Combating fraud, waste and abuse

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Michael T. Kirkpatrick
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Inspector General

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Fraud, waste and abuse quietly drain resources away from our Wing, impacts the Air Force’s mission capability and ultimately hits the taxpayer in the pocketbook.

Let’s take a look at what each of these words – fraud, waste and abuse -- mean according to Air Force Instruction 90-301, “Inspector General Complaints Resolution.”

Fraud is any intentional deception designed to unlawfully deprive the government of something of value. It is also attempting to get by deception a benefit, privilege, allowance or consideration to which the individual is not entitled.

Such practices include but are not limited to making false statements, submitting false claims, falsifying records or diversion of resources for personal gain.

Waste is the extravagant, careless or needless expenditure of Air Force funds. It is also the consumption of Air Force property that results from deficient practices, systems, controls or decisions. Legitimate stockpiles and reserves for wartime needs, which may appear redundant and costly, are not considered waste.

Abuse is intentional wrongful or improper use of Air Force resources. Abuse includes misuse of rank, position or authority that causes the loss or misuse of resources such as tools, vehicles, computers or copy machines.

Each one of us is responsible for finding and resolving fraud, waste, and abuse.  If we individually adhere to the Air Force Core Values -- Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do – incidences of fraud, waste and abuse should be very limited.

Does this relieve management’s responsibility? Of course not.

Fraud, waste and abuse tends to increase when deviation from established procedures is tolerated. Leaders must establish internal controls to protect resources. Internal controls include personnel, accounting, administrative, technical procedures and physical barriers. When these internal controls are weak or absent, the unit is vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse -- the “silent thief.”

When you see fraud, waste or abuse in your unit, tell your supervisor or the person responsible for the affected area. If that doesn’t seem to fix the problem, your next resource is the agency chief or commander.

If you think there is a breakdown in the system, the Wing Inspector General is always available to you.

Reducing fraud, waste and abuse is a team effort. It is an individual and a team responsibility to prevent and report it through appropriate channels.

The Wing Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline is 580-213-6300 or DSN 448-6300.