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§ 1034. Protected communications; prohibition of retaliatory

personnel actions 1 (a) RESTRICTING COMMUNICATIONS WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND INSPECTOR GENERAL PROHIBITED.—(1) No person may restrict a member of the armed forces in communicating with a Member of Congress or an Inspector General.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to a communication that is unlawful.

(b) PROHIBITATION OF RETALIATORY PERSONNEL ACTIONS.—(1) No person may take (or threaten to take) an unfavorable personnel action, or withhold (or threaten to withhold) a favorable personnel action, as a reprisal against a member of the armed forces for making or preparing

(A) a communication to a Member of Congress or an Inspector General that (under subsection (a)) may not be restricted; or

(B) a communication that is described in subsection (c)(2) and that is made (or prepared to be made) to

(i) a Member of Congress;

(ii) an Inspector General (as defined in subsection (i)) or any other Inspector General appointed under the Inspector General Act of 1978;

(iii) a member of a Department of Defense audit, inspection, investigation, or law enforcement organization; or (iv) any other person or organization (including any person or organization in the chain of command) designated pursuant to regulations or other established ad

1 For whistleblower protections for contractor employees of the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, see section 2409.

For whistleblower protections for contractor employees of civilian agencies, see section 315 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 265), set forth beginning on page 558.

Section 843 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (P.L. 102–190; 105 Stat. 1449) provides: SEC. 843. WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED

FORCES. (a) REGULATIONS REQUIRED.—The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe regulations prohibiting members of the Armed Forces from taking or threatening to take any unfavorable personnel action, or withholding or threatening to withhold a favorable personnel action, as a reprisal against any member of the Armed Forces for making or preparing a lawful communication to any employee of the Department of Defense or any member of the Armed Forces who is assigned to or belongs to an organization which has as its primary responsibility audit, inspection, investigation, or enforcement of any law or regulation.

(b) VIOLATIONS BY PERSONS SUBJECT TO THE UCMJ.— The Secretary shall provide in the regulations that a violation of the prohibition by a person subject to chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is punishable as a violation of section 892 of such title (article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice). (c) Comitted).

ministrative procedures for such communications. (2) Any action prohibited by paragraph (1) (including the threat to take any action and the withholding or threat to withhold any favorable action) shall be considered for the purposes of this section to be a personnel action prohibited by this subsection.

(c) INSPECTOR GENERAL INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGATIONS OF PROHIBITED PERSONNEL ACTIONS.—(1) If a member of the armed forces submits to an Inspector General an allegation that a personnel action prohibited by subsection (b) has been taken (or threatened) against the member with respect to a communication described in paragraph (2), the Inspector General shall take the action required under paragraph (3).

(2) A communication described in this paragraph is a communication in which a member of the armed forces complains of, or discloses information that the member reasonably believes constitutes evidence of, any of the following:

(A) A violation of law or regulation, including a law or regulation prohibiting sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination.

(B) Gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

(3)(A) An Inspector General receiving an allegation as described in paragraph (1) shall expeditiously determine, in accordance with regulations prescribed under subsection (h), whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation of the allegation.

(B) If the Inspector General receiving such an allegation is an Inspector General within a military department, that Inspector General shall promptly notify the Inspector General of the Department of Defense of the allegation. Such notification shall be made in accordance with regulations prescribed under subsection (h).

(C) If an allegation under paragraph (1) is submitted to an Inspector General within a military department and if the determination of that Inspector General under subparagraph (A) is that there is not sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation of the allegation, that Inspector General shall forward the matter to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense for review.

(D) Upon determining that an investigation of an allegation under paragraph (1) is warranted, the Inspector General making the determination shall expeditiously investigate the allegation. In the case of a determination made by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, that Inspector General may delegate responsibility for the investigation to an appropriate Inspector General within a military department.

(E) In the case of an investigation under subparagraph (D) within the Department of Defense, the results of the investigation shall be determined by, or approved by, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense (regardless of whether the investigation itself is conducted by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense or by an Inspector General within a military department). (4) Neither an initial determination under paragraph (3)(A) nor an investigation under paragraph (3)(D) is required in the case of an allegation made more than 60 days after the date on which the member becomes aware of the personnel action that is the subject of the allegation.

(5) The Inspector General of the Department of Defense, or the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (in the case of a member of the Coast Guard when the Coast Guard is not operating as a service in the Navy), shall ensure that the Inspector General conducting the investigation of an allegation under this subsection is outside the immediate chain of command of both the member submitting the allegation and the individual or individuals alleged to have taken the retaliatory action.

(d) INSPECTOR GENERAL INVESTIGATION OF UNDERLYING ALLEGATIONS.—Upon receiving an allegation under subsection (c), the Inspector General receiving the allegation shall conduct a separate investigation of the information that the member making the allegation believes constitutes evidence of wrongdoing (as described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of subsection (c)(2)) if there previously has not been such an investigation or if the Inspector General determines that the original investigation was biased or otherwise inadequate. In the case of an allegation received by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Inspector General may delegate that responsibility to the Inspector General of the armed force concerned.

(e) REPORTS ON INVESTIGATIONS.—(1) After completion of an investigation under subsection (c) or (d) or, in the case of an investigation under subsection (c) by an Inspector General within a military department, after approval of the report of that investigation under subsection (c)(3)(E), the Inspector General conducting the investigation shall submit a report on the results of the investigation to the Secretary of Defense (or to the Secretary of Homeland Security in the case of a member of the Coast Guard when the Coast Guard is not operating as a service in the Navy) and shall transmit a copy of the report on the results of the investigation to the member of the armed forces who made the allegation investigated. The report shall be transmitted to the Secretary, and the copy of the report shall be transmitted to the member, not later than 30 days after the completion of the investigation or, in the case of an investigation under subsection (c) by an Inspector General within a military department, after approval of the report of that investigation under subsection (c)(3)(E).

(2) In the copy of the report transmitted to the member, the Inspector General shall ensure the maximum disclosure of information possible, with the exception of information that is not required to be disclosed under section 552 of title 5. However, the copy need not include summaries of interviews conducted, nor any document acquired, during the course of the investigation. Such items shall be transmitted to the member, if the member requests the items, with the copy of the report or after the transmittal to the member of the copy of the report, regardless of whether the request for those items is made before or after the copy of the report is transmitted to the member.

(3) If, in the course of an investigation of an allegation under this section, the Inspector General determines that it is not pos

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