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Monday, November 25, 2019

U.S. Army Col. Daniel Rice, the command inspector general of the Georgia National Guard, summed up his team’s success in assisting the former Soviet republic of Georgia in building its own inspector general capabilities.

“This is how we train an IG.”

The Georgia Guard’s relationship with the Georgian Ministry of  Defense dates to the 1990s, but progress developing a viable inspector general system has come in the past several years, starting with Rice’s predecessor.

Upon assuming the state IG position in July 2017, “I immediately recognized a need for [the Georgian Ministry of Defense] to see a higher-level, soup-to-nuts IG program,” Rice said. He and his team traveled to the former Soviet bloc nation in September 2017, followed by another visit in January 2019.

“What we did a bit better this time around [in January] was we nested everything with the combatant command and the bilateral affairs officer much better than we had the first time,” Rice said.

The Georgia Guard team found the Georgians eager to implement U.S. Army IG procedures in a way that addresses their needs. Some of the effort has also involved the Department of the Army Inspector General School providing guidance on establishing standards and policies tailored to the Georgians’ needs.

“What’s encouraging to us is the receptiveness to refine their own processes. Hopefully we’re able to maintain the momentum,” Rice said.

Deep Roots

The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Army traces its roots to the height of the Revolutionary War in 1777. The following year, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a former Prussian officer, was commissioned in the Continental Army as a major general, serving as an adviser to Gen. George Washington.

Von Steuben discovered a chaotic, undisciplined, ill-trained, poorly equipped force, and immediately set about improving readiness. His main effort was the institution of a training regimen, using the “train the trainer” concept and writing regulations for new drills.

Once the training program began to take hold, von Steuben turned his sights to inspections, tactics, logistics and personnel management. He also worked to eradicate corruption and increase accountability at all levels of the Army.

Washington saw the improvement in readiness, and officially appointed von Steuben as inspector general on March 28, 1778. Washington convinced Congress to establish the Army inspector general system on May 5, 1778. Von Steuben remained inspector general until April 1784.

While von Steuben was not the first inspector general of the Army, he revolutionized the position. His system of improvements and inspections played a key role in the eventual defeat of the British. His system, focused on improving readiness, has served the Army well for over 240 years.

“The Inspector General’s office plays a critical role in advising and assisting leaders at every level of our Army to maintain our organizational values, readiness and effective promotion of well-being, good order and discipline,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville said.

Today, the Army is paying it forward with its allies and partners.

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U.S. Army Inspector General Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, far right, speaks with Georgian army Col. Zezva Liparteliani, military attache to the U.S., far left, and Davit Kariauli, head of general inspections with the Georgian Ministry of Defense, at the Penta
(Credit: U.S. Army/Laura Buchta)

Helping Hand

At the World Wide Inspector General Conference at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, this past April, allied and partner IG engagements were made a priority, in accordance with the Army Campaign Plan. Such outreach falls within the “teach and train” function of the Army Inspector General system. (The other three functions are inspections, assistance and investigations.)

Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, the 66th inspector general of the Army, stressed the importance of Army service component command (ASCC) IGs working with partner nations to establish or improve IG systems.

“Our goal is to ensure the ASCC commanders understand this tool is in their toolbox to increase readiness with partner and future partner nations,” Smith said.

In addition to the ASCCs, all 54 state and territory National Guard organizations participate in the State Partnership Program. Since 1993, the program has provided training and guidance to dozens of nations around the globe in support of U.S. and partner nation objectives.

Several state National Guard IG teams have established relationships with their partner country IG counterparts. Examples include Michigan with Liberia; Maryland with Bosnia-Herzegovina; and South Carolina and Colombia.

Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy is a strong proponent of the IG-to-IG outreach.

“Working closely with our international allies and partners is the bedrock of the strength of our nation. Our international inspector general partnerships build long-term interoperability and guide the advancement of mutual interests and military capabilities,” McCarthy said.

The U.S. Army Inspector General School, at Fort Belvoir, plays a central role in the development of allied and partner IGs. Established in 1983, the school is also the proponent for U.S. Army Inspector General policy and guidance, including Army Regulation 20-1: Inspector General Activities and Procedures.

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Col. Mark Lent, the Maryland National Guard inspector general, speaks at a Bosnia-Herzegovina Ministry of Defense inspector general conference.
(Credit: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Ryan Conroy)

Dean of Academics Stephen Rusiecki has been on the school staff since coming aboard as an active-duty officer in 2002. The school’s basic course graduates approximately 500 students a year, of whom about 10 are from other nations.

Rusiecki has participated in several mobile training teams and arranged for scores of international students to attend the IG School during his tenure.

His first advice to anyone assisting in developing an allied or partner nation IG system is to ensure standards are in place.

“We tell [other nations] off the bat, ‘We cannot help you build an IG system if you do not have published, measurable standards by which to measure the readiness of your force,’ ” Rusiecki said.

He also stressed the importance of ensuring a system is in place before an international student comes to the IG School for formal training. “If we do that [bring a student to the school] too prematurely, those graduates won’t have any kind of a system to fall in on,” he said.

