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Thread: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

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    ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
    Posted : Monday Apr 26, 2010 9:00:35 EDT

    Get ready for more inspections and less time to prepare. Stung by inspection failures that have called attention to deficiencies in the way the Air Force has handled its nuclear weapons, major commands are turning to surprise operational readiness inspections and more frequent inspections as a way to keep airmen focused and war-ready.

    The result: more inspections in 2009 and the highest number of “unsatisfactory” operational readiness grades in a decade.

    The operational readiness inspections, conducted by a team of up to 100 people from a major command’s inspector general’s office, measure how prepared a wing or unit is to go to war. The weeklong undertakings look at all war-fighting functions — from personnel paperwork to how many aircraft take off on schedule.

    Three of the Air Force’s 10 major commands have either accelerated their inspection schedules or added “no-notice” inspections — with 72 hours’ notice instead of up to 12 months, the time airmen used to have to prepare.

    Inspectors general say they are not grading tougher, even though more units are getting lower scores. But in 2009, inspectors at Air Combat Command handed down three “unsatisfactory” grades — the lowest of five possible grades. Inspectors had given just four “unsatisfactory” grades throughout the Air Force in the previous 10 years.

    The ACC inspector general’s office declined interview requests but acknowledged in a statement that ORI standards have tightened.

    “Over the last decade, we have worked to make inspection criteria better focused and representative of wartime capability,” ACC officials said in the statement.

    Across the Air Force, the number of inspections is up 17 percent, from 47 in 2008 to 55 in 2009. As in most years, only one wing in 2009 earned the top grade of “outstanding.”

    Stepping it up
    Most airmen know the drill: Wings and some smaller units with combat missions must go through a complete ORI at least once every 60 months.

    The long planning window means wing commanders and airmen have a good idea when to expect the next inspection and can set up practice drills to prepare. Generally, inspection dates are set about a year in advance to take into account a wing’s deployment schedule.

    For wing and squadron leadership, ORI outcomes figure into promotion and command selections. For rank-and-file airmen, an evaluation bullet point noting a high score helps earn career-advancing assignments.

    Conducting the inspections more often and with short notice is supposed to keep airmen — and their commanders — from getting complacent, but it does not reflect an Air Force-wide policy shift, inspectors general say.

    Each major command can decide how frequently its wings and units are inspected, and the three that have opted to make changes — Pacific Air Forces, Space Command, and Air Education and Training Command — did so on their own.

    No notice
    At Air Force Space Command, airmen were put through the paces of the first no-notice inspection in March. With just 72 hours’ warning, Space Command inspectors arrived at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., to check the 460th Space Wing. The wing had been expecting just a unit compliance inspection, a check focused on making sure paperwork is in order, not a review of the wing’s combat capabilities.

    The wing’s previous ORI was in April 2008, so another inspection wasn’t required until 2013. The wing passed the ORI, scoring a “satisfactory.”

    The surprise inspection was ordered by Space Command boss Gen. Bob Kehler, who wanted to see if his airmen could perform well on the fly rather than after months of preparation, said Col. Scott Gilson, the inspector general for Space Command.

    “No notice has always been an option for us,” Gilson said. “It has not been historically used.”

    Space Command, which oversaw missile wings that handle some of the military’s nuclear warheads until Global Strike Command took the role in December, is no stranger to surprise inspections.

    They were introduced there in 2008 to add teeth to nuclear surety inspections, after six cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were flown on a B-52 without anyone realizing it until later. Leaders were hard-pressed to explain how the units involved had passed recent inspections. A review concluded that giving wings six months’ notice led to complacency once the inspections were over.

    The push for no-notice checks forced airmen to make nuclear rules a year-round concern, although some nuclear wings outside of Space Command have recently failed their nuclear surety inspections. Kehler has seen the benefit of no-notice inspections at Space Command and decided to expand the idea to the entire command, Gilson said.

    Following suit
    This year, Air Education and Training Command increased the frequency of major inspections of its wings, said command Inspector General Col. Monty Brock.

