February 12, 2014
Pentagon Going Full-Speed Ahead to Improve Ethics
The two top Defense officials have made ethics reform a “No. 1 priority” across military services, lines and commands.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday that he would soon appoint a new Pentagon senior ethics officer to report directly to him because “an uncompromising culture of accountability must exist at every level of command.”
On Sunday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey promised a new campaign to restore ethics after some recent lapses—examples of which include recent news reports that Air Force intercontinental ballistic missile launch officers were arrested for narcotics possession in Montana and that Navy trainers were implicated for cheating on tests at the Navy Nuclear Propulsion School in Charleston, S.C.
“Competence and character are not mutually exclusive,” Hagel told reporters. “They are woven together – they must be.” Asked whether the apparent rise in ethical lapses was related to the past decade’s wartime pressures, Hagel said, “Was it a constant focus of 12 years on two long land wars, taking our emphasis off some of these other areas? I don't know. We intend to find out.”