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Air Force Inspector General (IG) Complaints Program


The Air Force IG Complaints Program is a leadership tool that indicates where command involvement is needed to correct systematic, programmatic, or procedural weaknesses and to ensure resources are used effectively and efficiently; resolves problems affecting the Air Force mission promptly and objectively; creates an atmosphere of trust in which issues can be objectively and fully resolved without retaliation or fear of reprisal; and assists commanders in instilling confidence in Air Force leadership. The primary charge of the IG is to sustain a credible Air Force IG system by ensuring the existence of responsive complaint investigations, and FWA programs characterized by objectivity, integrity, and impartiality. Only the IG may investigate allegations of reprisal under the Military Whistleblower’s Protection Act. The IG ensures the concerns of Air Force active-duty, Reserve, and Guard members, civilian employees, family members, retirees, and the best interests of the Air Force are addressed through objective factfinding.

Installation IG Program

The concept of separate, full-time installation IGs was implemented to remove any perceived conflict of interest, lack of independence, or apprehension by Air Force personnel. This came as a result of the previous practice of assigning chain of command and IG roles to the same official. The installation IG is organized as a staff function reporting directly to the installation commander.

IG Role. IGs are the “eyes and ears” of the commander. They keep the commander informed of potential areas of concern as reflected by trends; they function as the factfinder and honest broker in the resolution of complaints; they educate and train commanders and members of the base population on their rights and responsibilities in regard to the Air Force IG system; and they help commanders prevent, detect, and correct FWA and mismanagement. Personal complaints and FWA disclosures help commanders discover and correct problems that affect 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.

Investigations Not Covered and Complaints Not Appropriate. Administrative inquiries or investigations governed by other policy directives and instructions are not covered under the IG complaint program. These inquiries and investigations include commander-directed inquires and investigations, Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) or security forces investigations, and investigations of civilian employees who have specific appeal rights under law or labor union agreements. Investigations under the authority of the UCMJ or the Manual for Courts- Martial (MCM), line of duty or report of survey investigations, quality assurance in the Air Force Medical Service Boards, Air Force mishap or safety investigations, and medical incident investigations are also not covered under the IG complaint program. Additionally, the IG complaint program may not be used for matters normally addressed through other established grievance or appeal channels unless there is evidence that these channels mishandled the matter or process. If a policy directive or instruction provides a specific means of redress or appeal to a grievance, complainants must exhaust these means before filing an IG complaint. Complainants must provide some relevant evidence that the process was mishandled or handled prejudicially before IG channels will process a complaint of mishandling. Dissatisfaction or disagreement with the outcome or findings of an alternative grievance or appeal process is not a sufficient basis to warrant IG investigation.

Examples of Complaints Not Covered and the Governing System/Directive:

  • Changes to a Publication (AFI 33-360, Vol 1)
  • Civilian Complaints (Civilian grievance channels)
  • Complaints of Wrongs under Article 138, UCMJ (AFI 51-904)
  • Enlisted Administrative Separations (AFI 36-3208)
  • Equal Opportunity in Off-base Housing (AFPD 32-60)
  • Landlord or Tenant Disputes (AFI 32-6001)
  • Medical Treatment (MAJCOM SG)
  • Military Equal Opportunity and Treatment Issues (discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, or disability) (AFI 36-2706)
  • Punishment under UCMJ (AFI 51-201)
  • Suggestions (AFI 38-401)
  • Support of Dependents and Private Indebtedness (AFI 36-2906)

Above information derived from AFPAM36-2241V1

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