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Tally ho! MacDill's Inspector General rides for resolution

Lt. Col. Dean Metz
6th Air Mobility Wing IG

The following quote from an unknown general can be found on the Air Mobility Command Inspector General homepage,

"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."

Now, I'm sure many of you are asking, "Just who is this inspector general person, and what's his horse's name?"

Well, here at MacDill the IG is me, Lt. Col. Dean Metz, and my horse's name is Chrysler. Now, instead of riding Chrysler from garrison to garrison, it's my goal to utilize this article to help further diffuse any lingering misperceptions you may have about what your installation IG is and isn't. I'll attempt to do this by discussing a brief history of the IG, what the role of the IG is today and the Complaints Resolution Program.

Congress established the IG program in 1777 with Gen. George Washington as a key proponent. The program's focus was training, discipline and preventing abuse of authority. When the Air Force Office of Inspector General was formed in 1948, it consisted of independent IGs to conduct inspections and delegated the role of complaints resolution to each installation's vice commander. Although this arrangement was in place for nearly 50 years, it led to a perceived lack of independence, responsiveness and thoroughness with regards to complaints resolution due to the many demands of the vice commander's position.

Therefore, in 1997 the Air Force was kind enough to create a job for me and established the independent installation IG solely for complaints resolution. You will find independent installation IGs at all active duty and AF Reserve installations and all Air National Guard wings. In addition, Reserve Component or blended units that are associate units on active AF installations may use the host installation IG for complaints and assistance.

While this concept has proven beneficial, it's created some confusion for those who have been around the Air Force for quite some time. A quick look at the AMC/IG mission statement and organization should help clear up this confusion.

The mission statement of the AMC/IG is to "Improve readiness and capabilities through inspections and complaints resolution." There are two distinct and separate agencies that work toward that missionÖIGI and IGQ.

While both are referred to as "The IG," each has a different focus. When someone says, "The IG is coming to town," they are referring to IGI. This visit will consist of inspections and evaluations resulting in a grade for how well you do.

On the other hand, when someone says, "I'm going to the IG," they are referring to IGQ. In this case, someone has a complaint and is seeking a resolution to their problem. As the installation IG, I'm an extension of AMC/IGQ. I'm the IG you go to with a complaint, and I'm the one wearing the white hat, not the black hat of the inspectors! Since I manage the complaints resolution program, let's take a closer look at that program.

The Complaints Resolution Program is a process by which the installation IG acts as the eyes and ears of the commander, and is utilized to resolve problems affecting their mission promptly and objectively. The program creates an atmosphere of trust in which issues can be objectively and fully resolved without retaliation or fear of reprisal. To that end, it's my primary job to sustain a credible IG system by ensuring the concerns of all complainants and the best interests of the AF are addressed through objective fact-finding. So who may file an IG complaint?

Any Air Force military or civilian member may file a personal IG complaint with the 6 AMW/IG. In addition, any member of a tenant unit assigned to MacDill may file a complaint with my office; however, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command have their own IG and U.S. Joint Forces Command IG services members of JCS. Furthermore, any fraud, waste, abuse, and violations of law, Air Force instructions, or policy should be reported through appropriate grievance channels. Anyone, including civilians with no Air Force affiliation, may file FWA disclosures. Realize though, depending on what the complaint is, the IG may not be the correct grievance channel.

Issues such as sexual harassment and discrimination, for example, belong in Equal Employment Opportunity or Military Equal Opportunity channels.

While the IG is often a common repository for any and all complaints, I must stress that individuals should attempt to resolve FWA issues and personal complaints at the lowest possible level, using command channels before elevating them to the next higher level or to the IG. In fact, most complaints I receive are command-related matters, and unless the problem is with the chain of command itself, I will refer those matters right back to your chain of command for their action.

Finally, complaints must be promptly filed within IG, command or other grievance channels. IG's may dismiss a complaint if there is no fraud, waste abuse, recognizable wrong or violation of law, regulation or policy. Also, complaints more than 60 days from the date of occurrence will normally be dismissed unless there are extraordinary circumstances or special Air Force interests to justify an investigation.

Hopefully I've been able to clear up some misperceptions about the installation IG and provided some useful guidance on who may file an IG complaint and when. Since there are too many scenarios to cover every specific situation in this article, please feel free to call or stop by and speak to either myself or Master Sgt. Rex Temple, deputy IG, if you feel you have a complaint that needs to be addressed. You can reach us at 828-4961, 6AMWIG@macdill.af.mil, or stop by the Wing HQ, Bldg 299, Suite 6.

If we're not the appropriate grievance channel, we will at least get you pointed in the right direction. In addition, if there are any commanders who would like us to come by and speak about the IG program at your commander's call, then please let us know. We would be more than happy to hop on Chrysler, ride over to your garrison, and do our part to help prevent outrage and scathing!

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