The Army’s top leaders insisted they were treating the allegations of misconduct by two senior Army officers just as they would charges against lower ranking soldiers.
“This is not a good old boy network... When you do something wrong, you’ll be held accountable,” Gen. Raymond Odierno, Army Chief of Staff, said when asked about the handling of accusations of misconduct by Gen. William “Kip” Ward and Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly.
Army Secretary John McHugh said he has been preparing his recommendations to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who will make the determination on whether the two officers will be allowed to retire at their current rank or reduced in grade.
The secretary noted that the allegations against Ward and O’Reilly came from investigations by the Defense Department’s inspector general. “Both require that due process rights be accorded to the officers in question. I think they have been fairly done.”
Odierno and McHugh were asked about the handling of the two generals during a media availability at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center on Monday Oct. 22.
Ward, who was the first commander of the U.S. Africa Command, is facing allegations of improper use of government transportation and unauthorized travel reimbursement. He is scheduled to retire but could be reduced in rank to lieutenant general as a punishment.
O’Reilly, commander of the Missile Defense Agency, has been accused of abusive actions toward subordinates. He also is awaiting a decision on whether he will be punished or allowed to retire in his current grade.
Odierno said the Army leadership takes allegations of misconduct “very seriously,” which is why it is focusing at the conference and in other ways to “reinvigorate professional development at all levels, to make sure we have the right moral and ethical values. That applies from private to general.”
But, Odierno added, “We have to be careful how we compare punishments.” In the case of Gen. Ward, going from four star to three star would mean the loss of $1 million in retired pay, he said. There would be nothing equivalent to that for a private, he observed.
“This is serious business we’re talking about here,” the chief of staff said.