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Joint Chiefs Will Discuss Ethics, Petraeus Scandal at Meeting Next Week
By Valerie Insinna

The David Petraeus sex scandal has prompted discussions among military leaders on the conduct of its top officers, said the chief of naval operations during a Nov. 16 discussion with journalists in Washington, D.C.

The chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will meet with the service chiefs next week to review the facts surrounding the incident and discuss possible ways to improve accountability and behavior across the military’s four-star ranks, Adm. Jonathan Greenert said.

This comes a day after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the joint chiefs to conduct a review of ethics training for officers, with initial findings and recommendations due to the president on Dec. 1.

Lately, the Pentagon has found itself facing a wave of misconduct from some of its most respected and senior leaders. The FBI investigation that discovered Petraeus was having an affair led to further allegations of inappropriate behavior involving Gen. John Allen, the outgoing commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Additionally, former Africa Command Commander Gen. William "Kip" Ward was demoted from four to three stars this week after investigators found that he used Army funds for personal travel expenses.

The Pentagon has downplayed the Petraeus scandal’s effect on the ethics training review, with officials claiming it was already in the works before the news broke.

However, Greenert’s comments suggested there is concern about the fallout from these incidents.

"We have been introspective as a result of the events of the past week,” he said.

The Navy has fired over 20 commanding officers so far this year.  While these officers have lost their positions for reasons ranging from vessel collisions to incompetence, Greenert said the leading cause by a 2 to 1 ratio is misbehavior such as adultery or a driving while intoxicated charge.

“I don't understand why they're misbehaving. I'm concerned about that,” he said. “I'm looking into that, looking into that very hard.”

One way the Navy will respond to this is making sure there is consistency to the officer screening and evaluation processes. Additionally, the service is implementing the findings of a 2010 Naval Inspector General report on standards of ethical conduct, which will help it to better nurture and develop its officers, said Greenert.

When asked his opinion on whether adultery that is not between senior and subordinate military personnel should continue to be punishable by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Greenert declined to answer, saying that it was his responsibility to uphold the UCMJ.

Photo Credit: Navy


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