Having ‘Completely Lost Faith’ in the System, an Appeal to Create an Independent Inspector General Outside of the Defense Department is Available to the Public

Image: Wikimedia Commons (Defense Secretary Austin and IG Storch, Dec. 14, 2022)

Alongside hundreds of like-minded service members and veterans, an organization’s plea for an independent Inspector General entity outside of the Department of Defense’s influence has been released to the public for support.

On June 14, various members of Congress, Department of Defense (DOD), Veterans Affairs Administration, and other government committees and entities received an independent report that can be downloaded and shared by others to call for “the creation of a truly independent Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Defense.” Over 2,000 people have signed the petition to accompany the report by Walk the Talk Foundation.

The Gateway Pundit spoke to the organization’s founder, Lt. Col. Ryan Sweazey (USAF-Ret.), who says the signatories of the petition send the message that people have “completely lost faith” in the DOD office of the IG (DODIG). Sweazey shares that he is no stranger to the “impartiality” of IG investigations, as the former F-16 fighter pilot once served as IG in the Air Force where he not only witnessed, but also called attention to, various deficiencies within the DOD and IG system.

The former Air Force IG cited dozens of his clients’ cases in which the military’s Inspectors General “clearly sought to fulfill a forgone conclusion, [which was] likely compelled by the complainants’ chains of command to not substantiate their complaints.” In each case, he said, the investigators appeared to pick and choose which evidence to consider, often discounting documents and witness statements that would have corroborated the complainants’ allegations. “The results of the IG’s ineptitude in these cases ranged anywhere from victims’ withheld promotions to members’ attempted suicides,” he laments.

Because of stories like this, “service members no longer trust the IG to provide them an independent and fair avenue of redress [when investigating fraud, abuse, or misconduct],” Sweazey shares.

As recruiting, retention, and readiness in the U.S. military wanes, he places some of the blame at the feet of the DODIG system.

“When a service member or potential service member sees that their promised rights for due process—the right to a fair investigation or inquiry when they report a wrongdoing—doesn’t happen, it erodes the trust that person has in the institution,” Sweazey explains. “This has a direct impact on recruiting and retention, and when we can’t maintain the talent pool in the military, it’s an easy link to the degradation in readiness and national security.”

According to Sweazey, “When you have a significant gap or deficient in who you’re recruiting and who you’re retaining, that leaves our nation vulnerable to internal and external threats that are clearly on the rise.”

The current system is “unequivocally failing at carrying out its mission to investigate complaints,” and Sweazey argues that “the solution comes down to an independent means to provide the individual service member a fairer avenue of recourse when they are wronged.”

“Right now, the Inspector General system plays the role of lapdog to the military institution,” he asserts. “It can be swayed, influenced, and corrupted, because it sits under a chain of command wrought with conflicts of interest and undue influence.”

“If we move the current system outside that sphere of influence,” Sweazey insists, “the individual service member will be given a tenfold higher chance of getting a fair shake when they go to file a complaint or when they’ve been victimized while serving the country.”

Remedies not only include the creation of an independent office of the IG, the report proposes, but also increased oversight and accountability, increased and improved training, and mandatory timeless for the completion of investigations.


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