Library Fact Sheets
IG DEFINITION OF TERMS|
Printable Fact Sheet
Abuse--Intentionally, wrongful, or improper use of Air Force resources. Examples include misuse of rank, position, or authority that causes the loss or misuse of resources such as tools, vehicles, computers, or copy machines.
Abuse of Authority--Abuse of authority is further defined as it relates to personnel. It is an arbitrary or capricious exercise of power by a military member or a federal official or employee that adversely affects the rights of any person or that result in personal gain or advantage to them.
Administrative Actions-- Non-criminal proceedings. Includes, but not limited to, letters of reprimand, letters of admonishment, letters of counseling, control roster actions, unfavorable information files, reenlistment denials, promotion propriety actions, and involuntary separation actions. These actions need not to be a result of an IG investigation.
Allegation--A declaration or assertion made concerning an individual or a detrimental condition. An allegation should:
1. Include which person or what process the allegation is against.
2. Include what standard (policy, instruction, etc.) was violated.
3. State facts that, if substantiated, represent adverse information.
Assist--IG assistance is the simple process of making phone calls, asking questions, or soliciting helpful information from appropriate offices or agencies or putting complainants in touch with people, offices, or agencies who can address their concerns. Assistance is used when there is no evidence or allegation of wrongdoing and only assistance is required to remedy the problem.
Chain of Command (Designated to Receive a Protected Disclosure)--Chain of command begins with that officer who has properly assumed or been appointed, in accordance with applicable Air Force, Air Force Reserve, or Air National Guard/National Guard regulations, in immediate command over the individual concerned, and includes all superior commanders over such individuals. This includes section commanders so designated, but does not include Command Chief Master Sergeants or First Sergeants.
Complainant--Any individual making an allegation against an Air Force member, program, or organization. May be any individual including military members, civilian employees, retirees, family members, or other third parties that request to use the IG complaint system.
Complaint--An allegation or set of allegations that assert a wrong or violation of law, regulation, instruction, policy, procedures or rules, or report conditions detrimental to the operation, mission, or reputation of the Air Force.
Complaint Analysis--A preliminary review of allegations and evidence to determine the potential validity and relevance of the allegations to the Air Force and to determine what action, if any, in IG, command, or other channels is necessary.
Dismiss--A complaint is dismissed if a complaint analysis determines it is not appropriate for IG investigation because:
1. It discloses no recognizable wrong or violation of law, policy, procedures, or regulation.
2. It is not timely – was not filed within 60 days of the complainant learning of the alleged wrong and there are no extraordinary circumstances justifying the delay or any special Air Force interest in the matters alleged.
3. It is without merit, frivolous, and cannot be referred.
Fraud-- Any intentional deception designed to unlawfully deprive the Air Force of something of value or to secure from the Air Force for an individual a benefit, privilege, allowance, or consideration to which he or she is not entitled. Such practices include, but are not limited to:
1. The offer, payment, acceptance of bribes or gratuities or evading or corrupting inspectors of other officials.
2. Making false statements, submitting false claims or using false weights or measures.
3. Deceit, either by suppressing the truth or misrepresenting material facts, or to deprive the Air Force of something of value.
4. Adulterating or substituting materials, falsifying records and books of accounts.
5. Conspiring to carry out any of the above actions.
6. The term also includes conflict of interest cases, criminal irregularities, and the unauthorized disclosure of official information relating to procurement and disposal matters. For purposes of this instruction, the definition can include any theft or diversion of resources for personal or commercial gain.
Gross Mismanagement--A management action or inaction that creates a substantial risk of significant adverse impact on the agency’s ability to accomplish its mission. It is more than mere, trivial wrongdoing or negligence. It does not include management decisions that are merely debatable, nor does it mean action or inaction that constitutes simple negligence or wrongdoing. There must be an element of blatancy.
Gross Waste of Funds--An expenditure that is significantly out of proportion to the benefit expected to accrue to the government. It is more than a debatable expenditure.