According to IG School Commandant Col. Scott Kirkpatrick, eight international students are slated to complete the basic course in fiscal 2020. Since taking the helm in June, Kirkpatrick has launched initiatives to enhance strategic partnerships via IG School attendance.

One is to ensure all ASCC IGs and National Guard state IGs are aware of students from their respective areas of operation slated to attend the IG School. The other involves ensuring those students receive appropriate interactions with U.S. Army counterparts outside the standard curriculum.

“Our objective is to ensure all key stakeholders are aware of partnered attendance during our courses to set the conditions for enhanced professional dialogue and information-sharing before, during and after their training here at Fort Belvoir,” Kirkpatrick said.

Different Lenses

Rusiecki cited former Warsaw Pact nations and Soviet republics, such as Slovakia, Georgia and Baltic countries, as recent successes.

“We’ve had folks from Colombia and Trinidad, Kosovo. It goes back many years,” Rusiecki said. He also noted the U.K. stood down its IG function in the 1970s but resurrected it in 2009 with help from the IG School.

Among the challenges of establishing and sustaining allied and partner nation IG systems are changes in partner nation leadership, as well as cultural interpretations of the role of an IG. Rusiecki noted the core mission of the American IG system is to promote overall readiness, while other nations sometimes view it through the lens of auditing and anticorruption campaigns.

McConville wholeheartedly endorsed the IG engagements. “The inspector general’s inherent advise-and-assist role is also proving an effective tool in helping leaders in partner and allied nation militaries maintain or improve those same characteristics in their own formations,” he said.

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Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville endorses American IG engagements with partner nations.
(Credit: U.S. Army/Sgt. Dana Clarke)

The ministry of defense in the Bosnia-Herzegovina inspector general organization has also been a long-term success, according to Rusiecki. In August and November 2004, the Inspector General School sent staff members to Sarajevo to set up an IG training course, he said.

Three Bosnia-Herzegovina IGs have trained at the Inspector General School since 2016, and one is scheduled for this fiscal year. The Bosnia-Herzegovina IG program is doing well and is “self-sustaining,” according to Rusiecki.

In September, a delegation from the Maryland National Guard, led by the command IG, Col. Mark Lent, visited the Bosnia-Herzegovina IG team in Konjic, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Lent wrote afterward, “It was clear that the [Bosnia-Herzegovina armed forces] leadership was committed to maintaining a professional IG corps and using IGs to assist commanders in … improving readiness.”

Lent also reported the Bosnia-Herzegovina IG enterprise is modernizing rapidly, including the creation of a mobile app with IG information and a recent proposal to add NCOs to the IG field.

Building on those successes, the Maryland Guard is planning a joint inspector general and staff judge advocate training session with its Bosnia-Herzegovina partners in fiscal 2020. “They are absolutely committed to doing business like an American IG. They’re leading trust in public organizations,” Lent said.

In the Pacific, the U.S. Army has established a long-term IG partnership with Japan. The Japanese Ground Staff Office–similar to the Department of the Army—of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces has worked closely with U.S. Army Japan for years.

Col. Jeff Ramsey, the U.S. Army Japan IG, said Japanese Ground Staff Office IG personnel have worked with Army and Marine Corps IGs in the Pacific as well as visiting the Inspector General School. The Japanese Ground Staff Office is working up plans to send students to the school, and it continues to expand IG operations over time.

Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Lt. Col. Akira Mase, a deputy IG with the Japanese Ground Staff Office, values the liaison with the U.S. Army Japan IG team. “Since the Japanese Self-Defense Forces do not have any educational institution like the U.S. Army Inspector General School, it is very beneficial to receive wide-ranging advice regarding the U.S. IG system through discussions with the [U.S. Army Japan] IG Office to improve the quality of the [Japanese Ground Staff Office] IG system,” Mase said.

Making Progress

Meanwhile, the Georgia Guard IG team continues to develop and improve its relationship with the Georgian Ministry of Defense IGs. In June, Rice and his team hosted the Georgian IG team for a visit to the U.S. Army Inspector General Agency and a meeting with Smith.

The Georgian delegation also visited the Inspector General School before traveling to the state of Georgia to observe Georgia Guard personnel conduct IG activities and other training.

A third Georgian Ministry of Defense IG officer completed the IG School in late September, and Rice is working to get a mobile training team to visit the Georgian nation.

As an active-duty officer, Rice will transfer out of his current job, but he knows his Georgia Guard IG colleagues will work with Rice’s replacement to keep the momentum going.

“I’m going to rotate out, but I’ll ensure there’s a strong transition with my successor, so there will be that rapport that’s established and will continue to be built upon,” Rice said.

Smith said the outreach to allies and partners has borne fruit, and will continue to do so. “The No. 1 benefit I have observed is increased readiness and partnership on multiple levels. The training opportunities provided at the state IG, ASCC and Army level are unlimited. We just need to take advantage of these options,” he said.