The former head of U.S. Africa Command is under investigation and faces possible demotion for allegedly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lavish travel for himself and family members, an Army official said.
Army General William Ward, who served as the first commander of Africa Command until last year, is alleged to have spent an undisclosed amount of unauthorized money on transportation and hotel rooms, including for his family, said the official, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the confidential investigation.
Ward’s fate awaits a decision by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the official said yesterday. The probe by the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General was completed in June and a public version of its report is being prepared for release, Bridget Serchak, a spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
Ward served as head of Africa Command, the newest of six regional geographic commands, from Oct. 1, 2007, to March 9, 2011. The alleged unauthorized spending occurred while he headed the command, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany.
Ward now serves as a special assistant to the Army’s vice chief of staff, according to Army spokesman George Wright. Ward couldn’t be reached for comment, Wright said.
Panetta is reviewing a variety of disciplinary measures for Ward, with nothing ruled out, the Army official said.
As head of Africa Command, Ward was a four-star general, the highest rank in the Army. He is considered a two-star general in his current position, although no decision has been made on the rank at which he will retire, the official said.
The investigation into Ward was reported by Stars and Stripes in May. The nature of the allegations was reported yesterday by the Associated Press.
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