The Following is an Excerpt from the Naval Inspector General Investigations Manual:
DEFINITION OF INVESTIGATION: SECNAVINST 5430.57F (Mission and Functions of the Naval Inspector General) defines an investigation as "any form of examination into specific allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct."
POLICY FOR CONDUCT OF INVESTIGATIONS: "The DoN shall strive to maintain the highest level of readiness, effectiveness, discipline, efficiency, integrity, and public confidence. Candid, objective, and uninhibited internal analysis of the management, operation, and administration of DoN is essential to achieve this objective. All inquiries into matters affecting the integrity, efficiency, discipline and readiness of the DoN shall be conducted in an independent and professional manner, without command influence, pressure, or fear of reprisal from any level within DoN. All non-frivolous allegations of misconduct shall be thoroughly and impartially investigated and reported."
- Corrective Action - Corrective action includes those steps taken to 'fix the system' to minimize the likelihood wrongdoing or other undesirable events will reoccur. Establishment, changes, or augmentation of checks and balances, procedures, and training are typical corrective responses.
- Remedial Action - In some cases, the investigation reveals that wrongdoing or system deficiencies adversely affected the complainant or others. Although redress of wrongs is not, by itself, sufficient reason to initiate an investigation when other remedies are available, basic fairness requires that individuals harmed by improper conduct or unintended consequences of 'the system' be restored to their prior circumstances whenever possible.
- Disciplinary Action - In the context of an investigation, disciplinary action is any action, other than training, counseling, or a performance based action, taken with regard to an individual found to have engaged in wrongdoing. Disciplinary action runs the spectrum from letters of caution to criminal prosecution, including such actions as punitive or non-punitive letters of caution or reprimand, suspension, demotion/reduction in rank, UCMJ prosecution and removal.
AUTHORITY FOR INVESTIGATIONS:
- STATUTE - 10 USC 5020 sets forth the statutory basis for IG investigations.
- REGULATION - SECNAV has given NAVINSGEN broad investigative authority in the US Navy Regulations and such SECNAV Instructions as 5430.57F, 5430.92A (Assignment of Responsibilities to Counteract Fraud, Waste, and Related Improprieties within the DoN), 5470.5A (DoD/Navy Hotline Program), and 5800.12A (Allegations Against Senior Officials of the DoN). SECNAVINST 5430.57F recognizes the existence of other DoN IG organizations, but does not authorize them or set forth their authority. Such organizations are created by commanders and commanding officers in order to carry out their responsibilities under the US Navy Regulations. In most cases, their authority and responsibility is set forth in command instructions, policy memos, statements of organizational responsibilities, or similar documents.
MATTERS APPROPRIATE FOR INVESTIGATION:
- Inherent Command Responsibility - In broad terms, the mission of every DoN IG organization is to inquire into matters that have some relationship to readiness, effectiveness, discipline, efficiency, integrity, ethics, and public confidence.
- Higher Level Tasking - A DoN IG organization also may be tasked or requested to perform an investigation into any matter that reasonably can be expected to be of interest to the SECNAV, CNO, or CMC, NAVINSGEN, or DODIG, even when there is no express allegation of personal improper conduct.
- Reprisal - DoN military and civilian personnel who fear reprisal may use a DoD or DoN hotline to request IG investigations as an alternative to mechanisms available within normal chain of command channels. They also may request IG investigations when they believe the chain of command will not effectively address their concerns. Note, however, that the hotline is a management tool; the hotline complainant has no right to demand the investigation of a matter. Nor is there a requirement that the DoN IG organization receiving a proper hotline complaint investigate the complaint itself; in appropriate cases, hotline complaints may be referred to others, within and without the IG chain, for inquiry and management action.
MATTERS INAPPROPRIATE FOR IG INVESTIGATION:
- Major Crimes - NCIS has authority to investigate allegations that DoN civilian or military personnel have committed major crimes. These are defined in SECNAVINST 5520.3B (Criminal and Security Investigations) as those offenses for which imprisonment for more than one year may be imposed under the UCMJ or federal, state, or local laws (such crimes often are referred to as felonies). Although DoN IG organizations are responsible for investigating standards of conduct violations, many of the standards are derived from federal felony statutes. In those cases, NCIS should be apprised of the allegations before proceeding with the IG investigation. When NCIS has reason to believe the cognizant United States Attorney will not prosecute a case, it may decline jurisdiction in order to permit an IG investigation to proceed.
- Adverse Actions - DoN personnel often seek IG assistance when faced with adverse action for which another, more specific remedy or means of redress is available. For example, many adverse personnel actions taken against civilians are appealable to MSPB or subject to resolution through agency grievance procedures. Non-judicial punishments and court-martial actions under the UCMJ are appealable to higher military authority. Other individual complaints of wrongs to military personnel may be handled through Article 138, UCMJ proceedings.
- Correction of Fitness Reports - The Board for Correction of Naval Records is the appropriate authority to review allegations of improper fitness reports and other requests for correction of records. However, allegations of reprisal for whistleblowing should be investigated by the IG organization.
- Redress of Wrongs - The fact that an individual believes he or she has been 'wronged' by the 'system' is not itself sufficient to justify an IG investigation. DoN IGs are not ombudsmen. DoN IGs are not a substitute for DoN chain of command dispute resolution mechanisms, and should not be used for that purpose unless there is evidence those systems are being misused.
