WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
Each winter, the 14th Intelligence Squadron has an annual tradition of reviewing and updating goals for the calendar year. Led by Lt. Col. Ben Smallwood, 14 IS commander, the squadron carried out this tradition once again in January 2019 and added an entirely new goal: to execute one official Continuous Process Improvement event that year.
The intent was to identify an internal process that was within their purview and to evaluate and improve it, yielding CPI experience for squadron practitioners and an improved process for the squadron.
The cadre of Green Belt trained personnel within the squadron took time to solicit feedback from Airmen before selecting the self-assessment process in May 2019. The team then selected Chief Master Sgt. Franklin to facilitate, Senior Master Sgt. Uzeta to co-facilitate, and Staff Sgt. Logsdon to assist and observe the event.
Green Belt is part of the Air Force Continuous Improvement Process, which increases operational capabilities while reducing associated costs by applying proven techniques to all processes associated with fulfilling the Air Force mission.
Since all three members had received Green Belt training previously, this would count as the next step for each in the ‘watch one, help one, do one’ construct.
The facilitators first located a Black Belt to oversee the event. Through former 14 IS Commander Dianne Hickey, they contacted and solicited assistance from National Air and Space Intel Center Process Officer Mike Steele, a certified Air Force CPI Black Belt.
Though he was under no obligation to do so, Steele took on mentorship and oversight of the event out of sheer desire to proliferate CPI culture across the base. He volunteered his time to conduct regular reviews with Franklin and gave up a weekend to attend a unit training assembly to observe the team portion of the event.
The key component of any event which yields these results is the team assembled to conduct root cause analysis and develop countermeasures. The facilitators then assembled a team from amongst the squadron members with diverse relationships to the self-assessment process.
Master Sgts. McPheron and Washington and Tech. Sgt. Jennings brought full-time experience in both assessment and validation, and Tech. Sgt. Quiles and Senior Airman Hendrix brought a traditional reservist perspective and experience in conducting assessments.
Senior Airman Mynsberge was selected for the team as a member who had no previous involvement in self-assessments and was able to provide an unbiased perspective on the process.
It is their hard work and critical thinking that made this event a success.
“Thanks to the hard work of the CPI team and the tireless efforts of Senior Master Sgt. Uzeta and Staff Sgt. Logsdon, Mr. Steele was able to credit this as a certifying event,” said Lt Col Smallwood. There is additional significance in that Chief Master Sgt. Franklin became the first 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing member certified as an AF CPI Green Belt through an internal event. Senior Master Sgt. Uzeta and Staff Sgt. Logsdon moved one step closer to their certification as well. The squadron has not only improved a process, but has demonstrated the value of a CPI-focused culture. The 14th Intelligence Squadron plans to continue to improve its processes, and I look forward to many successes in our future!” Lt. Col. Smallwood added.