What does the Inspector General (IG) Complaints Resolution Program do for me?

  • Published
  • By Lt.Col. Wes Smith and Chief Master Sgt. Randall Kirkpatrick
  • 55th Wing Inspector General
Great question, especially if you've never had to contact them. The Inspector General system used throughout the total force is based on the concept that IG's serve as an extension of their Wing commander by acting as his or her eyes and ears to be alert to issues that affect the wing. IG's primarily serve their commanders by executing the complaint resolution process and by proactively training all members of the wing about IG processes and fraud, waste and abuse (FWA) issues. A successful complaint resolution program is designed to enhance the wing's discipline, readiness and warfighting capability. IG's use fact-finding procedures to seek out systemic issues that affect the Wing or organization.

IG's assist Airmen of all ranks, family members, civilian employees, retirees and other civilians. These individuals represent the IG's constituency, and IG's bolster the chain of command by performing a problem-solving mission in support of this constituency. All IG's must maintain a clear distinction between being an extension of the commander and their sworn duty to serve as fair, impartial and objective fact-finders and problem solvers. They must be sufficiently independent so that those requesting IG help will continue to do so, even when they feel that the commander may be the problem. Commanders must support this clear distinction for their IG's to be effective.

When you come to us we provide "protected communication," which is any lawful communication not conveying an admission of misconduct, violation of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice or violation of other applicable criminal statutes. Identities of complainants and witnesses are protected from disclosure as much as the law allows. Specifically, the IG has the responsibility to safeguard the personal identity and complaints of those seeking assistance or participating in an IG process such as an investigation. In some cases your identity would need to be released to address specifics for your situation.

Once we take a complaint, we do a formal complaint analysis through fact-finding and research. After this is accomplished we determine the best course of action for resolution. We may have to refer or transfer your complaint to another agency that is more appropriate to handle your situation, but we would keep you updated as to the status of your case. Approximately 50 percent of our cases are considered assists, where there are no allegations of wrongdoing, but help is still needed to resolve the situation.

IG's investigate the complaint not the complainant (you). Complainants should attempt to resolve complaints at the lowest possible level (appropriate for the circumstances) using supervisory channels before addressing them to higher-level command channels or the IG. The lowest level supervisors can often resolve complaints more quickly and effectively than a higher-level one not familiar with the situation. However, if the problem is with supervisory channels or the chain of command, the IG is an avenue to address your situation.

Complainants providing information to the Air Force IG system must understand they are submitting official statements within official Air Force channels. Therefore, they remain subject to punitive action (or adverse administrative action) for knowingly making false statements and for submitting other unlawful communications.

Complainants should submit IG complaints within 60 days of learning of the alleged wrong. IG's may accept and refer complaints that exceed the 60-days time requirements if the complaint is of special Air Force interest or the complainant is able to demonstrate that he or she was unable to meet the time standards due to unforeseen or extraordinary circumstances and such circumstance justifies the delay.

From a commander's perspective, complaints help commanders discover and correct problems affecting the productivity and morale of assigned personnel. Resolving the underlying cause of a complaint may prevent more severe symptoms or costly consequences such as reduced performance, accidents, poor quality work, poor morale or loss of resources. Even though allegations may not be substantiated, the evidence or investigation findings may reveal systemic, morale or other problems that impede efficiency and mission effectiveness.

Complaints can be submitted in person or anonymously. They can also be submitted on behalf of another person. If you are not sure whether your situation should be handled by the IG, just give us a call at 294 -7167 and we'll let you know what we can do. The IG Complaints Resolution Program is focused on getting situations resolved to allow everyone to direct their attention on their job for the successful completion of the mission.

Contact Info:
Office: 294-7167
Hotline: 294-4529
Location: Bldg 458, Rooms 112/113