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An inspector general is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is "inspectors general".


The chief of police of Bangladesh is known as the inspector general of police. He is from Bangladesh Civil Service police cadre. The current inspector general of police is Hassan Mahmud Khondokar, and his predecessor was Noor Mohammad. There is another temporary post of inspector general of police, known as Poolish Shomonnoyok (Bengali language: পুলিশ সমন্বয়ক ) or "police coordinator", currently held by Bivuti Vooshon Choudhury.


The Inspector General of Brazil is officially titled the "Chief Minister of the Office of the Inspector General" (Portuguese language: Ministro-chefe da Controladoria-Geral da União ). He is a cabinet-level minister charged with overseeing public finances and transparency and combating corruption.


Shoulder insignia of a police inspecteur général (France)

Insignia of an Indian Police Service officer with rank of inspector general of police

In the French Civil Service, an inspector general (inspecteur général) is a member of a body of civil servants known as inspection générale, generally of a high level, charged with a nationwide mission to inspect some specific services and provide government officials with advice regarding that service. For example:

  • Inspection générale des Finances (Ministry of Finances)
  • Inspection générale de l'Éducation Nationale (Ministry of National Education: teaching issues)
  • Inspection générale de l'administration de l'Éducation Nationale (Ministries of National Education and Research: administrative issues)
  • French National Police "internal affairs"
    • Inspection générale de la Police Nationale (except Paris and close suburbs)
    • Inspection générale des services of the Prefecture of Police (Paris and surroundings).

The inspection générale des Finances is particularly prestigious as a job appointment after studies at the École Nationale d'Administration. In recent decades, many of its members have occupied various high positions in lieu of their traditional mission of inspection. The corps has come under increased criticism for this.


During World War II, Colonel General Heinz Guderian was appointed Inspector General of Armoured Troops on 1 March 1943, reporting directly to Adolf Hitler.

Since the reestablishment of the German armed forces after World War II, the Inspector General of the Federal Armed Forces (Generalinspekteur der Bundeswehr) is the highest-ranking soldier, responsible for the overall military planning and the principal military advisor of the Federal Minister of Defense and the Federal Government. Head of the Command Staff of the Armed Forces (Führungsstab der Streitkräfte), his position is broadly equivalent to that of the American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[citation needed]

In the German federal police (Bundespolizei), the highest-ranking police officer is called inspector of the federal police as well, although this position is a more coordinating than commanding one. For all state alert police services there also exists an inspector (Inspekteur der Bereitschaftspolizeien der Länder). Even every of the sixteen German state police departements has an inspector, as the highest-ranking police officer. The state police presidents are normally not police officers. They are administration officials. The competence for police services in Germany is assigned to the federal states of Germany. The federal police is a coordinating police département with only a few competences, e.g. in border control or airport and trial security.

In the scope of responsibility of the state police departments the federal police can only act with permission or request of the local state police.


In India the inspector general of police or joint commissioner of police is a two-star rank officer and one of the senior most officers in the state police forces which are usually the head of the police force in each city. All inspector generals and joint commissioners are Indian Police Service officers. They are in some states the commissioner of police for the city, that is they head a police force for a particular city. The rank insignia of an inspector general of police or joint commissioner of police is one star above crossed sword and baton.

Indian Coast Guard also has the rank of Inspector General. The Coast Guard Regions are commanded by Officers of the rank of Inspector General.


The Army's Inspector General (generalinspektøren for hæren — GIH) is the immediate superior of the commanding officer of special forces FSK.[1]


In Pakistan, the inspector general of police or provincial police officer or inspector general of prisons is a two-star rank who heads the police force or all prisons in a province The inspector general of police is usually a Police Service of Pakistan officer appointed by the federal government with consent of the provincial chief minister. The inspector general of prisons is a provincial service officer selected and appointed from the deputy inspectors general of prisons or senior superintendents of jails of the respective province. The rank insignia of an inspector general of police or inspector general of prisons is the national emblem or one pip containing the national emblem above a crossed sword and baton worn on both shoulder flashes.


The office of General Inspector of the Armed Forces existed in the Second Polish Republic and was held, among others, by Józef Piłsudski.


In Romania, inspector general is the title given to the head of the Romanian Police, Romanian Border Police, Romanian Gendarmerie and the Romanian General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (whose central commands are called "general inspectorates").

United Kingdom


In the British tradition, an inspector general is usually a senior military officer responsible for the inspection of military units to ensure that they meet appropriate standards of training and efficiency. Unlike American inspectors general, they do not usually have an investigative or law enforcement function.

For many years the Royal Air Force maintained a post of Inspector General.


The commanding officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary (and later of the Royal Ulster Constabulary until replaced by chief constable) and many Commonwealth police forces also bore the title of inspector general of police and it is still used in India and some other former British territories.

The inspector general is also the name given to the chief executive officer of the Insolvency Service.

