Army General William “Kip” Ward may lose a star and a million dollars in retirement pay for overspending on travel and accommodations while serving in Africa.
Ward, a four-star general (the Army’s highest rank) and the first head of the new U.S. Africa Command
, has been under investigation for 17 months after the Department of Defense
learned he authorized spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fly non-military personnel, including, in 15 cases, his wife, on government planes. Ward also spent large sums on hotel rooms, transportation and other expenses when he traveled as head of Africa Command.
According to a report by the Defense Department’s inspector general, Ward accepted “complimentary meals and Broadway show tickets in excess of $20.00 in value for himself and his wife from a prohibited source with multiple DoD contracts.” He also “misused a government vehicle by allowing his spouse to use a hardened vehicle in Germany without required threat assessments or authorization.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
is reviewing Ward’s case. One option under consideration involves demoting Ward to three stars, which could cost him as much as $1 million in retirement pay over time.
Ward is no longer in charge of the Africa Command. Based in Northern Virginia, he is currently serving as a special assistant to the vice chief of the Army. He tried to retire in 2011, but was forced to remain in the Army until the investigation was complete. Since then, he has been paid as a two-star general.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
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