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Inspector General is here to help

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Air University Inspector General Col. James Powell said the function of the Inspector General Complaint Resolution Program is sometimes misunderstood. Servicemembers sometimes think that the IG will fix all their problems, but that's not entirely true. IGs are actually sworn to be fair, impartial and objective fact-finders and problem solvers.

"The IG's real purpose is to keep Air Force people working on Air Force business; and to that end, we help complainants by engaging the appropriate folks to deal with their issues," he said. "This concept drives at the real beauty of the IG system. Complainants can file their complaints with any IG anywhere, and the IG processes ensure that the issues get into the proper resolution paths. Sometimes the IG can simply assist individuals - a phone call or e-mail can sometimes get things moving."

The colonel said, in other cases, the IG may refer the issues into an established grievance channel such as the Equal Opportunity system. When necessary, the IG transfers the complaint to another IG to work the issues.

Colonel Powell said Air Force policy provides for one Inspector General for each installation. However, Air University has four IG positions - one at the Headquarters, one at the 42nd Air Base Wing, and two in the Holm Center. If 42nd ABW or Holm Center IGs are not available, due to deployment, leaves, or PCS, then the AU/IG works issues on their behalf.

"The Air University IG case load averages about 100 complaints each year. Some complaints resolve quickly and easily, while others take a great deal of work. The real reward in my job is making a difference not only for individuals but also for the Air Force by taking on the hard issues."