    Because AETC wings do not have operational combat missions, AETC conducts unit compliance inspections instead of ORIs. The wings’ flying operations and combat readiness of units that are not involved in training, such as security forces squadrons, are evaluated with smaller-scale reviews.

    Instead of conducting inspections every three years, AETC commander Gen. Stephen Lorenz accelerated the schedule to every two years.

    “He emphasized, ‘I want a compliance culture in this command,’ “ Brock said.

    Lorenz may be taking a cue from the Air Force’s top uniformed leader, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, who has urged airmen to comply with standards since he took the job in 2008.

    “We collectively need to back a little bit towards something called compliance,” Schwartz told airmen during a 2008 visit to Iraq. “We must, as an Air Force ... do the right thing and do the right thing right. That’s as simple as it gets.”
    Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    Yea guess I am trying to be like VFFSGT

    I am surprised I did not see a thread about this news story.

    I did not see in the article that the "No Notice" inspections involved deploying the all, some, none of the wings, (Space & AETC have no need to deploy for ORI, not that ANY wings need to deploy for an ORI).

    Anyone know before I comment on the "future" of ORI's; is deploying to "another" location part of the inspection?

    Sadly, once I comment, I might be found out because I have been open, in public, in front of Sr. Leadership what I think about the "running" of ORI's.
    Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

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    DHarris75
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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    Our wing does not deploy - but units on the base (such as mine) do deploy to simulated "bases" around the base or area.

    I am all for no notice inspections because the notice ones take up a whole year. We spend so much time "prepping" for them. We are not suppose to "train" for the PT test...yet we 'train" to do well on an ORI. We are getting ready for one and we have gone through 4 OREs since Oct - with 2 more before our ORI in the summer. So 10 months getting ready for an ORI...many many hours involved - one in which we should be ready at a moments notice (something else I was just told about PT...should be able to test at a moments notice). What is good for the gander is good for the goose.

    At least this way we'll have to train consistently - but not overloading over a short period of time.

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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    Quote Originally Posted by RingLeader View Post
    Yea guess I am trying to be like VFFSGT
    You know you like it! :P

    Quote Originally Posted by DHarris75 View Post
    Our wing does not deploy - but units on the base (such as mine) do deploy to simulated "bases" around the base or area.

    I am all for no notice inspections because the notice ones take up a whole year. We spend so much time "prepping" for them. We are not suppose to "train" for the PT test...yet we 'train" to do well on an ORI. We are getting ready for one and we have gone through 4 OREs since Oct - with 2 more before our ORI in the summer. So 10 months getting ready for an ORI...many many hours involved - one in which we should be ready at a moments notice (something else I was just told about PT...should be able to test at a moments notice). What is good for the gander is good for the goose.

    At least this way we'll have to train consistently - but not overloading over a short period of time.
    I will be thrilled if this actually happens, but I am not holding my breath... I seem to recall this was supposedly going to happen once before and never did... Like you said, the notice ORI's take up everyone's time for up to and sometimes over a year and people get overbearing and dumb about it too. It was so bad here during one, we couldn't even buy stuff we needed for reality because all of the money was being spent on stupid crap to "look good" for the inspection. Just one example, I had to completely redo the files in an office because an officer wanted all new file folders so they looked pretty. Then they didn't even buy the right folders or through the required JWOD source but we still had to use them.

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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    Quote Originally Posted by DHarris75 View Post
    Our wing does not deploy - but units on the base (such as mine) do deploy to simulated "bases" around the base or area.

    I am all for no notice inspections because the notice ones take up a whole year. We spend so much time "prepping" for them. We are not suppose to "train" for the PT test...yet we 'train" to do well on an ORI. We are getting ready for one and we have gone through 4 OREs since Oct - with 2 more before our ORI in the summer. So 10 months getting ready for an ORI...many many hours involved - one in which we should be ready at a moments notice (something else I was just told about PT...should be able to test at a moments notice). What is good for the gander is good for the goose.

