New DoD Directive 5505.6 on investigations of allegations against Senior DoD Officials
DoD Directive (DoDD) 5505.06 - what's new?All allegations against senior officials must be provided to the DoD IG within 5 days.
All allegations will be vigorously investigated.
Particularly, allegations of discrimination by senior officials, is listed as one of the most serious concerns.
What are reporting protections under DoDD 5505.6Personally identifiable information must be protected. The Directive calls for establishing limits on access of the persons who are investigated. It states that measures wll be developed to (1) Protect the identity of witnesses and other persons involved in investigations. (2) Protect the confidentiality and sensitivity of materials obtained during the investigative process. (3) Ensure that information covered by this directive is handled to avoid unauthorized disclosure.
What is alleged misconduct under DoDD 5505.6?The directive defines alleged misconduct as "allegations of misconduct." A credible allegation that, if proven, would constitute:
A violation of a provision of criminal law, including chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (also known as "The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)") (Reference (i)).
A violation of a recognized standard such as Reference (d), or other federal, DoD, or Service regulations.
Any other conduct of concern to DoD leadership or that could reasonably be expected to be of significance to the Secretary of Defense, especially when there is an element of misuse of position or of unauthorized personal benefit to the senior official, a family member, or an associate."
What is an investigation under DoDD 5505.6The investigation is defined as "any investigative work conducted to address allegations against senior officials, beyond the initial review of an allegation to determine whether it meets the definition of misconduct. The term "investigation" as used in this directive:
Includes full investigations, as well as preliminary inquiries, complaint analyses, and other investigative activities that may be employed by DoD Components to establish the scope of investigative work warranted or, alternatively, to conclude that further investigation is not warranted. Does not include initial reviews of standards that may apply to the allegations or communications with the complainant to clarify an allegation."
What should you do?If you are a senior official and you believe that you are being investigated, you should immediately contact a military law attorney to assist you in responding to the investigation. Since the standard of proof is preponderance of evidence, you essentially may have to conduct your own investigation to combat some of the allegations against you. During the investigation, the investigating officer and the chain of command will have their own attorneys, and so should you. This is not legal advice and you should consult with a military law attorney if you have any specific questions.