The establishment of a centralized team of nuclear inspectors, known as the Air Force NSI Core Team, is another critical milestone as Air Force officials continue ensuring unwavering standards of perfection and precision across the nuclear enterprise.
The core team concept of operations is to augment major command inspector general-led NSIs.
“The purpose of the core team is to provide MAJCOM/IG teams a tailored, dedicated group of highly skilled, very proficient nuclear inspectors whose primary mission is to augment 10 to 14 NSIs per year across all nuclear MAJCOMs. The desired effect is to help ensure exacting nuclear standards are applied consistently and effectively across the Air Force,” said Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean, the deputy inspector general of the Air Force. “An assignment to the core team will take subject matter experts from the field, train and certify them as nuclear inspectors and grow their experience across the Air Force nuclear enterprise.”
“This team merges with the MAJCOM/IG team to form a single inspection unit, under the direction of the MAJCOM/IG team chief, while AFIA provides the deputy team chief.” said Lt. Col. Phillip Layman of the AFIA Inspection and Oversight Directorate. “The MAJCOM/IG team chief retains the authority as the on-site director and is responsible for determining the inspection grade and completing the inspection report to the MAJCOM commander.”
After an initial operating capability of four Airmen, the core team will eventually grow to 20 Airmen as the filling of key nuclear billets across the Air Force allows.
“New core team inspectors are selected based on past nuclear career experience and performance,” Colonel Layman said. “They will complete SAF/IG inspector training and the AFIA Nuclear Surety Inspector’s Course before augmenting an NSI.”
The Nuclear Surety Inspector’s Course, also recently established by AFIA to help reinvigorate the nuclear enterprise, standardizes all training and certification of Air Force NSI inspectors.
“The course will not only improve the standardization of NSIs, but it will also elevate the inspector experience and contribute to NSI lessons learned and trend analysis processes,” said George Parrott, the AFIA/IO deputy director.
Additionally, core team members will support the semi-annual NSI process review, the NSI inspector training and certification program, as well as applicable conferences and meetings held through the nuclear enterprise.
“AFIA is proud to be gaining this new mission and we are the right organization to provide the standardization support to the MAJCOMs since we see all of the NSIs,” said Col. H.B. Brual, the AFIA commander. “Establishing a core team of inspectors is a significant step toward meeting the chief of staff of the Air Force’s No. 1 priority.”
The idea was conceived in the fall of 2008. In October, the Air Force Nuclear Task Force wrote in its roadmap, “Reinvigorating the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise,” the recommendation of creating a central core team of NSI inspectors. The Nuclear Oversight Board validated that recommendation in December and Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley approved it in March.
The first core team augmentation of a MAJCOM NSI is scheduled for the end of July 2009.