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Inspector General Web Site Shares Information

The Commmunity of Practice Web site allows the Inspector General team to collaborate
with each other not just at the home station but while they are on the road.

By Ron Scharven / Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio, June 19, 2006 – Many have heard the old joke that goes “We’re the IG and we’re here to help.”

Well, the Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command Inspector General is here to help with their brand new Community of Practice Web site.

According to the outgoing IG, U.S. Air Force Col. Henry L. Andrews, Jr., the community allows the IG team to collaborate with each other not just at the home station but while they are on the road.

"It’s a better way to promulgate policy to the field and to allow us to share information, to coordinate new instructions, to keep everybody better informed about the state of the command as the Inspector General is reflecting the policy of the staff at headquarters."

U.S. Air Force Col. Henry L. Andrews, Jr.

“It’s a better way to promulgate policy to the field and to allow us to share information, to coordinate new instructions, to keep everybody better informed about the state of the command as the Inspector General is reflecting the policy of the staff at headquarters,” Andrews said.

“There were many different Web sites out there with different information and since we didn’t own them, it was very cumbersome to update the pages,” explained U.S. Air Force Maj. Bill Bower, command communication information inspector.

“There was a template available to use and we knew what the ‘vision’ was but we had to figure out a way to embody that in the Community of Practice so we would get the information out to the field,” he continued.

Andrews wanted to make it easier to do business with the Inspector General, to provide a single face for all the customers throughout the command and ease of access to information, process links and create a work environment the IG owned and managed that could be adjusted as necessary – one-stop shopping for IG information.

Bower said that it took a couple of months to create the community – design the layout and decide what was going to be put on it.

“Then we spent time educating people in the office on what the Community of Practice was,” the major said. “The hardest part was not creating the work space but getting people in the field and in the IG office to use it properly, but you have to start with the people here first.”

“We put everything (on the Community of Practice) you need to get ready for an inspection,” explained U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Greg Scott, manager, information management and the knowledge owner. “Among the documents on the community are current checklists, findings, IG reports, and the inspection schedule.

There is also an Inspector General message board and key Air Force Materiel Command Inspector General links.

“Anyone can see the Inspector General public page and can request permissions to delve into other areas if needed,” Scott explained. “We do restrict some information to IG members only.”

“Our Community of Practice is also evolving to be our central planning tool for the IG Team to prepare for an inspection,” he noted.    

Another new product from the Inspector General is Crosstell. “Crosstell is a short newsletter emailed to the field to let them know about changes to inspection processes, arrivals and departures from the IG team and new things the IG is doing,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Pete Ames, Unit Compliance Inspection branch chief.

It’s just an organized, simple way to get information to the field he said. It will also be archived on the Community of Practice.

“You have to pull information out of the community but with the Crosstell, we’re pushing the information to the field,” Bower said.

“For example, we are working on an Air Force Materiel Command instruction to complement the Inspector General Activities AFI 90-201,” he emphasized. “We don’t want to send the whole instruction out but publicizing its status in the Crosstell lets the field know about it and they can look at it for themselves.”

“In the May 2006 issue of the Crosstell, there was a section announcing the Inspector General Community of Practice and where to find it,” Ames said.

“Basically the Crosstell saves personnel a bit of time by giving them the highlights of the newest IG information,” he said. “The Crosstell will also tell them where they can go to directly access that section of the Community of Practice.”

“Crosstell will be sent to the field when we have enough new information to warrant a new issue but not less than quarterly,” Ames explained. “There is an organizational mailbox for people to send their information to us. Our editor will put that in to the newsletter and distribute it electronically.”

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Oct. 22, 2014
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