By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 – Emphasizing that Defense Department leaders must exemplify both professional excellence and sound judgment, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has determined that Army Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, the former U.S. Africa Command commander, must repay improper expense charges and will be allowed to retire at a reduced rank.
Ward will be demoted to the grade of lieutenant general for retirement and must repay about $82,000 in improper expense payments, Panetta determined following a department inspector general investigation, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little announced last evening.
Secretary of the Army John McHugh concurs with Panetta’s decision, Little said.
The decision follows an IG report of investigation issued in June that substantiated Ward’s misconduct involving travel, misuse of military aircraft, misuse of staff and the receipt of reimbursements to which he was not entitled.
The findings involve activities during Ward’s tenure as the first Africom commander. He served in that role from Oct. 1, 2007, to March 9, 2011.
Since leaving Africom, Ward has been demoted to the grade of major general and is serving as special assistant to the Army vice chief of staff.
Panetta is committed to holding department leaders to a high standard, Little said.
“The secretary recognizes that the vast majority of senior officers in the military abide by the letter and spirit of our laws and regulations and utilize sound judgment in their stewardship of taxpayer resources,” Little said.
“The secretary is committed to ensuring that any improprieties or misconduct by senior officers are dealt with swiftly and appropriately.”