Secretary Panetta has decided that General William E. Ward (O-10), former commander of U.S. Africa Command, should be retired at the grade of Lieutenant General (0-9). Secretary of the Army John McHugh concurs in this decision.
The Department of the Army will also seek to recoup roughly $82,000 in expenses stemming from Gen. Ward's misconduct in travel, misuse of military aircraft, misuse of staff, and the receipt of reimbursements to which he was not entitled.
In June 2012, the Department of Defense Inspector General issued a report of investigation substantiating that Gen. Ward had engaged in numerous substantiated acts of misconduct related to misuse of government funds during his tenure as commander of U.S. Africa Command. Since departing U.S. Africa Command, by operation of law Gen. Ward reverted to the grade of Major General (0-8) and is currently serving as a special assistant to the Army vice chief of staff in that grade.
Secretary Panetta insists that leaders within the Department of Defense exemplify both professional excellence and sound judgment. 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. The secretary is committed to ensuring that any improprieties or misconduct by senior officers are dealt with swiftly and appropriately.