CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Major Mary Anderlonis, Command Inspector General, 1st Marine Logistics Group, of Denver, speaks about her role as an inspector general and how it plays into the Marine Corps’ readiness.
Q: What is an IG?
A: It is the force multiplier of the Marine Corps. We make sure that the units are ready for whatever might come their way and that they are maintaining a level of professionalism that America expects from her Marine Corps. The Command Inspector General is a staff officer responsible for conducting inspections, investigations and assistance inquiries. The IG conducts inspections to review the effectiveness, efficiency, and maintains institutional integrity of Marine Corps standards, programs and compliance.
Q: What is their role in the Marine Corps?
A: The history of the IG goes back a long way. He or she is essentially the eyes and ears of the Commandant and the Secretary of the Navy to ensure rules and regulations are complied with throughout the Marine Corps. The IG is anchored in our ability to ensure units are 100% operational mission ready by facilitating the Commanding General’s Inspection Program and advocate the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ policies and procedures of good order and discipline, to better educate and train our Marines, Sailors, and civilians to succeed.
Q: What services do they provide to Marines and Sailors?
A: The Inspector General provides services such as the management of the Command Hotline Program, Request Masts, Military Reprisal and Improper Mental Health Evaluation inspections, complaint analysis and responds to Congressional and White House Correspondence.
Q: Can the Marines expect to keep their cases confidential?
A: Absolutely! Confidentiality and anonymity is a priority and the hallmark of the IG. The IG exercises fairness, impartiality and timeliness of information. However, if it’s a matter that places someone in danger and the IG deems it necessary for the safety of an individual to disclose information, then that becomes our duty. Information will be released to only those in the need to know.
Q: What is the CIG hotline program?
A: This was set up with the focus of fraud, waste and abuse in mind, but it can be used for any type of violation of an order or regulation that you might witness. The office of Inspector General Hotline Program receives and handles allegations regarding fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement or misconduct affecting the Marine Corps standards, policy, programs and operations. We are really not only there for the commander or the command but for the Marines who make up the command as well.
Q: What does it mean that you are the “Eyes and Ears” of the CG?
A: This refers to the IG’s mission… “To help uphold the Corps’ quality and effectiveness through rigorous and objective assessments and investigations...” The IG provides the CG and commanders with a candid, unbiased, and professional assessment of the command. It acts to identify either weakness or best practices in the command; in addition, the IG office exists to assist commanders with the mission of creating a trustworthy leadership atmosphere.
Q: What type of inspections do you conduct?
A: Ultimately, there are three types of inspections: general, special, and follow-up. General inspections are referred to as compliance inspections and special inspections are called systematic inspections.
Q: How can Marines better prepare for an IG inspection?
A: We don’t want units to do anything that they wouldn’t do otherwise. We don’t expect for you to get all the 300 Combat Fitness Test and Physical Fitness Testers out there and make sure you finish the CFT the fastest. We basically come to see if you understand the Marine Corps orders on physical fitness and if you understand the orders that apply to the conduct of those tests. Marines are doing that already and so ideally you wouldn’t have to prepare any other way than you already do. Basically, just follow the appropriate Marine Corps Orders, directives, instructions, and maintain the facilities according to those orders. Review functional area checklists annually for compliance with existing policies and relevance to the operation environment.
Q: Why are these inspections so important to the Marine Corps?
A: I think it’s really important to have IG inspections because the last 12 years have shown us that we can shift to a very forward minded focus and most Marines at 1st MLG have deployed two, three, four and even five times to both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001and during that time period we haven’t had so much time to come back, reset, retrain and make sure we are finding brilliance in the basics. It’s something that we as Marines pride ourselves on, but when you are forward focused you aren’t thinking so much whether or not our uniforms are squared away or things of that nature. Inspections improve unit readiness. They identify emerging readiness trends to the Commanders and disseminate best business practices.
Q: What role do you play in the reawakening?
A: We really need to get back to the basics. Take for example drill. For many Marines, it’s not something they practice on a daily basis anymore. It demonstrates a level of discipline and ability to follow orders that carries into a war zone and that’s why we do it. What we can do is come in, inspect and ensure that that level of discipline is upheld. Inspector General’s office helps to recover by detecting and preventing fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps programs and operations within individual units. We also recognize unit and individual excellence.
Q: Why did you join the Marine Corps?
A: I joined the Marine Corps, like many Marines, because I had this call to be something greater than myself. I was taught from a very young age how truly blessed we are to be living in this country and I was raised with a sense of public service and giving back. I joined not only because I wanted to challenge myself, but I had a sense to give back to this great country I was privileged to be born in.
Q: What advice do you have for junior Marines and Sailors that are thinking about re-enlisting?
A: It’s important to look at things as a big picture and look at the long run. Identify what your career goals and your family goals are and try to develop a road map for your career and see how you can make both work together.