Pen­tagon chief fires as­sis­tant over mis­con­duct

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON: US De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash Carter re­moved his se­nior mil­i­tary as­sis­tant, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Ron Lewis, from his po­si­tion on Thurs­day over al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct that Carter learned of this week. Carter has re­ferred the mat­ter to the in­spec­tor gen­eral of the De­fense Depart­ment, he said in a brief state­ment on Thurs­day. Af­ter the in­spec­tor gen­eral’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­plete, the Army may take ac­tion, a se­nior de­fense of­fi­cial said.

As se­nior mil­i­tary as­sis­tant, Lewis served as a top ad­viser to Carter on mil­i­tary mat­ters. He ac­com­pa­nied Carter last week on his trip to Asia. Carter cited “al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct” but he did not spec­ify what the al­le­ga­tions re­ferred to. A se­nior de­fense of­fi­cial also de­clined to spec­ify the na­ture of the al­le­ga­tions. “I ex­pect the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dards of con­duct from the men and women in this depart­ment, par­tic­u­larly from those serv­ing in the most se­nior po­si­tions,” Carter said in his state­ment. “There is no ex­cep­tion.” The Wash­ing­ton Post, cit­ing an un­named per­son fa­mil­iar with the case, said the de­ci­sion “in­volved an al­leged im­proper re­la­tion­ship”. The se­nior de­fense of­fi­cial said Lewis would re­port to the Army Vice Chief of Staff while the al­le­ga­tions are in­ves­ti­gated. “The sec­re­tary was very sur­prised to learn of th­ese al­le­ga­tions,” the of­fi­cial said. The in­spec­tor gen­eral’s of­fice con­firmed it had re­ceived a re­fer­ral from Carter’s of­fice re­gard­ing Lewis and said it would con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. It gave no fur­ther de­tails.

Carter first learned of the al­le­ga­tions on Tues­day evening and spoke to Lewis on Thurs­day morn­ing, the se­nior de­fense of­fi­cial said. Lewis, an Army air cav­alry of­fi­cer, had served as Carter’s trusted aide on and off for years, in­clud­ing as his mil­i­tary as­sis­tant when Carter was un­der­sec­re­tary of de­fense for ac­qui­si­tion, tech­nol­ogy, and lo­gis­tics. Lewis de­ployed to Afghanistan as deputy com­mand­ing gen­eral of the 101st Air­borne Di­vi­sion, re­turn­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2014. —Reuters

JALAL­ABAD, Afghanistan: Then-US Army Brig Gen Ron Lewis (right) greets then-Deputy Sec­re­tary of De­fense Ash Carter in this May 13, 2013 file photo.—AP

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