By Bill Spadie, USARECFebruary 12, 2014
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Feb. 12, 2014) -- "OMG, I'm under investigation...now what?" is probably among the first reactions that you might have if notified by your chain of command that you've had an allegation of recruiting impropriety made against you. Your mind is racing and you may feel as if your career is in jeopardy. A feeling of dread and panic sets in and you begin to worry - really worry - but should you?
Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 1304.32 dated March 26, 2013 directs that all services shall track and report instances of recruiter improprieties (RI), and shall submit Active and Reserve Component recruiter impropriety data semi-annually to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. Therefore, USAREC investigates every allegation of recruiting impropriety and reports them IAW with the DODI directive.
It sounds serious, and it is. The Army and USAREC have an inherent responsibility to recruit with integrity and in accordance with with policies, regulations and laws that are placed upon us. The American public, our primary customer, demands nothing less - but does coming under such an investigation mean that your career is over, or that impending doom is hanging over you?
The fact is that you probably already know the answer. It's really pretty simple. If you've been deliberately or negligently disobeying those policies, regulations, and laws, for whatever reason, then you have good reason to worry. If on the other hand, you've done your very best to uphold those policies, regulations, and laws, then you don't and you shouldn't feel as though your whole world is about to change.
An investigation is as much to prove your innocence as it is to determine the facts of the case and potentially prove any guilt. Let me say that again; an investigation is as much to prove your innocence, and clear your good name and reputation as it is to determine any guilt!
"But, it's substantiated," you say. "OMG, my career is finished!"
There are a lot of misperceptions about "substantiated" improprieties. Substantiated simply means that an incident occurred. Something happened that shouldn't have, but that simple determination of "substantiated" does not say anything about someone's mindset that allowed whatever shouldn't
have happened to occur. Only "substantiated-intentional" acts indicate a purposeful or conscious disregard of the risk that a certain event will occur.
So it follows then, substantiated-unintentional means that something happened that shouldn't have, but that it happened because somebody, or several people, made a simple mistake.
"But I've heard that even if I have a substantiated-unintentional RI on my record, I can't be assigned to positions at the USAREC HQ, so really, my career is over", some believe, because that's the only assignment he or she still need to round out his or her 79R career.
That's simply not true. There are no assignment positions within USAREC where an unintentional RI automatically disqualifies you from being assigned to headquarters and there are only two places where RIs are even screened prior to assignment.
One of those places is the office of the USAREC IG and the other is the office of the Recruiting Standards Directorate (RSD). Even so, an unintentional RI isn't likely to prevent assignment to those positions. In fact there is more than one person assigned to RSD currently, who have an
unintentional (recruiter error) RI in their record.
The simple fact is this. RIs are serious business and every one of us assigned to USAREC should view them as such and do everything in our power to prevent or stop them.
But when an RI does occur, it isn't necessarily the beginning of the end. The facts bear out that of all RIs reported, the vast majority are determined to be not substantiated, or substantiated unintentional.
The fact is even if substantiated, most recruiters learn from their mistakes and go on to have successful careers after the investigation is closed and long forgotten.