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Panetta set to brief Obama on ethics rules
Review follows scandals at top
Question of the Day
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is to deliver to the president by Saturday a review of the Pentagon's ethics policies for senior officers in the wake of several recent scandals involving high-ranking military officials.
Details about the review process have been scant, but Pentagon press secretary George Little said the review is on track.
"Our goal is [to] complete the process as quickly as possible and meet the deadline," Mr. Little said, adding that he did not know how Mr. Panetta would brief President Obama to meet the Saturday deadline.
Mr. Panetta called for the review this month after David H. Petraeus, a retired Army four-star general, resigned as CIA director after admitting he had had an extramarital affair.
Four other generals have been investigated for ethical violations this year.
Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, is being investigated after thousands of emails between him and a Florida socialite were uncovered during the FBI probe that revealed Mr. Petraeus' affair. Defense officials have deemed the emails between Gen. Allen and Jill Kelley, a married mother of three, to be "flirtatious" and "potentially inappropriate."
Gen. Allen's nomination to be NATO supreme commander has been held. The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. to replace Gen. Allen as the top commander in Afghanistan.
Gen. Dunford is scheduled to assume his new command in February.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon inspector general's office has narrowed 20,000 to 30,000 pages of communications in the Allen case to 60 to 70 emails, a defense official told The Washington Times on Thursday.
Army Gen. William "Kip" Ward was demoted this month and ordered to pay $84,000 in restitution for misusing government resources during his tenure as chief of U.S. Africa Command. He was stripped of a star and reduced to lieutenant general.
Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair faces charges of forcible sodomy and wrongful sexual conduct at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.
Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly is retiring after a Pentagon inspector general investigation found he bullied his staff. He was the chief of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Mr. Panetta's memo did not mention any officers by name.
"Anytime you have a series of violations like this, it's typical for the Defense Department to order this kind of review," said a defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive issues.
Information about most investigations into general and senior flag officers are not released publicly because of the Privacy Act, said the official, who was not authorized to speak to the press.
The most common ethical violation by senior general and flag officers involve travel fraud, the official added.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with the service chiefs last week to discuss the issue and ongoing efforts to address ethical misconduct in the ranks, a Pentagon spokesman said.
Gen. Dempsey has been leading the Profession of Arms campaign, aimed at reinforcing values, ethics and standards to a force stretched thin after a decade of two wars.
"Following September 11, 2001, America's all-volunteer force embarked on campaigns extending well beyond any limits imagined as the era of persistent conflict unfolded, its resilience arguably exceeded expectations of its architects," the chairman said in a white paper in February.
"We are all accountable for meeting ethical and performance standards in our actions and, similarly, accountable for our failure to take action, when appropriate," Gen. Dempsey wrote.
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About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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