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AF officials standardize training for nuke inspectors

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) -- Inspectors throughout the Air Force attended the first Nuclear Surety Inspector's Course from Feb. 2 to 6 at the Air Force Inspection Agency, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

As the Air Force reinvigorates its nuclear program, the implementation of this class was a top priority. The objective of the course is to standardize all training and certification of Air Force NSI Inspectors.

"Each major command has or is currently conducting its own NSI inspector training course," said Chief Master Sgt. Brent Belcoff, AFIA Inspection and Oversight Directorate superintendent. "However, it lacks standardization, and this new class will remedy that."

In the fall of 2008, Lt. Gen. Ronald F. Sams, Air Force inspector general, assigned the Inspection and Oversight Directorate to create the curriculum and teach the course.

"We conduct the NSI oversight mission, so we were given the task to conduct the NSI training mission as well," said George Parrott, Inspection and Oversight Directorate deputy director. "We have taken lessons learned from the last five years and have applied them to this class. A lot of work has been put into this and we will continue to do so."

The first class included 18 attendees from AFIA, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and nuclear-capable major commands.

"We had a very diverse group of NSI inspectors in the course," Mr. Parrott said. "When you get a diverse group like that, people discussed a wide variety of personal NSI experiences. As a result, there will be an increase of knowledge about the NSI process."

One experienced inspector expressed his confidence in the course, saying it would benefit future inspections.

"I have performed about 30 NSIs in my career," said Jerry Garrett, Air Combat Command inspector general. "Because of this class, we will all have a broader scope to help us identify deficiencies in the NSI process, as well as ensuring nuclear accountability."

According to Mr. Parrott, this first course culminates an intensive build-up by Inspection and Oversight Directorate personnel to develop an NSI inspector's course.

"The Air Force is taking this task very seriously and is leaning forward in the development and validation of this NSI Inspector Course," said Chief Belcoff.
To enhance future courses, the instructors are using attendees' feedback.

"Many of the inspectors think injecting more scenarios based on learning objectives will be helpful," said Mr. Parrott. "For example, many thought it would be beneficial to be presented an actual NSI dilemma requiring group interaction and discussion to come to a resolution. We want to avoid a strict lecture based class."

Although the course will continuously improve over time, Chief Belcoff said the first class was a success.

"Overall the first course was outstanding," he said. "With more than 220 years of experience among 18 personnel the combined cooperation and passion for the nuclear enterprise is unmatched."