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In this two-part interview, Glenn Fine, Principal Deputy Inspector General at the Department of Defense, discusses the importance of whistleblowers to the IG office’s work, and how they foster a good oversight culture.

The Department of Defense Inspector General’s semiannual report to Congress shows how the office’s work benefits the cabinet-level agency as a whole. More than $6 billion was saved in 2019 thanks to the office’s oversight. Glenn Fine, Principal Deputy Inspector General at the Department of Defense, says that the role of whistleblowers in oversight cannot be understated.

 

“We don’t do all of the investigations in the DoD, there’s a whole series of inspectors general and oversight entities. We get the complaints in, assess whether or not they should be investigated, and send them out,” Fine said. “We oversight to make sure that they are being handled and we ask for hotline completion reports to assess them and make sure that they have done what they need to do with each of them. That oversight takes resources, it takes time, it takes judgment. And we need to make sure we do it in an effective and timely way.”

 

It’s not just completing investigations where the office shines. The DoD IG Office continually ranks high on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Fine tells Government Matters that this success boils down to good communication.

 

“You can’t over communicate. Employees hunger for communication about the organization, about the policies of the organization, about what happens throughout the organization, about what the impact they are having is, what they do matters,” Fine said. “We communicate with them, but we also try to provide clear direction, we seek their input, we hold ourselves accountable and see what is working and not working and we’re also persistent about it. It is not a one and done effort as they say in basketball. We can’t high five each other and say we are done. If we’re not constantly looking at this, we will recede.”

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