Junior Officers Are Now Tracked in Air Force's Misconduct Probes Database

An airman holds her future second lieutenant bars. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Milton Hamilton)
An airman holds her future second lieutenant bars. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Milton Hamilton)

The Air Force has quietly expanded a database used to keep tabs on airmen under investigation to include all of its officer ranks.

The Automated Case Tracking System, or ACTS, in use by the service since 2003, previously had applied only to field-grade officers -- majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels -- in line for promotion. Last year, the Air Force expanded the database tracking to second lieutenants and above, Military.com has learned.

ACTS is primarily used to record and track Inspector General investigations, which must be reported up to the service level, per Defense Department and Air Force policy, according to Air Force spokeswoman Erika Yepsen said in a recent email.

In 2012, the service expanded the database to include "all open investigations and adverse information for field grade officers, as directed by DoD, to comply with General Officer Promotions policy," she said.

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"The DoD policy required a 10-year look back for O-6 Colonels meeting an O-7 Brigadier General promotion board; therefore, the Air Force Inspector General determined that [its office] would collect and track open investigations and adverse information on all field grade officers [major, lieutenant colonel and colonel] to meet this requirement," she wrote.

To comply with changes to the processing of officer promotion appointments pending investigation the addressing of any other adverse information, "the collection of open investigations and adverse information was expanded for all officers, using the same database -- ACTS," Yepsen wrote.

"Although the Air Force has historically done well at vetting senior officers, we recently took steps to improve screening of junior officers by instructing all commanders to notify the local Inspector General when a commander-directed investigation, inquiry or any other investigation of any officer has been initiated and the resolution of such investigations," her email states.

ACTS primarily tracks IG investigations and dispositions, but also "administrative or adverse misconduct data not tracked by other Air Force databases, such as commander-directed investigations," Yepsen wrote.

ACTS doesn't record criminal accusations and cases because those are tracked by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and Security Forces databases, officials said.

The data is available to inspectors general for review, with access based on their level.

The IG at Air Force headquarters, for instance, can access all ACTS cases across the service. A major command IG may see only the ACTS cases within their respective command, while installation IGs may access cases only within their base, Yepsen said.

The policy change will not drastically alter the promotions system because withholding a promotion during an investigation is standard practice for all boards, per DoD Instruction 1320.04, "Military Officer Actions Requiring Presidential, Secretary of Defense, or Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Approval or Senate Confirmation."

The centralized ACTS process "will improve the Air Force's oversight of alleged adverse information for junior officers," Yepsen said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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