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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Sure Seem to Have Had A Lot of Top Generals Resign or Fired Lately (Updated and bumped)

This story is from about a week ago, but concerns the announcement of the Air Force firing one of its top generals--in charge nuclear missile wings--two days after a counterpart with the Navy was also fired.

First it was bad attitudes among young officers in nuclear missile launch centers. Now it's alleged bad behavior by two of the nuclear arsenal's top commanders.
 
Together the missteps spell trouble for a nuclear force doubted by some for its relevance, defended by others as vital to national security and now compelled to explain how the firing of key commanders this week should not shake public confidence. 
The Air Force on Friday fired Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, who was in charge of its nuclear missiles. Two days earlier the Navy sacked Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the second-in-command at U.S. Strategic Command, which writes the military's nuclear war plans and would transmit launch orders should the nation ever go to nuclear war. 

... On Friday the Air Force removed Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, a 35-year veteran, from his command of 20th Air Force, responsible for all 450 of the service's intercontinental ballistic missiles. Carey, who took his post in June 2012, will be reassigned pending the outcome of an investigation into personal misbehavior, the service said. 
The Air Force would not specify what Carey did to get fired, but two officials with knowledge of the investigation indicated that it was linked to alcohol use. 
On Wednesday the Navy said Giardina was relieved of command amid an investigation of gambling issues. He was demoted from three- to two-star rank and reassigned to a Navy staff job until the Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe is completed.
In February of this year, Front Page Magazine noted:

 During the Bush administration there were only two American commanders of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Under Obama there have so far been five. There has been a new ISAF commander nearly every single year that Obama has been in office. The only exception is 2012 when Obama was too busy trying to win an election to bother further sabotaging a losing war. 
The parade of musical chair generals began when Obama demanded the resignation of General McKiernan. The Washington Post called the firing of a wartime commander a “rare decision.” It was the first time since the days of General Douglas MacArthur that a four-star commanding general had been purged during a war.
 After discussion of the various replacements in Afghanistan, the article continues:


The War in Afghanistan has been lost and so have the careers of most of its commanders. Obama has constantly swapped out generals, and unlike the rotating allied ISAF commanders during the Bush era, many of them were fired because they threatened Obama politically in some way. 
The record is an ugly one, but it is not limited to the war theater in Afghanistan. After the Benghazi disaster, General Carter Ham of AFRICOM was reportedly edged out after telling a Republican Congressman that he had not received any requests for support. His replacement, General Rodriguez, had earlier taken over part of McKiernan’s job after Obama had forced him out. 
More recently General Mattis, the commander of United States Central Command, Petraeus’s old job, was booted out without even a personal phone call for being too hawkish about Iran. The insult was unprecedented and the reason was the same. Like McKiernan and McChrystal, Mattis had offended important people in the Obama administration. And for that he paid the price. 
General Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, exemplifies the costs of career survival in the age of Obama. Dempsey echoes everything that the civilians tell him. He never disagrees with them in public and likely not in private. Whatever new gimmick comes out of the White House, whether it’s Green Energy or homosexuality, he’s right there behind it and out in front of it. 
Dempsey has no ideas of his own and he doesn’t need any. He has nothing to bring to the table except a willingness to act as Obama’s pet parrot in a uniform. When McChrystal first met Obama, he recalled thinking that Obama was “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the room full of military brass. That observation helped get McChrystal fired and these days it’s the military brass that feels uncomfortable and intimidated by Obama Inc.
 In November 2012, the New York Times reported:

... a worrisomely large number of senior officers have been investigated and even fired for poor judgment, malfeasance and sexual improprieties or sexual violence — and that is just in the last year.
 
Gen. William Ward of the Army, known as Kip, the first officer to open the new Africa Command, came under scrutiny for allegations of misusing tens of thousands of government dollars for travel and lodging. 
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, a former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, is confronting the military equivalent of a grand jury to decide whether he should stand trial for adultery, sexual misconduct and forcible sodomy, stemming from relationships with five women. 
James H. Johnson III, a former commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was expelled from the Army, fined and reduced in rank to lieutenant colonel from colonel after being convicted of bigamy and fraud stemming from an improper relationship with an Iraqi woman and business dealings with her family. 
The Air Force is struggling to recover from a scandal at its basic training center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where six male instructors were charged with crimes including rape and adultery after female recruits told of sexual harassment and sexual assault. 
In the Navy, Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette was relieved of command of the Stennis aircraft carrier strike group — remarkably while the task force was deployed in the Middle East. Officials said that the move was ordered after “inappropriate leadership judgment.” No other details were given. 
While there is no evidence that David H. Petraeus had an extramarital affair while serving as one of the nation’s most celebrated generals, his resignation last week as director of the Central Intelligence Agency — a job President Obama said he could take only if he left the Army — was a sobering reminder of the kind of inappropriate behavior that has cast a shadow over the military’s highest ranks. 
Those concerns were only heightened on Tuesday when it was revealed that Gen. John R. Allen, the top American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, is under investigation for what a senior defense official said was “inappropriate communication” with Jill Kelley, the woman in Tampa, Fla., who was seen as a rival for Mr. Petraeus’s attentions by Paula Broadwell, who had an extramarital affair with Mr. Petraeus.
 ... While most of the more notable improprieties have been alleged against officers of the ground forces, the Navy, which has not been the fulcrum of the wars of the last decade, is also showing strain. A study by the Navy Times found more than 20 commanding officers were fired this year for inappropriate behavior and misconduct.
 This article from the AP also examines the issue, but focuses on the numbers. Nearly 40% of senior officers fired since 2005, according to the article, have been for some form of sexual misconduct (although, I would note that statistic includes harassment, which may include a non-sexual bias against the other gender).

Updated Oct. 23, 2013: The Blaze reports on this same phenomena:

Nine senior commanding generals have been fired by the Obama administration this year, leading to speculation by active and retired members of the military that a purge of its commanders is underway. 
Retired generals and current senior commanders that have spoken with TheBlaze say the administration is not only purging the military of commanders they don’t agree with, but is striking fear in the hearts of those still serving. 
The timing comes as the five branches of the U.S. armed forces are reducing staff due to budget cuts, and as U.S. troops are expected to withdraw from Afghanistan next year.
“I think they’re using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don’t agree with them or not tow the party line. Remember, as (former White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel said, never waste a crisis,” a senior retired general told TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity because he still provide services to the government and fears possible retribution.
 
“Even as a retired general, it’s still possible for the administration to make life miserable for us. If we’re working with the government or have contracts, they can just rip that out from under us,” he said.

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