IG takes two-pronged approach to compliance

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Complying with rules and regulations is a must for Airmen, and this is perhaps even more true here due to the global impact of the 90th Missile Wing's nuclear deterrence mission. To keep the Mighty Ninety on the "straight and narrow," the 90th Missile Wing Inspector General Office works with Airmen to bring the wing to compliance.

The mission of the wing IG is twofold: fielding complaints from concerned Airmen and conducting inspections to ensure mission compliance.

"I handle any type of complaints that are brought forward to the IG," said Sandra Hanway, 90th MW IG Office director of complaints. "My job is to conduct analyses and determine if there are any violations, injustices or wrongdoings."

She said an initial interview with an Airmen bringing up a complaint often lasts two hours, and the rest of her work involves analysis of complaints, research into relevant regulations and coordination with other agencies.

Airmen can report any instances of fraud, waste, abuse, violations of law and violations of Air Force instructions or policy.

Other concerns, such as interpersonal conflict, management style issues and equal opportunity violations would be better suited for other agencies to handle, but Airmen can feel free to bring them up to the IG Complaints Section, Hanway said.

Hanway described one instance when an Airmen complained to her about getting too many additional duties. Normally, this situation would not fall under the jurisdiction of the IG office, but Hanway looked into the matter and discovered the uneven distribution of additional duties was motivated by an unprofessional relationship in the work center leading to favoritism.

Before involving the IG office, problems should be handled at the lowest level possible, Hanway said.

At any given time, Hanway, the only complaints section member, has approximately 10 open complaints to work. At her peak, she said she had 30 open complaints at once.

For her, though, IG is a labor of love.

"I love my job," she said. "I love the fact that people come to me for help. They actually feel better about talking to someone."

The work Hanway accomplishes does not just benefit Air Force personnel, she said. Airmen report instances of fraud, waste and abuse to her, and when she coordinates a response and the situation is rectified, the American taxpayer benefits from a more cost-effective Air Force.

In order to maintain a cost-effective Air Force, as well as one that meets standards, the inspections side of the 90 MW IG Office steps in with their side of the mission.

Mirroring the role of the IG complaints sections, the inspections section actively seeks to find and correct instances of Airmen and organizations not abiding by standards.

The 90th MW IG Office inspections team consists of subject matter experts from different groups within the wing.

IG's inspection team uses a multi-faceted approach in which they help Airmen at all levels improve their offices, said retired Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Haakinson, 90th MW IG Office director of investigations.

Commanders at all levels are tasked with conducting unit self-assessments, and all Airmen are given the opportunity to give their input using the Management Internal Control Toolset, a web-based self-assessment tool.

"Instead of trying to hide things, the current system encourages Airmen to self-identify areas of non-compliance," he said. "The unit should be inspection-ready at all times and should actively seek to improve problem areas."

In addition to self-assessments, the IG inspections team conducts vertical and horizontal inspections, Haakinson said. Vertical inspections are those that target specific organizations within the wing. Horizontal inspections target programs, such as the Voting Assistance Program or Combating Trafficking in Persons, that involve Airmen from more than one unit.

IG offices are also required to conduct nine field exercises a year to ensure mission readiness, he said. Since F.E. Warren belongs to Air Force Global Strike Command and has a nuclear deterrence mission, the base has to accomplish an extra four training exercises.

The wing IG office works in conjunction with higher headquarters IGs to ensure accountability and compliance at all levels.

The two sections within the 90th MW IG office work together to ensure a safe, secure and effective mission. Airmen are encouraged to voice their IG-related concerns through their chain of command or by calling the IG Complaints Section at 773-4800.

For more information, visit http://www.af.mil/InspectorGeneralComplaints.aspx.