Department of Defense Office of Inspector General FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions divided by category. Use the links below to jump directly to different sections.

DoD Hotline FAQs

Questions Regarding The DoD Hotline


Does the DoD Hotline take telephone complaints?

Yes. The most efficient means to file a complaint is via the online complaint form.




Do I have to identify myself?

Please see Read Before Filing for more information.


What other avenues of redress are available to me to resolve my complaints?

Please see What NOT to Report to the DoD Hotline for more information.


I am about to be fired, reprimanded, discharged, dismissed, or sentenced. Can you stop this?

Please see Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman for more information.


Can I submit my complaint directly to the DoD Inspector General or must I go to my local IG?

 Please see Read Before Filing for more information.


Can I come to your offices to file a Hotline complaint?

The DoD Hotline is not staffed to accept walk-in complaints. We encourage you to submit your complaint, and any supporting documentation, via the online complaint form. Our experience has shown that written complaints, in a Complainant's own words provide our office with the best starting point for analysis. If our office needs additional information, you will be contacted.




What happens after I file a complaint? Am I guaranteed an investigation?

You will receive an automated response from the DoD Hotline. An investigator will evaluate your complaint and determine if the matter warrants further inquiry. We appreciate your patience during this process, as the DoD Hotline receives a very high volume of complaints.

No one is guaranteed an inquiry. Certain matters do not fall under DoD OIG purview. The DoD OIG may not conduct an inquiry.

Generally, the DoD OIG does not conduct an inquiry if: (1) You have not used the prescribed process for military and civilian employees such as boards for correction of military records, Equal Opportunity/Equal Employment Opportunity, administrative grievance procedure, or 2) Another inquiry is being conducted into the matter.


Can I expect a DoD Hotline investigator to contact me after I file a complaint?

Please see Read Before Filing for more information.


Who can I speak with regarding my pay and allowance questions?

Pay issues are best serviced by the relevant Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) office. The following numbers are provided for your reference:

Military Pay:  1-888-332-7411
Army Military Pay:  1-888-729-2769
Civilian Pay:  1-800-538-9043 (DFAS Indianapolis) or 1-800-729-3277 (DFAS Cleveland)
Retired Military:  1-800-321-1080
Retired Civilian:  1-888-767-6738
Contract/Vendor Pay:  1-800-756-4571

To file a complaint regarding your pay and allowance issues, you may send correspondence to:


I have a dispute regarding a debt with the Department of Veterans Affairs or other agency. Can your office help me?

Federal delinquent debt is reported to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and under the Treasury Offset Program, delinquent accounts are subject to administrative offset (garnishment) to include federal salary offset or withholding of federal benefit amounts.

To better understand allowable offset amounts, you are encouraged to contact your relevant Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) office. The following numbers are provided for your reference:

Military Pay: 1-888-332-7411 Army Military Pay: 1-888-729-2769
Civilian Pay: 1-800-538-9043 (DFAS Indianapolis) or 1-800-729-3277 (DFAS Cleveland)
Retired Military: 1-800-321-1080
Retired Civilian: 1-888-767-6738
Contract/Vendor Pay: 1-800-756-4571

For additional information and contact numbers, you may also visit

If your concerns involve the actual offset amounts and percentages, or if you are disputing the total amount of the debt, or even the existence of the debt itself, you would better be serviced by contacting the Federal agency, office, or program from which the alleged debt originated. For example, if your dispute is regarding a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan, you must contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


Where can I get Wounded Warrior or other Veterans Crisis information/assistance?


Click here to visit

The National Resource Directory (NRD), also known as the Wounded Warrior Resource Center, is a website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, and their families with those who support them. The NRD is a partnership between the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs (VA). 

This site provides access to services and resources at the national, state, and local levels to support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. Visitors can find information on a variety of topics including benefits & compensation, education & training, employment, family & caregiver support, health, suicide prevention, homeless assistance, housing, transportation & travel, as well as many other services and resources. 

If you are a military veteran and are in emotional crisis, the VA (partnered with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) developed the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). You may call this line 24/7, free of charge, to speak with a trained counselor.

The Veterans Crisis Line:  800-273-TALK (8255)

National Call Center for Homeless Veterans:  877-4AID-VET (424-3838)

Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support Line:  855-260-3274

Wounded Warrior Resource Center:  800-342-9647

Wounded Warrior Program (AW2)
Telephone: 877-393-9058; DSN 312-221-9113

Telephone: 877-746-8563

Wounded Warrior Regiment
Telephone:  877-487-6299 (24 hours; 365 days of the year)

Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2)
Telephone:  800-581-9437

Another great resource for military personnel and their families is Military OneSource. Whether it is help with child care, personal finances, emotional support during deployments, relocation information, or resources needed for special circumstances, Military OneSource is available for resource assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year at:, or over the phone at 800-342-9647.



With respect to resources DoD may have for service members having difficulties with re-adjustment or post traumatic stress disorder, the following information is offered by the official DoD website:

Survivor Support Groups: We recommend that the first stop for family members be to contact the Family Support Center, chaplain, or Life Skills Support Center (LSSC) for assistance with locating survivor support groups in the community. The list below includes a number of private, as well as government, resources. Listing of the private sites is not intended as an official endorsement of those programs.

