Inspector General (IG) Investigations
For commanders and senior leaders, a substantiated IG investigation can mean ruin to one’s career. With the encouragement by forces inside and outside the military for reaching out to members of Congress and to the IG at high levels, the number of investigations by IG is on the rise.
Even if no formal actions taken as the result of an IG investigation, evaluation reports and assignment placement often suffer directly or indirectly as a result of the initiation of an investigation.
Though senior leader allegations of misconduct can be investigated through normal criminal agency investigations, allegations that include an aspect of financial or government property may create a DoD IG investigation or a local IG investigation. Among the types of complaints that can lead to an IG investigation for a senior leader includes that under the umbrella of “fraud, waste, abuse” for the alleged misuse of government vehicles, misuse of government travel cards, and other government personnel and resources. Another common complaint that will lead to an IG investigation is the allegation of taking negative action or reprisal against a Whistleblower. Finally, an IG investigation will launch if there is an allegation of mishandling of classified information. IG complaints can stem from a report to the local IG office or by providing information anonymously to the IG hotline.
There are potential criminal and administrative consequences for a senior leader that is being investigated by the IG. In most instances, unlike a military law enforcement investigation, the person being investigated should provide information to the investigation. Navigating the second and third order effects of providing a statement, what form to provide the statement, and the timing of the statement should be entrusted to an attorney with an acute understanding of military regulations and the UCMJ.