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Inspectors General support both the Soldier/Airman and the chain of command 
 
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By Army Col. Paul Flynn, Inspector General, Massachusetts National Guard 

MILFORD, Mass. -
Inspectors General do not undermine commands. When a Soldier/Airman presents a situation to an Inspector General, one of the first questions asked is if the problem has been presented to the command. Without a doubt, the command teams at every level across the Massachusetts National Guard solve most of the problems that Soldiers/Airmen experience. Occasionally, there are systemic problems that get into that “too hard to do” block. That is when the Inspector General should get involved.

Generally, in today’s military more rank equals more experience. When a Soldier/Airman presents a problem to his or her sergeant it should start a process to resolution.

If the direct supervisor cannot resolve the problem then the sergeant should raise it to the next echelon within the chain of command or chain of concern.

As more experienced individuals get involved, the path to fixing the Soldier/Airman’s problem should become apparent. If a problem gets to a level and cannot be resolved it should go on to the next level in the chain of command or chain of concern.  This process should continue until the individual’s problem is fixed.

Some problems are time sensitive and waiting for progression though chains of command and chains of concern are detrimental for the Soldier/Airman or a family member.

This is a good time for the Inspector General to be brought into the process.  Leaders at every level are encouraged to contact the Inspector General in the search for problem resolution.  The Inspector General is a resource for leaders and Soldiers/Airmen to use.

Soldiers/Airmen often query the Inspector General about actions taken by their command. As fair and impartial fact finders, Inspectors General examine the situation and compare actions taken against standards; regulations and policies.  Often the response back to the Soldier/Airman, now a complainant, is that the command did not violate a regulation or policy. This becomes a “Teach and Train” session. The Soldier/Airman learns and often the Inspector General working the situation will contact the command leadership and discuss possible actions.

The Inspector General is a resource for you, the Soldier/Airman, the leader, the family member. They are problem solvers and advisers.  Inspectors General are the eyes, ears and conscience of the commander.  The goal of the Inspector General is to improve the readiness of the Soldiers/Airmen and units across the Massachusetts National Guard. Leaders can call the Inspector General for advice before a situation becomes a problem. Soldiers/Airmen can call the Inspector General for an experienced opinion.  Family members can call the Inspector General in an effort to better understand the workings of the Guard. And as always, the Inspector General is here to help.

For more information contact the IG office nearest you.

Milford: 508-233-6606; Wellesley: 508-233-7130; Reading: 508-233-7561; Camp Edwards: 508-968-5831.
11/27/2009