CECOM employee named Army Civilian IG of the Year

By Rachel PonderMay 24, 2024

Justin Meissner
Justin Meissner, a U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command employee and retired Army chemical officer, recently competed and won the title of Army Civilian Inspector General of the Year. (Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Justin Meissner, a U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command employee and retired Army chemical officer, recently competed and won the Army Civilian Inspector General of the Year Award.

The IG of the Year Competition was held at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, April 23-25, 2024. The Civilian Inspector General of the Year Competition is designed to select the most outstanding DA Civilian who best represents the U.S. Army IG community. Prior to the competition, IGs were nominated by the Command IG or State IG and endorsed by the first general officer, flag officer or Senior Executive Service member in their chain of command.

In the event there were multiple candidates within a category, the major command was responsible for selecting the best candidate. Finally, all participants were approved by the Department of the Army IG.

This year, more than 30 people were selected to compete from across the Army, including non-commissioned officers, officers, and civilians.

During the competition, the IGs were tested round-robin style on all aspects of the Army IG System, including the four IG functions: inspections, assistance, investigations, and teaching and training. The next day, the top six competitors answered questions in front of a panel comprised of six senior-level IGs.

Meissner described the win as validating. This is the first time he participated in the competition. He will receive the award during the Worldwide IG Conference at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 9-11, 2024.

Role of an IG

The IG acts as the eyes, ears, voice, and conscience of the commander. The role of the Inspector General and his or her staff is to determine and report on the economy, efficiency, discipline, morale, esprit de corps, readiness, and resources of the command. An IG aids in resolving issues relating to Soldiers, Army Civilians, family members, retirees, and members of the surrounding community, while protecting confidentiality to the maximum extent possible to guard against reprisal.

Meissner said his background in engineering taught him how to think logically, which now helps him in his current role. Serving as an IG requires him be familiar with all Army regulations and be aware of past regulations. An IG aims to be as objective as possible and leave the decision making up to senior leaders.

“I enjoy this job and I like the work,” he said. “[The competition] was a chance to demonstrate my skills.”

Meissner, a native of Denver, Colorado, has been with the CECOM IG team since June 20, 2023. Meissner said he likes serving with the small team, which is comprised of four IGs.

“Here, there are some advantages in a smaller office like CECOM, because as an IG we have to do all the functions,” he said about being prepared for the competition.

Meissner said IGs will often visit subordinate commands, to solicit confidential feedback from employees during “walkabouts.” He said topics of discussion are often based on the results of the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The Command IG then gives these findings to the CG.

“An IG, especially as a military member, is probably one of the places where you can see the most impact of your work,” he said.

Upholding high standards

CECOM Command Inspector General Renee Baldwin commended Meissner for having the “vulnerability and courage” to compete for the IG Civilian of the Year award.

“His dedication to upholding the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and oversight is an inspiration to us all,” she said. “I trust this experience reinforced the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new challenges, which leads to personal and professional growth, new perspectives, and a deeper understanding of oneself, others, and the IG Corps.”

Baldwin said Meissner is an asset to the CECOM IG team because he is technologically savvy.

“With Justin’s technical skill set, I am excited to see what enhanced technologies he will introduce that will transform the IG workplace into a more productive environment.”

Meissner credits his colleagues and supervisor for helping him get competition-ready.  Once he was selected, the team quizzed him during staff meetings to help him prepare for the competition. Baldwin, a former NCO, gave him board preparation during his mid-point counseling session.

“It was a team effort,” he said.

Previous experience

Meissner has been an IG since 2016. His previous military assignments include Command IG of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives Command; joint command IG of the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve; chief of the assistance division with the Department of the Army Inspector General; and a senior official investigator in the Investigations Division at the Department of the Army Inspector General Office. He retired as an Army colonel with more than 26 years of experience.

Meissner holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, a master’s degree in engineering management from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

The CECOM IG Office is on APG, 6565 Surveillance Loop, in Bldg. 6001, first floor. To contact, call 443-861-6600 or usarmy.apg.cecom.list.amsel-ig@army.mil.

To learn more about the CECOM IG team, visit https://armyeitaas.sharepoint-mil.us/sites/CECOM-IG.