A four-star Army general who was the first head of the new U.S. Africa Command is under investigation and facing possible demotion for allegedly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars improperly on lavish travel, hotels and other items, The Associated Press has learned.
Gen. William “Kip” Ward has been under investigation for about 17 months, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to make a final decision on the matter before the end of the month, according to several defense officials.
The defense officials said Ward is facing numerous allegations that he spent several hundred thousand dollars allowing unauthorized people, including family members, to fly on government planes, and spent excessive amounts of money on hotel rooms, transportation and other expenses when he traveled as head of Africa Command.
I tend to think any time there’s an investigation that runs this long, it’s a witch hunt. And given time, the investigators will find some technical violation. The complexity of travel regulations mean that even the most upstanding troop will likely make some error that could be classified as a violation of the regs.
Having said that, there’s also a need to hold senior leadership accountable. It isn’t often we see general officers held to the standards that others must abide.
We’ll let the investigation run its course, and render judgment at that time.