What does an Office of Inspector General do?
All branches of the U.S. military have Offices of Inspector General to investigate allegations of improper conduct.
New Jersey residents whether they are personally involved with the U.S. military or not know that all members of the military are held to extremely high standards. Each person must meet and display the values and discipline that each branch of service is collectively known for.
When concerns arise about any military or civilian employee’s potential breach of standards, a complaint may be filed. Some of these complaints may be reviewed and investigated by an Office of Inspector General .
Mission of the Office of Inspector General
Each branch of service has its own Office of Inspector General. However, the mission of each branch is very similar. The Inspector General and the department are tasked with promoting discipline, well-being and order within the branch by maintaining a level of readiness, effectiveness and focus on values across all members and employees.
Types of issues investigated by an Inspector General
Across every branch of service, allegations of fraud, waste or abuse are accepted. Complaints involving these things may be submitted by anyone. This includes people in active military service, in reserve service, veterans, civilian employees and civilians who are not employed by the U.S. military. In addition, each branch will investigate other complaints as well.
Examples of topics that an Inspector General would investigate involve ethics violations, improper referrals for evaluation of mental health, conflicts of interest and abuse or fraud relating to purchase cards, travel, or time card.
Types of issues not investigated by an Inspector General
Some issues are to be directed to other agencies. For example, the Inspector General for the U.S. Air Force does not direct investigations into issues involving compensation or performance of an officer. The U.S. Army Office of the Inspector General will not perform criminal investigations or review discharge requests or courts martial cases.
Filing a complaint with an Inspector General
Before filing a complaint, it is important to be clear that complaints should involve actual violations of law or procedure and not reflect simply a disagreement or personality conflict between persons.
Each branch of service offers different ways in which complaints may be filed. The U.S. Air Force accepts complaints online or via text, email and phone. The Department of the Navy Office of Inspector General recommends submitting complaints in writing.
People making complaints have the choice to keep their identity known only to the Inspector General or to the Inspector General and the investigator alone. Complete confidentiality is allowed but may limit the office’s ability to fully investigate a complaint.
Sensitive issues require great care
The nature of a complaint against a member of the U.S. military may involve very sensitive information. For this reason, New Jersey residents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who is experienced in military law. Understanding the scope of the Office of Inspector General and how to best submit a complaint may facilitate a better outcome.