    At least this way we'll have to train consistently - but not overloading over a short period of time.
    This can be good and bad. If you, as a high speed Airman, fail your PT test, do you really think our enemies take notice? What about when we fail an ORI? We need to be extremely careful here.

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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    72 Hours notice is not "No-notice". No-notice is an ORI that is initiated before the Wing King knows it.

    ORIs/NSIs should be true no-notice once within 36 months with MAJCOM staff assistance within every 24 months.

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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    Quote Originally Posted by DHarris75 View Post
    Our wing does not deploy - but units on the base (such as mine) do deploy to simulated "bases" around the base or area.

    I am all for no notice inspections because the notice ones take up a whole year. We spend so much time "prepping" for them. We are not suppose to "train" for the PT test...yet we 'train" to do well on an ORI. We are getting ready for one and we have gone through 4 OREs since Oct - with 2 more before our ORI in the summer. So 10 months getting ready for an ORI...many many hours involved - one in which we should be ready at a moments notice (something else I was just told about PT...should be able to test at a moments notice). What is good for the gander is good for the goose.

    At least this way we'll have to train consistently - but not overloading over a short period of time.
    If there is no deployment outside of the base, it is a “true” short notice inspection (72 hours with NO, psst Wing King, get ready!) I am SOOOO in favorite of this way.

    Spending close to a year to prepare is SUCH a waste of time and money. The money we are talking about is MILLIONS per base, per inspection. We do NOT have that type of money. Also, more important a “deployed ORI” is a waste and IMHO abuse of government funds. We do the “real thing” every time we go to the AOR.

    I am sooo against the “old” way of ORI’s, unrealistic and waste. If you want to test airman’s rapid deployment, interment, and redeployment skills, you can do all of this at your home base. No one leaves, tent city is set-up, your AOR is set, etc.,

    What inspectors are looking for is how quick and accurate can you get out off base, how quick can you get your base up and running, accurate counts and location of deployed personal, Command and Control (and even C4) from the young airman all the way up to the Wing King, how quick can you get into your MOPP gear and perform, etc, how well do you handle stress and pressure, etc, than getting out of dodge/redeployment, keeping track again accurate count of wing members, SAFETY, proper airplane configs (include deployment), etc.

    All of this can be accomplished at home station. PLUS, give a pretty accurate idea if a wing is ready to deploy. Because doing a “real” deployment to the AOR does not give a good picture of a wing readiness. BIGGEST you have ever seen!

    If this is the future of ORI’s than our AF is looking better and getting smarter.

    I see no purpose deploying to the Gulf or up in Bum F Egypt in North WI or Tyndal, etc. when you have a base to do it on.

    If you disagree with on base ORI’s please tell me why? And if you are from one of the ORI deployment sites please be honest and tell us.
    Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    I would love no notice inspects but it will never happen, too many wing kings will get fired, and we cant let that happen

    I think ORI's are a waste of time anyway, Intodays environment with as many folsk who are deployed for real and the amount of time, it isnt necessary. A very small group of true AEF folsk perhap may need it. but with so many on 1:1 1:2 i find it a waste of time

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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    Back in the 80's in USAFE/PACAF/Korea all Combat Wings played war 1 week every month and when the ORI showed up it was old hat and no problems complying. If the USAF goes back to that mindset it will be easier for the troops since repitition is the key to be successful instead of once every 2 years. The standard should be ready to go to war and perform the mission when you get the call, not lets get past this ORI so I can get to my new assignment. My old wing the 552 ACW just failed and barely passed a retake recently which even though I am retired I found effing embarressing. I bet the Wing CC is so proud being the first 552 ACW WingCC to fail a ORI in history. Exercising monthly is like ground hog day, you get sick of it but everybody knows the drill which in the long run you can index a exercise in 3 days instead of all week since all objectives were met and passed.

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    Re: ORIs get tougher, and more frequent

    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt HULK View Post
    I would love no notice inspects but it will never happen, too many wing kings will get fired, and we cant let that happen
    pretty much sums up my thoughts and the truth
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