New SOP helps inspector general advance Mayville’s No. 1 priority
Story by: Melony Gabbert
1ST INF. DIV. POST
One of the top priorities of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general is the Organizational Inspection Program, according to Lt. Col. Jessie Robinson, inspector general.
"As the IG, we are the coordinators for it," Robinson said, adding the IG plans the Organizational Inspection Program, synchronizes it and helps ensure it gets executed.
"The IG is used as a tool to fix ourselves," he said, and also is an extension of the commanding general's eyes, ears, voice and concern. It evaluates, assesses, conducts formal inspections, reports on and follows through on any issues raised in reports.
The 1st Inf. Div. has always had one of the most intense and aggressive inspection programs in the Army, Robinson said, especially when it comes to unit inspections.
"This is generally acknowledged by the Department of the Army's IG, and by the United States Army Forces Command," Robinson said. "We have always been exceptional at what we do. What makes this program so unique is the breadth and depth of what and how we look at things."
The IG office recently developed a new standard operating procedure to meet the commander's intent for the program, according to Robinson.
In the past, units were left to use the information as they see fit, but the current SOP has better follow through and enforcement – the new pieces that give the program teeth, he said.
"The IG (shop) has developed an ever-evolving SOP that now includes accountability," Robinson said. "Gen. (William) Mayville said what he wanted; Gen. (Donald) MacWillie told us how to proceed, and I refined it."
Mayville serves as 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general, and MacWillie is the deputy commanding general for support.
The IG provides a detailed assessment of a unit's systems and provides feedback to the commander, in more than 68 areas with more than 45 inspectors who are subject matter experts from the division, installation and IG's shop. And now, with the newly refined SOP, Robinson said, deficiencies identified through inspections are now consistently monitored to ensure deficiencies have been effectively resolved.
"Commanders are held accountable," Robinson said. "The follow-up briefings are the magic that make it all work. We now have a regimented SOP approved by the (commanding general)."
MacWillie oversees the program, Robinson said, sitting in on briefings and coaching, teaching and mentoring unit commanders.
"He's the hammer," he said.
Twenty working days after the inspection, the battalion commander sits down with MacWillie to detail the current status of any concerns raised through the program's report provided by the IG. Details to have the issues resolved within 45 working days must be detailed. After that time, a final briefing takes place, and the battalion commander is held accountable. Findings are then verified by the IG and provided to the commanding general.
"This system is efficient because the commander understands he is being held accountable," Robinson said.
The unit and the IG's shop partner throughout the process, Robinson said. The IG's shop ensures the unit receives all resources necessary for success, and both understand that success is mutually dependent.
The Organizational Inspection Program allows the commanders, at all levels, to see where they stand within their organization. It also allows the higher command to assist its organizations and to improve readiness, Robinson said.
The IG also uses subject matter experts and makes them available to units to prepare for inspections, build and maintain certain functional systems, like training, logistics, maintenance, operations, force integration and personnel, he said.
The reason all of this is so important is because the commanding general sees the program as the foundation of a good unit, especially in this period of prolonged war, Robinson said.
"We have been in a cycle of training to deploy, deploying and readying to deploy again," he said. "This has honed our warfighting skills. We are great at accomplishing our tactical mission; however, we have tended to forget some of the basics of military discipline."
One example is the accountability of property, Robinson explained. Whether it is a screwdriver or an M-1 tank, total and accurate accountability is a must.
According to Robinson, Mayville believes good units do it all to standard. Units cannot simply focus on taking care of what will cause trouble tomorrow.
The Organizational Inspection Program is the foundation of every unit from which to identify issues and correct deficiencies related to the basic disciplines and more advanced problems, Robinson said, which are universally related to all commands. Furthermore, he said, the commanding general also believes a good program must be integrated into the daily functions of every organization. The philosophy is that, with the foundation fixed, overall Army health is improved. Units are better combat ready, approaching 100 percent.
The new SOP is something Robinson said he would like to see Armywide.
"It definitely takes a team effort," Robinson said. "The scope is too big and too complicated to be addressed without a great and extremely competent staff (that) loves the job and what they do. They have to love helping to improve. I have been blessed with a quality team."