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DOD Inspector General

Provides Oversight of Military Branches

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The Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General was established by Congress in 1978 to serve as the “principal adviser to the secretary of defense for matters relating to the prevention of fraud, waste, and abuse in the programs and operations of the Department,” according to its Web site.

As the watchdog for Defense Department operations, the DOD IG’s office is subdivided into six areas, each headed by a deputy or assistant inspector general: auditing, investigations, policy and oversight, intelligence, administration and management, and communications and congressional liaison. Each of these divisions handles a number of activities.

For example, one of the duties of the auditing division is to evaluate the effectiveness of DOD-related programs such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ funding of relief efforts associated with Hurricane Katrina. The investigations division, among its responsibilities, examines allegations of wrongdoing by DOD personnel and takes steps to protect whistleblowers. The intelligence division reviews DOD operations related to national security, such as overseeing and evaluating the multiple investigations into prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The DOD IG has its roots in the Office of the Inspector General of the Army, which was established by the Second Continental Congress in 1777 to review the troops to ensure both their discipline and proper treatment. As the nation’s military needs grew, each branch of the armed services formed its own IG office. The Defense Department, however, did not have its own IG office until the Inspector General Act of 1978 was passed. The Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Review and Oversight, launched in 1981, was a forerunner of the DOD IG, the first of whom, Joseph H. Sherick, was officially installed in 1983.

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