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News | Jan. 31, 2024

Press Release: Whistleblower Reprisal Investigation U.S. Army Cyber Command Fort Belvoir, Virginia (DODIG-2024-051)

Inspector General Robert P. Storch announced today that the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General released the report, “Whistleblower Reprisal Investigation: U.S. Army Cyber Command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.”

The investigation found that, after the Complainant made a series of protected disclosures that reflected poorly on the agency’s ability to perform its mission effectively, two Subjects thereafter reprised against the Complainant.  The OIG found that the first Subject removed the Complainant’s supervisory duties, submitted derogatory information about the Complainant to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) Consolidated Adjudication Services (CAS), proposed the termination of their employment, and issued them a performance evaluation with an overall rating of 1 – Unacceptable; and the second Subject terminated the Complainant’s employment.

“Retaliation is unacceptable in the workplace,” said IG Storch. “Following up on a complaint to the DoD Hotline, this investigation identified a series of retaliatory measures taken against an individual who had brought forward evidence of wrongdoing. It is important to encourage personnel, at the DoD and throughout the government, to come forward when they see something they reasonably believe is wrong. Protecting such whistleblowers from reprisal is vital to the ability to detect and deter fraud, waste, and abuse within the Department of Defense.”

The DoD OIG recommended that the Secretary of the Army take a number of remedial and corrective actions, consisting of the following:

  • Directing the removal of the Complainant’s termination and unsatisfactory performance evaluation from their personnel record.
  • Providing the Complainant with all appropriate back pay and restoration of lost benefits due to the Subjects’ retaliatory actions.
  • Adjusting the Complainant’s time-in-grade and step to restore the rank or seniority to which they would have been entitled absent the termination of their employment.
  • Providing the Complainant with all appropriate compensatory damages, including a payment to fulfill the terms of their student loan repayment agreement.
  • Providing the Complainant compensation for reasonable attorney’s fees and any other reasonable costs they incurred in this matter.
  • Considering appropriate action against the second Subject for reprising against the Complainant.

As the first Subject retired from federal service, the DoD OIG recommended to the Director, Washington Headquarters Services, that a copy of the report be placed in their DoD personnel file.

Whistleblower Protection for DoD Employees
The DoD OIG conducts whistleblower reprisal investigations involving Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System employees and all employees with access to classified information within the DoD under Presidential Policy Directive 19, “Protecting Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information,” October 10, 2012, as implemented within the DoD by Directive-type Memorandum 13-008, “DoD Implementation of Presidential Policy Directive 19,” July 8, 2013 (Incorporating Change 5, Effective April 19, 2021).