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Leading the way: IG inspects, upholds mission readiness

At Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, it is customary to see security forces Airmen defending the installation against threats around the clock 365 days a year. It is also likely to see MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper aircrews flying constantly or to see Airmen being treated for medical issues at Creech Medical Aid Station. One might wonder who evaluates the various units around base for effectiveness and ensures they are mission ready?

For members assigned to the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing’s Office of the Inspector General, finding and eliminating potential concerns of military members and units is a part of everyday life.

“We handle very different cases that come to our attention,” said Master Sgt. James, 432nd Wing IG office complaint and resolution superintendent. “We listen to the facts they bring us, explain expectations about where the complaint could go and push to make sure they seek out solutions at the lowest level before we take steps to resolve it.”

The office, whose main mission is to focus on readiness, economy, efficiency, effectiveness and the state of discipline of the 432nd WG Hunter family, is sometimes misunderstood.

IG personnel are not put in place to exploit individuals by placing them under a microscope. Rather, they work objectively to positively affect change, handling both Air Force program inspections and complaints under the authority of the commander.

“Sometimes complainants come in, and we may handle the case ourselves or get them to the right avenues that can,” James said. “We ask them [complainants], what do you want to come out of this? It gives us a clear understanding of what the person is trying to accomplish.”

The IG office at Creech of seven personnel is split into two sections, IG inspections and IG complaints and resolutions, who use Air Force Instructions, DOD instructions and local regulations to understand a situation and resolve it.

“The person walking through the door sees things from their frame of reference,” James said. “It’s their reality, so we listen to the details, find a couple of leads and get them some answers.”

In an effort to provide a positive work environment for Airmen, contractors and civilian personnel, the wing IG office takes great care in providing their unique service.

James said that since every case is unique, hours of thorough research and even coordination with other agencies could be used to determine a course of action for cases.

“There are five possible outcomes to cases that that we receive,” James said. “We may dismiss, refer, assist, transfer or investigate.”

Some examples of when it is appropriate to file an IG complaint are instances when individuals are unjustly denied an opportunity or award, or when witnessing a violation of law, AFI, or policy.

According to the Secretary of the Air Force Office of the Inspector General Complaints Resolution Office, fraud, waste, and abuse are also potential problems that can be investigated since they can significantly drain resources and ultimately rob American taxpayers.

By conducting inspections and investigating allegations, IG is able to reduce and eliminate the concerns of Airmen at every level. However, the effort isn’t possible without the involvement of military and civilian personnel who identify them.

“In doing this, we’re safeguarding morale and ensuring the successful execution of our mission here at Creech,” said James.

For more information on the IG Complaints and Resolutions Program, visit http://www.af.mil/InspectorGeneralComplaints/IGFAQ.aspx or the base IG office. To report criminal or civil acts of fraud or corruption, please contact Air Force Office of Special Investigations directly at the AFOSI hotline, (877)246-1453 or email hqafosi.watch@us.af.mil.