UCI is Our Opportunity and Our Obligation

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Ted Bowlds, Commander
  • Electronic Systems Center
Make no mistake; we are at a unique time in our Air Force and in Air Force acquisition. Our chief and secretary "get" acquisition and its key role in providing Air Force capabilities. They have made acquisition one of their top five pillars and are backing it with manpower increases and coming down hard on the requirements side.

Both of these actions are unique in any history I can remember. They are also rebuilding our credibility with Congress, our joint partners, and the American people. One of their pillars to build that credibility is through high standards and compliance with them.

Specifically, they discuss standards and compliance in acquisition. Recent acquisition protests and integrity issues within our own ranks have caused additional scrutiny on Air Force acquisition and cost us significant delays in war-critical weapons systems: combat helicopters, tankers, and cargo aircraft. As such, they've directed a back-to-basics approach to acquisition and complete adherence to standards and 'auditability.' At recent meetings with Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Sue Payton, and with Commander of Air Force Materiel Command Gen. Bruce Carlson, it was obvious that they fully support these concepts.

To this end, I look to the upcoming Unit Compliance Inspection as very fortuitous. It is the perfect vehicle to help us check our processes and procedures and to make sure we're meeting our obligations under law and as good stewards to the American tax payer.

So I ask each of you to make the UCI a priority - not because we want a good inspection grade, but because of its importance to our acquisition credibility and, therefore, effectiveness. You are amazing acquisition and support professionals, and it's time to showcase ESC's tremendous expertise and adherence to standards.

Now, I know many of you and your organizations are well along in UCI preparations. However, if you or your unit is having trouble, seek help. If you see where you can help others, don't wait to be asked. This is a team effort, and its importance goes far beyond the inspection.