IG mission explained in ‘nut shell’

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Ed Stanfill
  • 22nd ARW Inspector General
After a year's remote assignment to Korea, it's great to return to Team McConnell and serve as your installation Inspector General once again. I look forward to getting out and about and meeting as many of you as I can in the not-too-distant future.

Many years ago, an unknown general coined the following quotation regarding inspectors general and what they do. "The inspector general must have a horse allowed him, and some soldiers to attend him, and all the rest commanded to obey and assist, or else service will suffer; for he is but one man and must correct many, and therefore he cannot be beloved, and he must be riding from one garrison to another to see the soldiers do not outrage or scathe the country."

Well, last time I checked, I hadn't been issued a horse to ride from garrison to garrison, and there weren't any stables on base, but that's OK! Hopefully, a few short paragraphs will answer the question about what the IG does and will help eliminate any misconceptions about what your installation IG can and cannot do for you.

I'll start with a brief history of the IG, then outline the installation IG role at the base, and finally, examine the overall complaints resolution process.

Congress established the IG program in 1777, with General Washington as the key proponent.

The program's focus was training, disciplining and preventing abuse of authority. When the Air Force Office of the IG was formed in 1948, it had independent IGs to conduct inspections, while the role of complaints resolution fell to the installation's vice commander.

In 1997, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force established the installation IG for complaint resolutions as an independent agency removed from the command chain. It is important to note the installation IG still works for the wing commander and not a higher-level IG. Installation IGs exist at most active-duty, Reserve and Air National Guard installations.
There are two distinct and separate agencies that work toward accomplishing the IG mission at the major command, IGI, or inspections, and IGQ, or complaints resolution.

While both are referred to as "The IG," each has a different focus.

When someone says, "The IG is coming to town," they're referring to IGI from the MAJCOM. The visit will consist of inspections and evaluations resulting in a grade for how well a unit does. Conversely, when someone says, "I'm going to see the IG," they're referring to the IGQ function of the IG, and are most likely seeking resolution to a problem or complaint they have.

My duties as your installation IG exist within the realm of IGQ. I manage the complaints resolution program at McConnell and serve as an extra set of "eyes and ears" for the commander to help resolve problems.

Additionally, my job is to create an atmosphere of trust, in which issues can be objectively and fully resolved without retaliation or fear of reprisal.

Finally, it's my job to ensure an equitable and objective evaluation of the concerns for anyone who has a complaint and to ensure complaints are addressed in the best interests of the Air Force.

Who can file a complaint with the IG? Anyone can - on any topic! However, issues that are better dealt with by another base agency will be referred to that agency because of subject matter expertise. That includes commander issues. We encourage the use of the chain of command to resolve matters first.

Incidentally, most complaints that come into the IG office are command-related issues. In most cases, those matters will likely be referred back to the chain of command for resolution, unless the problem is with the chain of command itself. Occasionally, the IG will receive a complaint that has no recognizable wrong or violation of rules, regulations or policy, and in those instances, the complaint may be dismissed.

That's the IG program in a nutshell. Hopefully this short article has shed some light on what we do in our office. We're always available to answer questions about our program or concerns about issues, and we promise to do our part to alleviate any "outrage or scathing."

For more information, call 759-3192.