- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Senate has confirmed Gen. John E. Hyten to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff nearly three months after the four-star Air Force general was accused of sexual misconduct.

Following the 75-22 vote to confirm Gen. Hyten to be the second-highest-ranking uniformed military officer, Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee has “done due diligence to ensure that not only is Gen. Hyten capable and qualified, but the best candidate for the job.”

In July, The Associated Press reported that a senior military officer accused the Air Force general of sexual misconduct which prompted several investigations, including a military inquiry, but did not see enough evidence to charge Gen. Hyten.

Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, said she felt a “moral responsibility” to come forward with the allegations after she said the general kissed her and pressed himself against her when they were alone in a hotel room.

The Senate panel then conducted several private inquiries and a formal, public confirmation hearing in August in which members on both sides of the aisle praised Gen. Hyten as a leader in the future of the military’s space and hypersonic systems and stood by him as he denied the allegations.

Before his confirmation, Gen. Hyten was responsible for the U.S. nuclear arsenal as the commander of U.S. Strategic Command and had been rumored to be a top pick to lead a future Space Force.

“His path to confirmation was a fair, thorough and bipartisan process, and the vote today reinforces that. America will be safer with General Hyten in the job, and I am glad the Senate voted to confirm him,” Mr. Inhofe said.

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, who served for more than 20 years in the Iowa Army National Guard, was the only Republican to vote against the nominee.

Following the vote, Col. Spletstoser said her experience coming forward with the accusations “has only served to demonstrate how unequipped the military still is to deal with sexual assault. The process for seeking justice has been a sham.”

“General Hyten’s confirmation should not be a popularity contest; this process should be about integrity, facts, and the truth,” she said in a statement as she maintained her accusations against the new vice chairman. “It should be part of a broader conversation about reforming the process for adjudicating military sexual assault.” 

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