Inspector and variants of it are rank titles of officers in the police of Britain and most Commonwealth countries.

United States

General IG emblem.

In the United States, an inspector general leads an organization charged with examining the actions of a government agency, military organization, or military contractor as a general auditor of their operations to ensure they are operating in compliance with generally established policies of the government, to audit the effectiveness of security procedures, or to discover the possibility of misconduct, waste, fraud, theft, or certain types of criminal activity by individuals or groups related to the agency's operation, usually involving some misuse of the organization's funds or credit. In the United States, there are numerous offices of inspector general at the federal, state, and local levels.

Federal offices of inspectors general

There are 73 federal offices of inspectors general,[2] a significant increase since the statutory creation of the initial 12 offices by the Inspector General Act of 1978.[3] The offices employ special agents (criminal investigators, often armed) and auditors. In addition, federal offices of inspectors general employ forensic auditors, or "audigators," evaluators, inspectors, administrative investigators, and a variety of other specialists. Their activities include the detection and prevention of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of the government programs and operations within their parent organizations. Office investigations may be internal, targeting government employees, or external, targeting grant recipients, contractors, or recipients of the various loans and subsidies offered through the thousands of federal domestic and foreign assistance programs.[4] The Inspector General Reform Act of 2008[5] (IGRA) amended the 1978 Act[3] by increasing pay and various powers and creating the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).[6] The current acting Inspector General, Mary Kendall, has focused on the Minerals Management Service and their oversight of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig that exploded off the Gulf Coast.[7]

Some inspectors general, the heads of the offices, are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate.[8] For example, both the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the inspector general of the U.S. Agency for International Development are presidentially appointed. The remaining inspectors general are designated by their respective agency heads,[9] such as the U.S. Postal Service inspector general.[10] Presidentially appointed IGs can only be removed, or terminated, from their positions by the President of the United States, whereas designated inspectors general can be terminated by the agency head.[11] However, in both cases Congress must be notified of the termination, removal, or reassignment.

While the IG Act of 1978 requires that inspectors general be selected based upon their qualifications and not political affiliation, Presidentially appointed inspectors general are considered political appointees and are often selected, if only in part and in addition to their qualifications, because of their political relationships and party affiliation. An example of the role political affiliation plays in the selection of an inspector general, and the resulting pitfalls, can be seen in the 2001 Republican appointment (and resignation under fire) of Janet Rehnquist[12] (daughter of former Chief Justice of the United States, William Rehnquist) to the post of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[13]

Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) logo.

While all of the federal offices of inspector generals operate separate of one another, they share information and some coordination through the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).[14] As of 2010, the CIGIE[15] comprised 68 offices. In addition to their inspector general members, CIGIE includes non-inspector general representatives from the federal executive branch, such as executives from the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Government Ethics, the Office of Special Counsel, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. CIGIE also provides specialized training to the inspector general community. Further evidence of coordination between federal offices of inspector generals can be seen by the public through the offices' shared website,[16] and the use of shared training facilities and resources, such as the Inspector General Criminal Investigator Academy (IGCIA),[17] and their Inspector General Community Auditor Training Team (IGCATS),[18] which are hosted by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).

Evidence of the offices' return on investment to taxpayers can be seen through their semi-annual reports to Congress, most of which are available on each office's website.[2]

Since the post-9/11 enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002,[19] resulting in the amendment of the IG Act of 1978, Section 6e, most presidentially appointed IG special agents have had full law enforcement authority to carry firearms, make arrests, and execute search warrants. Prior to this time, most presidentially appointed IG and some designated IG special agents had the equivalent law enforcement authorities as a result of other statutes or annually required deputation by the U.S. Marshals Service. The 2002 amendment to the IG Act of 1978 made most deputation of presidentially appointed IG special agents unnecessary. Some designated IG special agents, however, still have full law enforcement authority today by virtue of this continued deputation. Some OIGs employ no criminal investigators and rely solely on administrative investigators, auditors, and inspectors.

