Command Investigation: Misconduct
A high-profile military officer command investigation for misconduct can be quite complex and sensitive. They often involve misconduct allegations, ranging from ethical violations to criminal activities. These investigations are crucial for maintaining discipline, integrity, and trust within the armed forces. The process typically includes a thorough examination of evidence, witness testimonies, and sometimes collaboration with civilian law enforcement agencies. Additionally, they garner much media attention. The following are some high-profile cases of officers accused of misconduct.
High-Profile Military Officers Accused of Misconduct
Over the years, there have been several high-profile military officer investigations that gained widespread attention. Here are a few examples:
General David Petraeus (2012): The government investigated the highly decorated military officer and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for mishandling classified information. He pleaded guilty to providing it to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell.
General Stanley McChrystal (2010): The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan resigned after an article in Rolling Stone magazine quoted him and his staff making critical comments about top civilian officials, including President Barack Obama. However, the Pentagon inquiry that led to his retirement could find no evidence confirming the accusations listed in a Rolling Stone article.
Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin (2003): Boykin, a high-ranking officer in the U.S. Army, faced scrutiny for making controversial and inflammatory remarks about Islam during public speeches, leading to an investigation into his conduct.
Major General Michael Carey (2013): The commander of the 20th Air Force, responsible for the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, was relieved of duty and subjected to an investigation after exhibiting unprofessional behavior during a trip to Russia.
Colonel James H. Johnson III: The U.S. Army convicted the disgraced 173rd Airborne Brigade commander of fraud and bigamy. COL Johnson left the Army after being reduced in rank to lieutenant colonel. He also pleaded guilty to 15 other charges. Those charges included adultery, fraud, bigamy, wrongful cohabitation, and violating regulations or orders.
Command investigation for misconduct
The outcomes of such investigations can vary widely. In some cases, investigations can exonerate officers if the allegations prove unsubstantiated. On the other hand, if wrongdoing is confirmed, the consequences can be severe, ranging from reprimands and demotions to court-martial proceedings and imprisonment. Officers should understand what to do if they are under command investigation.
Investigators must conduct these investigations impartially and transparently to uphold the credibility of the military institution. Additionally, the handling of such cases often attracts significant public and media attention, adding another layer of complexity to the process. But for the officer, the allegations can cause harm much greater than to just their reputation.
Misconduct findings in a command investigation are a career killer
A frequent killer of careers are allegations of misuse of government cards. In one such case from 2016, investigators found that Army Maj. Gen. Ronald Lewis “made false official statements about his government travel card in addition to conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman on multiple occasions. Investigators claimed he went to off-limits establishments, drank to excess in public, and made improper interactions with females. A civilian female staff member told investigators that she found MG Lewis’ hugs’ weird and creepy.
If such accusations arise, the military may investigate through its internal affairs or investigative agencies. The process would likely involve thoroughly examining the individual’s travel expenses, receipts, and other relevant documentation. Witness statements and interviews may also be part of the investigative process.
While these allegations sound bad, the military will investigate everything, even if it seems small. If the command determines an allegation to be credible after a preliminary inquiry, the commands will begin an investigation. When the command starts an investigation, the target of the investigation needs to get a lawyer.
With the fast pace of optempo and frequent travel, people make mistakes. Officers need to takes few minor misteps to inadvertently break the travel rules because they did not to pay attention. Also, an officer may say something stupid they didn’t mean or be overly friendly with others, misunderstanding the other person’s comfort level. The consequences for mistakes can be high.
The consequences of misconduct findings
The outcomes of such investigations can vary widely. If wrongdoing is confirmed, the consequences can be severe, ranging from reprimands and demotions to court-martial proceedings and imprisonment. Officers who suspect they are under a command investigation for misconduct should find an experienced military lawyer immediately.
If the investigation finds evidence of wrongdoing, the consequences could include disciplinary actions, administrative penalties, or even legal action, depending on the severity of the violation. Those penalties could be a General Officer Letter of Reprimand. GOMORs in an officer’s permanent required are likely a barrier to promotion. The military could order a Board of Inquiry for officers with a GOMOR or Article 15 in their permanent record, putting pensions and other military benefits at risk.
If the military retains an officer or if the officer retires, a grade determination board may retire a high-ranking officer at the last rank honorably served, costing the officer six or seven figures of retirement pay over the rest of their lifetime. Military personnel must adhere to strict ethical and financial standards, and any deviation from these standards can result in severe consequences. Early action is vital to mitigate the risk of these outcomes. If you are suspected of misconduct or under investigation, contact us right away here or call us at 757-504-2815.