WIT, what? A look inside the Wing Inspection Team
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- As each Samurai Readiness Inspection comes to a close, Yokota's Airmen breathe a sigh of relief as rigorous 12-hour shifts and high-intensity mission conditions scale back to regular day-to-day operations.
For the members of the Wing Inspection Team however, there are still challenges that must be overcome. After months of preparation and weeks of inspection, the WIT compile data gathered by more than 130 inspectors into a report that will be seen by Air Force leadership. The report details Yokota's strengths, weakness and plans for improvement, which the WIT members will use to bring their shops into compliance with Air Force Instructions.
The Air Force Inspection System, which includes the WIT, is a new construct that aims to meet the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force's vision for a comprehensive system of inspections. The SECAF and CSAF view inspections as a means to improve units throughout the Air Force.
"To the WIT, an inspection is like a big Thanksgiving dinner," said Tech. Sgt. Cristian Martinez, 374th Airlift Wing WIT manager. "Weeks of planning and preparation lead up to a much-anticipated 20-minute meal, after which the team still has to clean the kitchen."
Members of the WIT are nominated by their group commander as subject matter experts in their field and personnel of the highest professional and moral standards. They also undergo over-the-shoulder training from a certified wing inspector and Inspector General Evaluation Management System training, where they learn the process for writing the inspection reports.
"The future success of the WIT relies heavily upon the continued support of the commanders in the 374 AW and their nomination of high-caliber personnel to our team," Martinez said. "Their hard work is the backbone of our program and the Commander's Inspection Program would be unable to function without that support."
The WIT develops exercises using guidance from the Inspections Directorate to review the wing mission, vision and priorities, along with federal guidance and instructions at every level from the squadron to the Department of Defense. Detail planning for exercises begins about two months in advance with varying numbers of personnel and resources depending on the inspection objectives.
The Inspector General for Investigations shapes the exercise scenario around objectives and inputs from unit commanders while relying on the expertise of WIT members to build realistic and relevant scenarios and injects. Planning the details of these scenarios involves extensive coordination with multiple base agencies as well as weekly and sometimes daily meetings with the WIT.
"The WIT works as an extension of the wing commander, who relies on critical and honest self-assessment of each unit's performance," said Lt. Col. Eric Sutton, 374 AW inspector general. "Ultimately, our team is charged with helping him reduce the risk of undetected non-compliance."
In order to be successful the WIT requires teamwork and participation from everyone on base according to Master Sgt. Robert Warminsky, 374 AW WIT member.
"These inspections allow us to see Yokota's best practices which can be shared across the wing, improving it as a whole," Warminsky said. "Professionals from every directorate working together to accomplish the mission is what makes the WIT successful."