169th IS receives "Excellent" rating in AF IG inspection

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jonathan Boyd
  • 151 ARW/PA
The Utah Air National Guard's 169th Intelligence Squadron recently completed an Air Force Inspector General inspection resulting in an overall grade of EXCELLENT, the highest grade of any Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency unit in the past year.
These inspections are used to measure a unit's compliance with published directives along with its ability to conduct its assigned mission.

"The members of the 169th Intelligence Squadron are very capable Airmen, and they worked hard to prepare for these inspections; it's great to see that capability and their hard work recognized and rewarded with these high marks", said Lt. Col. Jonathan Boyd, the unit's commander.

The 169th Intelligence Squadron operates a versatile Intelligence an d Surveillance system that can be loaded aboard a C-130 aircraft and provides a broad-spectrum suite of sensors and capabilities that are unequaled by any other current or projected ISR system in the USAF inventory. This equipment and technology is utilized by some of the most highly-trained and experienced linguists and personnel in the Air Force.

The mission of the squadron is to provide both manned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability along with ground intelligence capability, unique among military units. The intelligence that they have provided has directly supported combat operations and saved lives on the battlefield.

Approximately every 3 years, active duty Air Force Inspector General (IG) teams travel to units to review all of the unit's programs and mission processes. This inspection is referred to as a Unit Compliance Inspection (UCI) and is essentially the unit's report card on how well the unit is accomplishing its responsibilities. For many years the Air Force used a five-tier rating system to grade units. For a time the Air Force switched to a pass/fail grading system but returned to the 5-tier system a year ago. Most units are graded as "Satisfactory" with a few units in the "Marginal" category. Very rarely are any units graded "Unsatisfactory", "Excellent", or "Outstanding".

More recently, in order to minimize interruption to the inspected units, the IG consolidated with the UCI two other major required inspections, the Logistics Compliance Assessment Program Evaluation and the Intelligence Standards/Evaluations Inspection. These other inspections measure additional critical mission processes and ensure the unit is following established rules and standards. The combination of these three inspections (UCI/ISEV/LCAP) is referred to as a Combined Unit Inspection (CUI) and the 169th was the first to experience this combined approach. Even with the increased pressure of three simultaneous inspections, the unit performed exceptionally well across the spectrum.

For these inspections, a team of 24 inspectors converged on the 169th in February for three days of scrutiny, grading various capabilities and compliance in Operations, Logistics and Training, Mission Support, Safety and Security.

A lot of hard work and preparation led up to the successful inspection. The IG recognized eight individual superior performers and three teams, as well as three outstanding individuals who were given recognition coins by the IG team.

"Utahans should be proud of this accomplishment. It is truly amazing the bargain that Utah Air Guardsmen provide to the nation at a fraction of the cost to the taxpayer, while meeting and even exceeding the operational capability and standards of the active duty Air Force", said Brig. General David Fountain, Utah's Assistant Adjutant General for Air, adding that the unit's accomplishments should be shared by the state.

Despite their stellar inspection performance and the tremendous capability the unit provides at a fraction of the active duty cost, the primary mission system of the 169th is slated to be eliminated in the current round of military budget cuts and the unit is to be re-missioned.