The Inspector General’s office routinely investigates allegations of misconduct by Army officials at the rank of colonel or below. Complaints can be filed by soldiers, their family members, retirees, former soldiers or civilians employed by the Army. The office also can be directed to investigate allegations against senior officers at the rank of general, as it was in the 2004 Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal. The position of inspector general was created by George Washington to improve the training, drills, discipline and organization. The office still fulfills that role by monitoring compliance; for example, it inspects the chemical- and nuclear-materials systems. Its self-described mission is “to inquire into, and periodically report on, the discipline, efficiency, economy, morale, training and readiness.”
The agency has reviewed cases involving soldiers injured or killed by friendly fire. It has handled sexual-harassment complaints. And it has produced reports on alleged abuses against detainees by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It does not handle criminal investigations, which it leaves to the Criminal Investigations Command.