On November 30th, John Crane, former Assistant Inspector General for Communications and Congressional Liaison for the Department of Defense, will receive the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage, in recognition of his role in “Protecting Whistleblowers from Government Abuse.”

Established by Mr. Callaway in 1990, the Award recognizes individuals in any area of endeavor who, with integrity and at some personal risk, take a public stance to advance truth and justice, and who challenged prevailing conditions in pursuit of the common good.

Additional 2015 Award recipients include James Love & Manon Ress, Ph.D., of Knowledge Ecology International for “Breaking Big Pharma’s Grip to Make Drugs Affordable for Poorer Countries and Revolutionizing Intellectual Property Rights,” and Jonathan G. Lundgren, Ph.D., of the United States Department of Agriculture for his courage as an “Entomologist in the Crosshairs of Science
and Corporate Politics.”

The Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest will host an award ceremony and reception from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Carnegie Institute Building. Details can be found at http://www.callawayawards.org/

John R. Crane

The Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage

Mr. Crane has been a Senior Executive, who in a singular fashion, worked to encourage and support whistleblowing as a protected and valued activity to foster transparency within the Department of Defense (DoD) to assist the Secretary and the Congress in their effort to protect our nation.

Mr. Crane was the long-time Assistant Inspector General for Communications and Congressional Liaison who served for over 25 years under 11 Inspectors General and helped to transform the legislative vision of an Inspector General (IG) in the DoD from a start-up endeavor to a mature organization.

Under his tenure, the whistleblowing program within the DoD IG became the gold standard for the entire federal government that included, for the first time, outreach to stakeholders in Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The success of Mr. Crane, however, in promoting whistleblowing and his protection of both the integrity of the whistleblowing program and in the identity of whistleblowers came at great personal risk that ended up costing his career due to opposition by senior DOD OIG leadership who put politics and personal ambition ahead of the agency mission.

The responsibilities of Mr. Crane included the supervision of the DoD Hotline that received whistleblower and senior official allegations from almost 3 million civilian, active duty and reserve personnel. In 2010, Mr. Crane also created the first ever office of Whistleblowing and Transparency, whose Director served as the Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman for the DoD.

Mr. Crane previously served with Congressman Dickinson, who as the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee was a strong proponent of legislation that created an IG within the DoD. Mr. Crane subsequently was recruited by the IG to work directly with the Congress on the growth and of the mission of the IG.

Of particular concern to Congress was implementation of Section 7 of the IG Act in regard to whistleblowers, disclosure of their identity and reprisals. In that regard, Mr. Crane worked with Congress regarding any and all changes to amend and enhance whistleblower protections for both Title 5 (civilian) and Title 10 (military) employees of the DoD.

In 1998, Mr. Crane and the then Inspector General worked with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to help draft H.R. 3829, the “Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998.” The Act, for the first time, created an avenue whereas members of the DoD intelligence community could provide classified information to Congress.

Mr. Crane was a member of the board that decided whether information from whistleblowers presented an “urgent concern.”

Responding to the call of Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan for IGs to assist with whistleblower protection, Mr. Crane helped to establish in 2004 the first civilian reprisal unit within the IG system that conducted investigations. The unique Office of Civilian Reprisal Investigations (CRI) ensured that Title 5 whistleblowers would not be investigated under military Title 10 standards. A particular note regarding CRI is that it was the first whistleblower reprisal office within an IG given investigative powers.

A further initiative by Mr. Crane was to institute the development and placement of DoD Hotline webpages for the receipt of both SECRET and TOP SECRET information. The webpages were designed, for the first time, to give members of the intelligence community an avenue through which to safely file concerns regarding waste, fraud and abuse, regardless of their location while on assignment.

This initiative was undertaken after Mr. Crane and his staff, in reviewing the whistleblowing experience of Chelsea Manning, realized that there was still no effective means for a deployed intelligence specialist to blow the whistle to the DoD Hotline nearly a decade after networked computers became the norm in DoD commands.

As required of recipients of the Callaway award, Mr. Crane, at great personal risk, shielded the identity of whistleblowers to prevent potential retaliation by senior DoD IG management to advance truth and justice, and in so doing allowed challenges to be aired regarding the prevailing condition in pursuit of the common good.