Do you really know the Inspector General Program?
By Angel Garcia, 30th Space Wing Inspector General
/ Published January 10, 2013
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- When you hear the acronym "IG", what immediately comes to mind? Is it an audible groan? Do you think, "Not again!" or "My program is getting inspected again?" or "Oh no, not another exercise!" Maybe you hear "IG" and decide to walk in the opposite direction and hide. Well, you and your local inspector general, IG, team has been working hard in planning, coordinating, evaluating exercises and conducting inspections in preparation for our upcoming Air Force Space Command IG Consolidated Unit Inspection, Phase 1/2 Readiness and Limited Compliance Inspection.
Conducting exercises and inspections is only one part of what the IG's responsibilities. The IG team is here to be a second set of eyes; To review your programs with a fresh perspective and see what it is that you may have missed. We're here to give you the chance to prepare for higher level inspections, to make your organization better and, most of all, we're here to help!
The IG function was officially established in January 1948 by Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg. In 1978, Congress enacted the Inspector General Act making the IG an independent office. This Act was amended in 2008 adding various powers to the IG.
In the Air Force, the IG serves as an extension of their commander by alerting the commander to issues that affect the organization. IGs primarily serve their commanders by executing the complaint resolution process and by proactively training all members of the organization about IG processes and Fraud, Waste and Abuse issues. A successful Complaint Resolution Program is designed to enhance the organization's discipline, readiness, and warfighting capability, by giving the individual and the organization a mechanism to report issues that cannot be handled at the lowest levels.
The IG's CRP not only focuses on FWA but also on any alleged violations of law, Air Force Instructions, or policy. The IG would like to remind all Air Force military and civilian members that they have a duty to promptly report FWA or gross mismanagement, violations of law, policy, procedures, or regulations, an injustice, abuse of authority, misconduct, inappropriate conduct, deficiencies or like conditions, to an appropriate supervisor or commander, to an IG or other appropriate inspector, or through an established grievance channel upon becoming aware of the matter. The IG is the grievance channel to present complaints of wrongdoings when no other means of redress or appeal exists or when all local means have been exhausted.
The IG also provides assistance to members with issues not appropriate for IG channels, by contacting or putting the member in touch with the appropriate agency to handle the issue. Any AF military or civilian member may file an IG complaint. However, many Department of the Air Force civilian complaints (e.g., discrimination, sexual harassment, conditions of employment, etc.) must be addressed by agencies other than the IG. Anyone, including civilians with no Air Force affiliation, may file FWA disclosures. Depending on the circumstances, the IG may also accept complaints from dependents or relatives of active duty members and retirees and their dependents. Although it is not necessary, the IG recommends that personnel use their chain-of-command in trying to resolve issues or concerns. The chain-of-command is a very effective tool for resolving personnel issues and concerns. Remember that it is against the law for anyone to try and prevent or restrict an active duty member from communicating with the IG.
Communicating with the IG is a protected communication in the eyes of federal law; therefore, if after communicating with the IG a person feels they are being reprised (punished in some way for contacting the IG) report it immediately to the IG because that is a very serious violation of the law and will result in an investigation.
So as you have read, there's more to the IG than just exercises, inspections and evaluations; the 30 SW/IG and his staff are available to assist you in resolving complaints or reporting FWA as well. Personnel can stop by building 10525 to seek assistance, call 605-6366 for an appointment, or call the VAFB FWA Hotline at 605-8179.