Improper Conduct--Conduct (acts or omissions) found to violate an identifiable directive, instruction, policy, regulation, rule, statute, or other standard applicable to the Air Force, without regard to knowledge, motive, or intent.
Inappropriate Conduct--Action a reasonable person would consider likely to erode confidence in the integrity of the Air Force, but which does not violate an identifiable directive, instruction, policy, regulation, rule, statute, or other standard applicable to the Air Force.
Lawful Communication (recognized as a Protected Disclosure)--Any communication, including complaints and witness statements or testimony, that does not constitute or admit a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or other applicable criminal law. If a communication contains both lawful and unlawful portions, only the lawful portion will be extended the protections from reprisal. Unlawful communications are not protected, and may be referred by the recipient of the communication to appropriate authorities that are authorized to take adverse personnel action against the offender.
Misconduct--Improper conduct undertaken (1) with the knowledge the conduct violates a standard, or willful disregard for that possibility; (2) with the intention to harm another; or (3) for the purpose of personal profit, advantage, or gain.
Personnel Action--Any action taken on a member of the Armed Forces that affects or has a potential to affect (for example a threat) that military member’s current position or career. Such actions include (but are not limited to):
1. A demotion
2. A disciplinary or other corrective action
3. A transfer or reassignment
4. A performance evaluation
5. A decision on pay, benefits, awards, or training
6. Referral for mental health evaluation under DoDD 6490.1, Mental Health Evaluations of Members of the Armed Forces
7. And/or any other significant change in duties or responsibilities inconsistent with the military member’s rank.
Protected Disclosure (or Communication)--A protected disclosure is:
1. Any lawful communication by a member of the Armed Forces to a Member of Congress or an IG (this includes IG office investigative staff),
2. Any lawful communication in which a member of the Armed Forces communicates information the member reasonably believes evidences a violation of law or regulation (including laws or regulation prohibiting sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination), gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, when such communication is made to:
a. Any member of a DoD audit, inspection, investigation, or law enforcement organization.
b. Any other person or organization designated pursuant to component regulations or other established administrative procedures to receive such communications. This includes: Military Equal Opportunity personnel, Family Advocacy, and certain designated commanders in a member’s chain of command. Communications made to a Command Chief Master Sergeant or First Sergeant are not protected under the statute.
A protected disclosure also includes circumstances where the military member was preparing a lawful communication or complaint that was not actually delivered, where the member did not actually communicate or complain but was believed to have done so by management officials, or cooperated with or otherwise assisted an IG, Member of Congress, or a member of a DoD audit, inspection, investigation or law enforcement organization by providing information that the military member reasonably believed evidenced wrongdoing.
Communications made by a third party (e.g. spouse, relative, co-worker) to a designated official in which they allege reprisal against a military member, may be covered as protected communications under Title 10 U.S.C. 1034. The test is whether the management official who took the personnel action believed or suspected that the protected communication was made by or on behalf of the military member.
Referral--A referral is a complaint that is determined to be more appropriately handled by an organization or agency outside the Air Force IG system.
Reprisal--Reprisal is taking or threatening to take an unfavorable personnel action or withholding or threatening to withhold a favorable personnel action on a military member for making or preparing a protected disclosure.
Sexual Harassment--A form of sex discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. For more detailed definitions, see AFI 36-1201, Discrimination Complaints, or AFI 36-2706, Military Equal Opportunity and Treatment Program.
Transfer--A complaint is transferred when a complaint analysis determines an IG other than the one receiving the complaint should resolve it.
Waste--The extravagant, careless, or needless expenditure of Air Force funds or the consumption of Air Force property that results from deficient practices, systems controls, or decisions. The term also includes improper practices not involving prosecutable fraud. NOTE: Consider wartime and emergency operations when explaining possible waste. For example, legitimate stockpiles and reserves for wartime needs, which may appear redundant and costly, are not considered waste.
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