|United States Navy|
Naval Inspector General
|First holder||Charles P. Snyder|
The Office of Naval Inspector General for the United States Department of the Navy was established during World War II to make investigations as directed by the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. The current mission of the Naval Inspector General is "to inspect, investigate, or inquire into matters of importance to the Department of the Navy and maintain the highest level of public confidence".
In February 1942, while undergoing conversion in New York harbor, USS Lafayette caught fire and subsequently capsized. In addition to one person being killed in the disaster, the loss of such a prestigious and well-known ship was a tremendous embarrassment to the Navy. Congress launched an investigation into the disaster to determine if the ship's loss was an act of foreign sabotage or merely negligence. In its report, Congress expressed frustration with the multiple investigative agencies within the Navy. The committee felt that the Navy Department needed an office of Inspector General to "be charged with the duty of keeping Congress and the Secretary of the Navy informed as to the conditions of the naval service.
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox established the Office of Naval Inspector General (NIG) on 18 May 1942 with General Order 173. Initially, the Naval Inspector General was part of the staff of the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. The initial staff included one deputy and three assistant inspectors. The office served throughout World War II as a 'troubleshooting' unit for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) by conducting inquiries and reporting on all matters which affected the efficiency and economy of the Navy; and by conducting inspections and investigations into any naval matter as required by the Secretary of the Navy, CNO, Congress, or by law.