IG website provides info, anonymity|
by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs
4/13/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Air Force has launched a website for inspector general complaints and fraud, waste and abuse information. A one-stop shop for information, the website contains a wealth of details on rules and regulations and contact info for IG personnel.
People interested in filing complaints can go to the site and see how to file a complaint, warning signs of fraud, waste or abuse, as well as frequently asked questions and issues typically brought to the IG and how they are resolved, said Col. John Neal, the Air University IG.
"This website will inform people of the process. Before I became an IG, I thought I knew how the process worked. Now that I am an IG, I'm convinced that most people don't understand how things really play out," he said. "The website gives you a peek under that tent that will make you realize, 'Oh wow! There's a lot more scrutiny that goes into a complaint than I realized.'"
The website also allows easier access to the information. Previously, those with questions would have to go to the IG.
"This is another resource for people, and it won't bog down mission accomplishment," said Neal. "If the person takes the time to research how big their issue really is, and if they can find the facts on the website, then they can quickly get back to focusing on the mission."
The website also benefits the IG. With more information being dispersed to Airmen, the IG can work more efficiently.
"This website is going to clarify terms, clarify responsibilities and what we really do for people," he said. "People can see the timelines and thresholds for complaints. It makes them smarter, and when you have a smarter complainant, coming with good useful information, I'm able to solve their case easier and more efficiently."
Maj. Steven Schutt, the 42nd Air Base Wing IG, agreed that access is among the important benefits.
"Sometimes people don't know how to get to the right information," he said. "Having it all in one place helps our Airmen. I also think there is an added bonus of anonymity, being able to go to a website instead of walking in an office. You can get the information without coming to the IG."
Ultimately, the IG acts as the eyes and ears of the commander. This website allows the IG to do their job better, according to Schutt.
"We benefit our commanders by being a separate entity that's out there looking, listening and speaking to problems that might be going on. I love the Air Force, and I love serving my country, like all Airmen, but it would be naïve to say that it's a perfect organization. I love being a part of an entity that's out there solving problems."
While inspectors general handle investigations, they also give every Airmen a voice. This website continues expanding that ability.
"Everyone has a voice to make the mission happen," Neal said. "An international officer was asking me what I do. As I explained that, he was blown away by the fact that the lowest-ranking Airman can go to command and say 'Hey, I think this is wrong.' I think that's what makes our country great."