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Navy Inspector General History

Origin of the Inspector General Concept; History of the US Army Inspector General

In the West, the Inspector General originated with the French Army in 1668. Other European nations soon adopted the practice. In 1775, General Washington decided he needed an Inspector General to improve the quality of the Revolutionary Army.

History of the Naval Inspector General

When the Navy Department was established in 1798, it did not incorporate the Army IG system into its new organization. Inspection systems were in place under the bureaus and various other SECNAV offices and boards .... these dealing primarily with finance, procurement and quality control of materials.

Each bureau and SECNAV board operated independently and only among commands and activities ashore. Inspection of forces afloat was under the purview of the various fleet commanders.

This decentralized inspection responsibility continued until the beginning of World War II.

Establishment of the Naval Inspector General and Office of the Naval Inspector General

On 18 May 1942, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox issued General Order Number 173, establishing the Naval Inspector General. General Order Number 173 states:

1. There is hereby established in the Headquarters of the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations, the Office of the Naval Inspector General. The Naval Inspector General shall be charged with the inquiry into, and the report upon all matters which affect the efficiency and economy of the United States Naval Service. He shall make such inspections, investigations, and reports as may be required by law or directed by the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations, or by higher authority.

2. The Naval Inspector General shall be an officer of the line on the active list of the Navy, of the rank of Rear Admiral or above, not designated for engineering duty only.

3. There will be assigned to the Office of the Naval Inspector General a Deputy Naval Inspector General, three Assistant Naval Inspectors General, and such Naval, technical, clerical and other assistance as may be required.

4. The Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations will promulgate such additional instructions as he may deem necessary for carrying out this General Order.

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