification training and readiness training are frequently disrupted or cancelled due to real world air defense requirements.

· The EADS Strategic Planning Council has been meeting for about a year, producing a new Vision Statement, Mission Statement and Commander Priorities as well as conducting unit climate interviews. Building on the recent addition of a group and two squadrons, many Sector authorities have been delegated to the lowest commander in the chain to streamline processes and encourage innovation. A new Unit Communication Plan implements multiple initiatives to improve information flow, feedback and innovation within the unit. Locally-developed professional development courses for NCOs and SNCOs reinforce the foundations of leadership and mentorship. These efforts are showing results as empowered Airmen are generating more 'grass roots' improvements and initiatives.

· EADS Airmen display tremendous commitment to the tasks of detecting and defeating the next air attack on America. They consistently innovate to meet the challenge of our 24/7, no-fail mission despite significant resource shortfalls. The integration of advanced sensors and establishment of an in-house formal training capability will help ensure continued mission success.

In the current budget environment, getting any additional manpower can be a long shot but this initiative appears to be getting some traction. Regardless of the outcome, I'm completely confident that you will uphold EADS' reputation for mission excellence and honor the sacred trust to defend this great nation. Doing so is the best way for us to honor Col. Dewey's memory.