Four-star general faces demotion over misspending allegations
By Barbara Starr
The first four-star general to command U.S. military operations in
Africa is facing the possibility of being demoted after an investigation
by the Pentagon inspector general found that Gen. William "Kip" Ward
spent thousands of dollars on inappropriate travel expenses, according
to several administration officials directly familiar with the case.
Ward had been known to be under investigation but this is the first indication of the results of the probe.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was presented with the findings this
week and is expected to make a decision on the case within days, the
officials said Wednesday.
The inspector general found that Ward had engaged in several
"inappropriate" activities, including submitting expense reports with
extravagant and unacceptable charges, inappropriate use of military
staff, and misuse of government funds, according to one administration
official. The official described the amount involved as "not an
insignificant sum of money."
Panetta must now decide whether to allow Ward to permanently retire
at a four-star rank with full retirement pay, or demote him back to a
three stars, the last rank at which it is believed he served honorably.
Retirement pay varies widely depending on years of service, but many
four-stars receive well over $100,000 a year.
It is not yet publicly known if any charges will be recommended through the military justice system.
Under military rules and laws, a secretary of defense makes personnel decisions about three- and four- star officers.
Ward went through a public retirement ceremony from Africa Command in
April of last year, but did not retire pending the outcome of the
investigation. Since leaving Africa Command, he has worked in an Army
staff job out of the limelight, serving as a two-star general. Under
Army guidelines, a four-star who is not serving at that rank for 60 days
is automatically demoted until the case is resolved.
CNN has asked the Army for a comment from Ward but has not yet received a response.
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