The Department of the Army Inspector General (DAIG) hosted its annual World Wide IG Conference virtually from April 14 to 16. This marked the second year in a row the conference was held virtually amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
This year’s conference theme was “The Time Is Now,” with sub-themes of “Teach, Engage, and Build.” The agenda focused on the concepts of trust and cohesion within units, as part of the Army’s ‘People First’ strategy, including discussions on the negative impacts of extremism and inequality on Army culture.
Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Joseph M. Martin delivered the keynote address, lauding the IG role as the “eyes, ears, voice and conscience” of the Army.
Martin noted the Army is facing tough issues these days, such as Soldier suicide, political and racial extremism, and sexual assault/sexual harassment. “These behaviors represent an internal threat to the Army,” Martin said.
He also reiterated the importance of the Army-wide ‘This Is My Squad’ initiative, urging IGs to take an active role in gauging units’ health starting at the squad level. “This is the top of the agenda of the United States Army,” Martin said.
Lt. Gen. Leslie Smith, The Inspector General, reminded IGs to be visible and ensure their leaders know what right looks like. “You are thinking about readiness for your organization unlike anyone else,” Smith said. He also noted this would be his last World Wide IG Conference, as he is preparing to retire later this year.
Sgt. Maj. Larry Orvis, the Inspector General Sergeant Major, reiterated the focus on squads. “Cohesive squads don’t worry about harmful behaviors, because they communicate and get ahead of problems,” Orvis said.
Orvis also reminded IGs throughout the force to develop and maintain a close working partnership with other enablers, such as Equal Opportunity and SHARP personnel. “Build that relationship now, so that when you need them, you already have established that partnership,” he said.
Orvis also discussed a recent policy change by which command sergeants major are now considered part of the “triangle of confidentiality,” meaning they can receive information on inspector general actions and investigations with the permission of their commander or directing authority.
Several DAIG division chiefs briefed the conference attendees on their activities of the past year, as did the Command IGs of the four Army Commands and several Army Service Component Commands.
The conference also hosted a discussion on Army IG practices and procedures with military IGs from several Allied and Partner nations.