With two generals currently facing reductions in rank ahead of their retirements that could result in significant cuts in income, the Army's top officer wants to make clear that the service's general officers will not receive preferential treatment when placed under investigation for misconduct.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno rejected the notion that theArmy would apply different standards to different ranks within the service regarding misconduct investigations.
"This is not the good ol' boy network. I'll tell you that right now. This is not a good ol' boy network and when you do something wrong you become accountable," Odierno said Monday at the Assocation of the U.S. Army's annual conference in Washington D.C.
Army Gen. William "Kip" Ward has been under investigation for 19 months for lavish spending on travel and amenities for himself and his family when he commanded U.S. Africa Command. He led the newest combatant command from October 2007 until he retired in March 2011.
Ward has been kept on active duty since he was relieved from command in 2011 and has served as a special assistant to the vice chief of staff. He's accused of misspending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is due to rule on Ward's case. He will not face criminal charges, but he does stand to be demoted to lieutenant general, which could cost Ward more than $1 million in retirement pay.
Odierno said the amount of retirement pay this case could cost Ward shows how serious the Army and the Pentagon is about the misconduct accusations.
"With General Ward, I won't comment specifically until a decision has been made, but going from four to three stars is a million dollar cost to that individual. I've never heard of a private being fined a million dollars," Odierno said.
The Army is also investigating Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, the head of the Missile Defense Agency, for allegedly abusing and harassing his staff and mismanaging his office.
The Defense Department's Inspector General issued a report that found O'Reilly "engaged in a leadership style that was inconsistent with standards expected of senior army leaders." The report cited multiple incidents in which he screamed at his senior staff in public. He often berated his subordinates at staff meetings.
The IG recommended the Army punish O'Reilly for his conduct. Army Secretary John McHugh said he is still reviewing O'Reilly's case.
Odierno explained that the Army has placed a high priority on "reinvigorating the professions of arms" to avoid these cases from occurring.
The Army is focused on making the transition from a war footing in Afghanistan to returning most of its force to state-side garrisons in the next two years. Army leaders plan to expand professional development training to ensure a consistent ethos is instilled across the ranks.
"Part of our major priorities going forward is to make sure we reinvigorate the profession of arms on all levels," Odierno said.
Army leaders will continue to take these cases seriously, he and McHugh said.
"I wanted to make sure you all understand that we take all of these very seriously when we make recommendations and it's like everything else, we take what has been done, what we think is the right punishment and then we make a recommendation," Odierno said.