According to data from the Department of Defense investigators, the number of misconduct claims made against senior military and defense officials has gone up in recent years, but a higher percentage of these claims have been dismissed as not credible. Because of this higher rejection rate, fewer officers were found guilty of misconduct in recent years.
The misconduct claims included in this data allege many different types of violations, such as treating workers poorly, using subordinates to run personal errands, engaging in inappropriate relationships, and accepting gifts in situations where they are not permitted to do so.
Misconduct Claim Statistics
Not all misconduct allegations are investigated. Only when a claim is deemed to be credible is an investigation open to determine whether an ethical violation occurred and if so, the exact nature of the violation and its extent. In the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2017, 803 misconduct complaints were filed against senior military officers. In comparison, 787 were filed the previous fiscal year. Of the 803 claims filed in 2017, 144 were deemed credible, two of which were whistleblower cases alleging retribution against lower-ranking individuals for speaking up about misconduct they witnessed. From these investigations, 49 senior officials were found guilty of misconduct.
According to the Pentagon’s inspector general, approximately 33 percent of claims are substantiated and investigated. This is because of the rigorous screening process currently in place for misconduct claims. In 2008, only 14 percent of claims were investigated. The number of retribution claims rose from 145 to 165 over the past five years, and complaints against all department officials rose 80 percent. According to the army’s inspector general, only four percent of Army claims are substantiated because there is rampant misuse of whistleblower retaliation in the branch. Many of the claims that come in are from soldiers and civilians held responsible for their misconduct or poor performance.
Discrepancies and Conflicts of Interest Among Accused Military Officers
Lawmakers charged with handling the misconduct allegations among military personnel have expressed concerns about conflicts of interest and discrepancies in disciplinary actions taken among officers of different ranks and service branches. One of these concerns is whether civilian investigators would be better suited to investigate misconduct claims than military investigators because with civilian investigators, there is no bias toward members of a specific service as there could be when individual military investigators are tasked with the job. Another concern is whether officers found guilty of the same act of misconduct are disciplined differently based on their service branches or if lower-ranking officers would face harsher punishments than senior officers.
New Jersey Whistleblower Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Misconduct Victims Seeking Compensation for Their DamagesWhen acts of misconduct occur in any work environment, the targeted individual and others in the workplace can be affected in severe, long-lasting ways. If you have witnessed misconduct in your workplace or have faced it yourself, you have the right to act as a whistleblower to seek justice. Fill out our online form or call 215-569-1999 today to schedule your initial consultation with a New Jersey whistleblower lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Our office is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we work with clients from the surrounding areas and throughout the state of New Jersey.