U.S. offices of inspector general

Presidentially appointed inspectors general
  • Agency for International Development (AID-OIG)[20]
  • Agriculture, Department of]] (USDA-OIG)[21] 20px * Central Intelligence Agency (CIA-OIG) * Commerce, Department of (DOC-OIG)[22] * Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS-OIG)[23] * Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense (DOD-OIG)[24] * Education, Department of (ED-OIG)[25] * Energy, Department of (DOE-OIG)[26] * Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-OIG)[27] * Export-Import Bank of the United States (EIB-OIG)[28] * Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG)[29] * General Services Administration (GSA-OIG)[30] * Health and Human Services, Department of (U.S.) (HHS-OIG)[13] * Homeland Security, Department of (DHS-OIG)[31] * Housing and Urban Development, Department of (U.S.) (HUD-OIG)[32] * Interior, Department of (DOI-OIG)[33] * Justice, Department of (DOJ-OIG)[34] * Labor, Department of (DOL-OIG)[35] [[File:United States Department of Labor Office of Inspector General Seal.jpg|inline|170px
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA-OIG)[36]
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC-OIG)[37]
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM-OIG)[38]
  • Railroad Retirement Board (RRB-OIG)[39]
  • Small Business Administration (SBA-OIG)[40] inline
  • Social Security Administration (SSA-OIG)[41] inline
  • State, Department of — Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) (DOS-OIG)[42]
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA-OIG)[43] inline
  • Transportation, Department of (DOT-OIG)[44]
  • Treasury, Department of the (Treasury OIG)[45]
  • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) of the Department of the Treasury[46]
  • Veterans Affairs, Department of (VA-OIG)[47] inline
Designated federal entity inspectors general
  • National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)[48] inline
  • Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC-OIG)[49]
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC-OIG)[50]
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC-OIG)[51]
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPD-OIG)[52]
  • Denali Commission, The[53]
  • Election Assistance Commission (EAC-OIG)[54]
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC-OIG)[55]
  • Farm Credit Administration (FCA-OIG)[56]
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC-OIG)[57] inline
  • Federal Election Commission (FEC-OIG)[58]
  • Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB-OIG)[59]
  • Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA-OIG)[60]
  • Federal Maritime Commission (FMC-OIG)[61]
  • Federal Reserve Board (FRB-OIG)[62]
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC-OIG)[63] inline
  • International Trade Commission, U.S. (USITC-OIG)[64]
  • Legal Services Corporation (LSC-OIG)[65]
  • National Archives and Records Administration[66]
  • National Credit Union Administration (NCUA-OIG)[67]
  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA-OIG)[68]
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH-OIG)[69]
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB-OIG)[70]
  • National Science Foundation (NSF-OIG)[71]
  • Peace Corps[72]
  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC-OIG)[73]
  • Postal Regulatory Commission (formerly Postal Rate Commission) (PRC-OIG)[74]
  • Postal Service, U.S. (USPS-OIG)[10] inline
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC-OIG)[75]
  • Smithsonian Institution[76]
Special inspectors general
  • Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)[77] - appointed by President
  • Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) - appointed by Secretary of Defense in consultation with Secretary of State
  • Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP)[78] - appointed by President with Senate confirmation
Legislative agency inspectors general
  • Architect of the Capitol (AOC-OIG)[79]
  • Capitol Police, U.S. (USCP-OIG)[80]
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO-OIG)[81]
  • Government Printing Office (GPO-OIG)[82]
  • Library of Congress (LOC-OIG)[83]
Other federal inspectors general

U.S. military

Within the United States Armed Forces, the position of inspector general is normally part of the personal staff serving a general or flag officer in a command position. The inspector general's office functions in two ways. To a certain degree they are ombudsmen for their branch of service. However, their primary function is to ensure the combat readiness of subordinate units in their command.

An armed services inspector general also investigate noncriminal allegations and some specific criminal allegations, to include determining if the matter should be referred for criminal investigation by the service's criminal investigative agency.

The Air Force Inspector General Complaints Program, described in the Airman's Guide by Boone Nicolls, was established to address the concerns of Air Force active duty, reserve, and Guard members, civilian employees, family members, and retirees, as well as the interest of the Air Force. One of the first responsibilities of the Air Force inspector general is to operate a credible complaints program that investigates personnel complaints: Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA) allegations; congressional inquiries; and issues involving the Air Force mission. Personnel complaints and FWA disclosures to the IG help commanders correct problems that affect the productivity, mission accomplishment, and morale of assigned personnel, which are areas of high concern to Air Force leaders at all levels.[84]


Vatican City

In the Vatican City State, the inspector general is the commanding officer of the state police force, the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City. He is also the chief bodyguard for the pope, and accompanies the pontiff when he visits foreign countries.

See also

  • Ombudsman
  • Regulatory agency


  1. Glossary of Endgame by Knut Braa,p.270 "FSK er direkte underlagt GIH - generalinspektøren for Hæren - og med det tillagt stor nærhet til strategisk nivå og stor operativ makt.",ISBN 978-82-8143-198-0
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. Federal domestic and foreign assistance programs
  6. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Stimulus Bill and Strings: Massive Federal Spending Will Be Accompanied by Increased Inspectors General Oversight and Investigations. Inspectors General Investigations Alert. Bill was passed as H.R.928 - Improving Government Accountability Act (OpenCongress link).
  8. (PDF)
  10. 10.0 10.1
  13. 13.0 13.1
  18. Inspector General Community Auditor Training Team (IGCATS)
  19. Homeland Security Act of 2002 (PDF)
  20. OIG
  21. OIG
  23. CNCS-OIG
  25. OIG
  26. OIG
  27. OIG
  28. OIG
  31. OIG
  45. OIG
  84. Boone Nicolls, Airman's Guide. Stackpole Books, 2007 (ISBN 0-8117-3397-7), p. 135.

External links

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