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS): TAPS is a national network of peer support for military survivors. They provide referrals to grief counseling options. More information is available at:

Emotional Distress & Stress management web sites listed below:

Department of Veterans Affairs: (free counseling available)

National Veterans Foundation:

Listing of State Directors of Veterans Affairs:

Air Force Aid Society:

Navy & Marine Public Health Center:

Deployment Health Clinical Center web site is





FAQs Links By Service Branch For Assistance


Whistleblower FAQs

Is it illegal?
Those contemplating blowing the whistle on alleged wrongdoing within the Defense Department are best advised to understand the context of their actions and the legal protections available, before they blow the whistle. Some actions, for instance, are not protected because they are illegal. See Congressional Research Service, Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information (Dec. 6, 2010).

How may I transmit classified information to the Congress? 
Only those individuals with appropriate courier cards, courier documentation and properly prepared packages are permitted to lawfully courier classified information. The couriering of all Top Secret and SCI/SAP information must be coordinated with your Office of Security/SSO. Receipt on the Congressional end must be through an approved Senate or House office.

What can be reviewed in terms of security clearance due process? 
The Merit Systems Protection Board is currently reviewing the administrative precedent regarding security clearance due process review. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel filed an amicus in the proceeding, which has a summary of the issues. 

What whistleblower protections are available for Department of Defense employees working in the Intelligence and Counterintelligence fields? 
Though not under the title 5 jurisdiction of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, DoD intelligence and counterintelligence employees have protection through directives and instructions in each agency. The Inspector General Act of 1978 allows the DoD OIG to investigate reprisal against these employees.



What is DCIS?
The Defense Criminal Investigative Service is a civilian federal law enforcement agency with offices across the United States and overseas. DCIS Special Agents investigate federal crimes, carry firearms, make arrests, conduct undercover operations and searches, and use specialized investigative techniques.

What is DCIS’s mission?
To conduct highly relevant, objective, professional investigations of matters critical to DoD property, programs, and operations that provide for our national security with emphasis on life, safety, and readiness.

What are DCIS’s investigative priorities?

  • Procurement Fraud and Public Corruption
  • Product Substitution
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Illegal Transfer of Sensitive DoD Technology
  • Cyber Crime and Computer Network Intrusions

How many people work in DCIS?
DCIS is made up of approximately 340 Special Agents and 60 Support Staff.

How long has DCIS existed? 
DCIS was created on April 28, 1982 when Deputy Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci formally established the Defense Criminal Investigative Service in the office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Review and Oversight (ATSD(R&O)).

Does DCIS only investigate military people?
DCIS has the legal authority to investigate military personnel, government and non-government civilians, foreign citizens, and U.S. and foreign companies alleged to have defrauded the Department of Defense or criminally impacted DoD programs or operations.

Where can I read about cases DCIS has been involved with? 
You can read about DCIS cases in our Information Release catalog.

What organizations does DCIS partner with?
DCIS partners with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement as needed.  We frequently work with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Army Criminal Investigations Command, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  Other Office of Inspector General partners include Veterans Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Justice.

How do I become a special agent? 
The steps are located on our Become a DCIS Special Agent page.

What do I do if I witness fraud, waste, and abuse impacting the DoD?
You can report fraud, waste and abuse through the DoD Hotline.

Where is my local DCIS office? 
See where our field offices are located on our DCIS Field Office Locations page.



  • What is the Freedom of Information Act?
    The Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. § 552) provides the public with a means of access to records maintained by the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government. The FOIA is a disclosure statute, but it does allow for the withholding of certain types of information contained in agency records. The FOIA also gives requesters specific legal rights and provides administrative and judicial remedies when access to records, or portions of records, is denied.
  • Can the DoD, Office of Inspector General (OIG) release records from other DoD components, such as the Department of the Navy, the U.S. Central Command, or the Defense Logistics Agency?
    No.  The DoD has a decentralized system for responding to FOIA requests, and the DoD Office of Inspector General can only release records originated by the DoD, Office of Inspector General. Records originated by another DoD component should be requested directly by that component to avoid processing delays. For additional information on other DoD component FOIA Requester Service Centers visit the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff Freedom of Information Act Requester Service Center or
  • How do I submit a FOIA request to the DoD OIG FOIA Requester Service Center?
    Visit “Submit a FOIA Request” for information on how to submit a FOIA request to the DoD OIG.
  •  How long will it take to process my request?
    This is entirely dependent on the complexity of your request, the availability of the records, the volume of responsive records, and the need for consultation. The DoD OIG FOIA Requester Service Center receives a high volume of requests; therefore, we routinely have a backlog of pending requests. Requests are processed on a first-in, first-out basis.
  • What format will be used to provide any documents produced as a result of my request?
    We generally provide responsive documents via electronic transmission through email, but we will provide documents in the form or format requested, providing the requested format is available.
  • How can I check on the status of my request?
    When the FOIA Office receives your request, a reply is sent to you advising you of the FOIA request tracking number. If you do not receive this notice, please contact (703) 604-9775 or Your subject line should reflect "Status Inquiry". You must provide your name, the request date, and the subject of your request in order for the FOIA Requester Service Center to locate your request.
  • What can I do if I am not satisfied with the response that I receive regarding my FOIA request?
    The FOIA allows requesters to file an administrative appeal for an adverse determination in response to a request. Details about how to file an appeal are included in the final response letter and are available on our Appeals page.
  • What is the Department of Defense policy as it relates to releasing "Lists of Names" of DoD personnel?
    The DoD does not routinely release lists of names of DoD personnel. This includes active duty military, civilian employees, contractors, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and military dependents. Please see Director of Administration and Management Memorandum, Subject: Withholding of Personally Identifying Information Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), November 9, 2001, for further information pertaining to this policy.