- Crimes Committed by Military Personnel - A request for an IG inquiry may arrive in the form of a complaint alleging that a military member has committed an offense punishable under the UCMJ. When such cases indicate the commission of a major crime within the jurisdiction of NCIS, they must be referred to it for investigation. In less serious cases, or after NCIS declines to investigate the matter, the DoN IG organization should next consider whether to refer the allegation to the alleged violator's commander for action.
- Discrimination Cases - Complaints of discrimination should be addressed through the EEO process. However, sexual harassment is appropriate for IG investigation, and allegations of sexual assault should be referred to NCIS. When allegations of discrimination are mixed with other allegations appropriate for IG inquiry, it is appropriate to tell the complainant which matters the IG organization will investigate, and which should be taken through the EEO process.
- Chain of Command Action - Many requests for assistance are best handled within the chain of command and should be referred to it without a request for investigation. It is appropriate to request notification of the action taken. Be alert for systemic problems that should be addressed through an IG investigation or inspection.
MAJOR INVESTIGATION DEFINITIONS:
- Allegations - Statements, usually in the form of unsupported accusations of wrongdoing, offered for proof through an investigation. No presumption of accuracy attaches to an allegation. The investigator obtains evidence sufficient to support a finding that the allegation is substantiated (sustained) or unsubstantiated (refuted), or explain why it is not possible to do either.
- Complainants - People who present the initial allegations that trigger a decision to conduct an IG investigation.
- Hotline Caseworkers - People who have initial contact with hotline complainants, in person or over the telephone. Hotline caseworkers may be IG investigators, but in most cases are not the person assigned to perform the principal investigation.
- Inquiry - A general term used to refer to any form of examination into a matter, including inspections, investigations, area visits and surveys, but not including audits.
- Investigation - Refers to any form of examination into allegations of wrongdoing. An investigation is one form of an IG Inquiry.
- Subjects - People against whom allegations of non-criminal wrongdoing have been made. Compare to suspects, defined below.
- Suspects - People against whom allegations of criminal wrongdoing have been made. Because most IG investigations are conducted after appropriate authority has determined not to pursue criminal sanctions, IG investigations often refer to suspects as subjects.
- Subject Commands - Organizations in which wrongdoing is alleged to have occurred.
- Witnesses - People selected for interview during an investigation because they may have information that tends to support or refute an allegation, or information that may lead to discovery of information.
- Wrongdoing - A generic reference to activity subject to an IG investigation, including misconduct, improper conduct, or inappropriate conduct.
- Misconduct - Improper conduct undertaken (1) with the knowledge that the conduct violates a standard, or with willful (not negligent) disregard for that possibility; (2) with the intention to harm another; or (3) for the purpose of personal profit, advantage, or gain. Generally, disciplinary action is an appropriate response to findings of misconduct.
- Improper (Conduct) - Refers to conduct found to violate an identifiable directive, instruction, policy, regulation, rule, statute, or other standard applicable to the DoN, without regard to knowledge, motive, or intent. Compare to 'inappropriate conduct' and 'misconduct' defined below. Appropriate responses to findings of improper conduct include corrective or remedial action, counseling, caution or reprimand that does not become a part of a permanent record, and performance-based actions. Generally, more serious disciplinary actions such as court-martials or adverse actions are not appropriate responses to findings of improper conduct that does not rise to the level of misconduct.
- Inappropriate (Conduct) - Refers to action a reasonable person would consider likely to erode confidence in the integrity of the DoN, but which does not violate an identifiable directive, instruction, policy, regulation, rule, statute, or other standard applicable to the DoN. Sections 5 and 6 of Chapter 12 of DoD 5700.7-R, 'Department of Defense Joint Ethics Regulation,' provide guidance for identifying inappropriate conduct. Note, however, that violation of the general principles set forth at 5 CFR 2635.101 (Office of Government Ethics Standards of Ethical Conduct) is improper conduct. Because inappropriate conduct involves questions of ethical values, the ethical considerations that underlie a finding of inappropriate conduct must be clearly set forth. Responses to such findings are similar to those for improper conduct.
- Responsible Authority - People who have the authority and responsibility to take corrective, remedial, or disciplinary action based on the findings of an IG investigation.
- Corrective Action - Refers to action taken to 'fix the system' to minimize the likelihood undesirable activity identified during an IG investigation will reoccur. Establishment or augmentation of procedures, checks and balances, and training are typical corrective responses.
- Remedial Action - Refers to the attempt to restore individuals to their prior circumstances when they have been harmed by the wrongdoing of others, or injured by unintended consequences of 'the system'.
- Disciplinary Action - Refers to any action, other than training, counseling, or a performance-based action, taken against an individual found to have engaged in wrongdoing. Disciplinary action runs the spectrum from letters of caution to criminal prosecution, including actions such as punitive or non-punitive letters of caution or reprimand, nonjudicial punishment, suspension, demotion, or reduction in rank, prosecution under the UCMJ, and removal.
- Criminal Prosecution - Refers to the process by which persons charged with violating a criminal provision of the United States Code are taken to trial in a United States District Court.
- FOIA - Freedom of Information Act
GUIDANCE FOR CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS:
All Echelon II IG (includes BUPERS and field components) organizations assigned additional duty to the Naval Inspector General pursuant to SECNAVINST 5430.57F, "Mission and Functions of the Naval Inspector General," shall use this manual as guidance for IG investigations they conduct. In addition, this manual shall serve as guidance for all investigations, at any level, conducted at the direction of the Naval Inspector General. All other organizations and personnel conducting IG investigations are encouraged to adhere to the guidelines in this manual.