News Column

Panetta to Address Military Ethics

Nov. 16, 2012

Henry Cuningham

Leon Panetta

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will report to President Obama on Dec. 1 on efforts to improve ethics among generals, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

The announcement comes in the wake of scandals and investigations involving at least three men who have held four-star rank and a one-star Fort Bragg general charged with forcible sodomy.

"This process is intended to reinforce and strengthen the standards that keep us a well-led and disciplined military," a Pentagon statement said.

Panetta this week directed Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to work with other members of the Joint Chiefs to review how to foster a culture of stewardship among the most senior military officers, the statement said.

Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus resigned Nov. 9 as CIA director, two days after the president learned he acknowledged an affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer. Although Petraeus is retired from active duty, stories of the scandal usually are accompanied by pictures of him in uniform, associating him with the Army.

"The secretary believes that the vast majority of our senior military officers exemplify the strength of character and the highest ethical standards the American people expect of those whose job it is to provide for the security of our nation," the statement said. "They represent not only the best of the American military but the American people.

"The majority of these officers lead by example, which is one of the reasons the United States military stands without peer."

Newsweek magazine's Nov. 12 issue included "Petraeus's Rules for Living," written by Broadwell. The first item on the list was, "Lead by example from the front of the formation."

The Petraeus scandal broadened to ensnare an active-duty Marine general.

An FBI investigation began last summer when Florida socialite Jill Kelley turned over anonymous emails sent to her and Marine Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Investigators uncovered 20,000-plus pages of documents and emails that involved Allen and Kelley. Some of the emails were characterized as "flirtatious."

That caused Obama to put on hold Allen's nomination to become the commander of U.S. European Command and, as well as the NATO supreme allied commander in Europe.

Pentagon officials said Tuesday that Panetta demoted Gen. William "Kip" Ward, the former head of U.S. Africa Command who was accused of spending thousands of dollars on lavish travel and other unauthorized expenses. Ward will retire as a three-star lieutenant general and must repay the government $82,000.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, who is assigned to Fort Bragg, is facing a possible court-martial for sexual misconduct, including forcible sodomy.

"Over the past several months, the secretary has spoken with the service secretaries, service chiefs and combatant commanders about those instances when senior officers have not lived up to the standards expected of them," the statement said. "This has been an ongoing discussion reflecting shared concerns."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

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