MICT explained ... again

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Stephen P. Mueller
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I have often said that MICT (Management Internal Control Toolkit) is the nervous system of the Air Force Inspection System. Yet, I am getting feedback that it is also the most misunderstood component of the inspection system. Clearly, it is the area in which we lag in the most when it comes to fully implementing the inspection system. For these reasons, we are redoubling our efforts and making advancements in MICT our "main effort." When it comes to MICT, our challenges boil down to the following three areas:
  1. Really understanding the purpose and intent of MICT
  2. Getting the content of the checklists correct
  3. Optimizing the functionality of the toolkit
Allow me to address each of these separately.

The purpose of MICT is twofold. First, it provides us an Air Force (AF)-wide, standardized self-assessment program that brings visibility of base level assessments to ALL levels of the AF, enabling "data-based" decisions. We have had "self-assessment" programs for as long as I can remember. What's different with today's self-assessment program is that it is no longer built on home grown, individual continuity books. It is now built on Air Force Instructions (AFI), and it is standardized across the AF. MICT should focus on the most important elements of a program or those items with the greatest risk to mission and people if not complied with, NOT every one of the 60,000 plus AF compliance items! Second, MICT is a communications tool where Airmen communicate "RISK OF NON­ COMPLIANCE" to the owner of that risk-the wing commander. Additionally, for the first time in our history, we have the ability for Airmen who accomplish the mission to give direct feedback to the functional authority on the quality and content of the instructions that guide their day-to-day activities.

I sometimes wonder if our naming convention has miscommunicated the intent. MICT is made up of SACs (Self-Assessment Checklists). Perhaps the better title would be "Self­ Assessment Communicator. "The AF is a very checklist-oriented organization, and when we use that term, many believe we are intending for Airmen to open and run MICT as part of their daily job duties, or at least run them at some form of periodicity. That really is not our intent. We want Airmen to know their SACs as part of their job knowledge . Remember, SACs are supposed to be those critical items in your functional area, and if not accomplished by the instructions, create a high risk to mission failure or damage to people and resources. Airmen SHOULD know these items as part of knowing their jobs. What we ask is for Airmen to "know their job , do their job and tell us when they can't do their job!" Telling us when they can't do their job is turning MICT SACs from green to red. By doing so, Airmen are communicating to their leadership chain the risk to mission by their inability to accomplish the task as required by AFI. It is then up to the leadership chain to either accept the risk or address the root cause for the non-compliance.

The second challenge is getting the content of MICT correct. This is our biggest risk to full implementation. Our SACs are incomplete, over & under detailed, and have too many "N/As" in execution. From the AF-level we are vigorously addressing this issue with the functional authorities . Getting this corrected is both an education effort and a manpower issue. With 1,200+ AFIs and close to 60,000+ compliance items, this is a major project to correct. This area is also where I need your help from the field. Your active voice communicating with your wing leaders and functional authorities will help identify the SACs in need of the most work and the ideas on how they should be adjusted. If you have written a "local SAC" due to lack of an AF SAC, forward that input to your functional leader so they can incorporate it AF-wide. When you find SACs that cover every single compliance item regardless of risk to mission without compliance, give feedback to those functional owners. MICT is a great vehicle for this feedback. If your functional authority isn't listening or responding, drop us a line!

The third challenge is with the information technology itself. MICT, like any IT system, requires modifications to optimize its functionality. The Air Force Inspection Agency manages the MICT program and has a deliberate plan to continually improve the system. For those of you who have used MICT for over two years you can attest that we have come a long way in improving the agility and functionality of MICT. However, we still have a ways to go, as there are many more users, and added content. We continue to discover areas for improvement and are dedicated to working these issues based on enterprise-wide priorities and financial limitations. I realize that our Airmen in the field are carrying the brunt of the workload on MICT and promise this will improve with time. The goal is for Airmen to open MICT and have the appropriate SACs automatically loaded for their duty section, with a minimal number of N/As. This really is a case where more use, means more feedback , which means better use.

I continue to hear "good news" stories from across the AF where this inspection system is reaping the benefits of aligning mission readiness with inspection readiness. It will only get better as the system matures. A special shout out to AFMC as the first Major Command to achieve Pad 13-01 implementation objectives--thanks for your great effort.

Once again, this issue of TIG Brief is chock full of great articles. Thanks to all the contributors. We really do appreciate your feedback and the cross flow that results from reading these articles. Many thanks, keep up the great work!