Inspector General supports Soldiers

Jan. 20, 2012

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- There is a myth among Soldiers that only bad things happen when personnel from the Office of the Inspector General visit a unit or command; however, many Soldiers don’t really know what the OIG does for the Army.

“We’re the eyes, ears and voice of the command,” said U.S. Army Europe Command Inspector General Col. William Miller.

The OIG focuses on helping Soldiers and improving the Army by assisting, investigating, inspecting, and teaching and training units and commands.

According to Miller, the OIG assists in eliminating conditions that are detrimental to the morale, efficiency and reputation of the unit and Army by processing complaints, requests for information or anything else that’s referred to the office.

The USAREUR OIG receives an average of 1,500 to 2,000 requests for assistance per year, which includes questions about non-support issues, Army regulations and other topics, Miller said.

“Anyone can request assistance from any OIG at anytime,” said USAREUR OIG Senior Enlisted Advisor Sgt. Maj. Terry Abel. “If a Soldier is on leave in the states, the Soldier can contact a local OIG in the U.S. for help with a problem.”

The OIG has a research staff that finds and interprets Army regulations to fulfill requests for assistance by military personnel, dependents, civilian employees and the general public.

Requests for assistance also consist of conducting investigations and inquiries as directed by law, the secretary of the Army inspector general, the commanding general and the command inspector general. Inquiries may include allegations of mismanagement, improper conduct and violations of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. After the OIG completes investigations and inquiries, it provides objective reports to the directing authorities.

“We don’t automatically believe allegations,” Abel said. “Our investigations are fair and impartial. We’re honest brokers of the truth. We help solve problems at the lowest level possible.”

Miller explained that the OIG doesn’t have command authority to implement or direct adverse actions. It only helps identify deficiencies and informs the chain of command about the deficiencies. Anyone can contact the OIG about a problem, but it shouldn’t be the first course of action when trying to solve a problem, Miller said. Personnel should first try to solve problems with their chain of command.

Inspections are conducted as directed by the commanding general throughout the area of responsibility to teach and train the command, ensure force well-being, enhance readiness, facilitate transformation, and accomplish the commander’s annual and special interest priorities as well as Department of the Army regulatory requirements, Abel said.

“Inspections are used to identify and fix systemic issues across the command,” Abel said. “Inspections may focus on how to improve physical readiness training, the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, or how to increase safety during weapons qualification.”

The inspections, investigations and assistance provided by the OIG supports the chain of command and helps teach and train leaders at all levels on how to achieve the right end state, Abel said. The OIG supports Soldiers and shouldn’t scare anyone who is following the rules.

Requests for assistance can be made by submitting a DA Form 1559 to the local OIG by email, fax, in-person and mail. Requests for assistance can also be made by calling the OIG.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.