What is a “protected communication?”

A protected communication is defined as:

  • Any lawful communication to a member of Congress or an Inspector General.
  • A communication in which a member of the Armed Forces provides information that the member reasonably believes evidences a violation of law or regulation, including sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, mismanagement, a gross waste of funds or other resources, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, when such communication is made to any of the following:
    • A member of Congress, an IG, or a member of a DOD audit, inspection, investigation, or law enforcement organization.
  • Any other person or organization (including any person or organization in the chain of command) designated under Component regulations or other established administrative procedures to receive such complaints. Section 591 of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, effective October 28, 2004, amends 10 U.S.C. 1034 to make clear that any individual within a military member’s chain of command may receive protected communications. “Chain of command” in this context includes not only the succession of commanders from a superior to a subordinate through which command is exercised, but also the succession of officers, enlisted, or civilian personnel through which administrative control is exercised, including supervision and rating of the member’s performance.

Show All Answers

1. Can I be disciplined for contacting an IG?
2. What is a “protected communication?”
3. What is “reprisal?”
4. Can I see the IG during normal duty hours?
5. What is a “third party complaint?”
6. What types of complaints are appropriate for the IG?
7. What types of complaints are not appropriate for the IG?
8. Can I talk to an IG “off the record?”
9. Who can file an IG complaint?
10. What IG do I or my family speak to if I am mobilized/deployed?
11. How do I contact the next higher level IG?
12. What information will the IG need from me?
13. Can an Inspector General order my supervisor to fix a problem?
14. Can I obtain the results of an Inspector General’s investigation/inquiry that I initiated?
15. What happens if someone knowingly provides false information to an IG?