Panetta orders review of ethics training review for generals
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered a review of existing ethics training for generals.
November 15th, 2012
10:03 AM ET

Panetta orders review of ethics training review for generals

By Barbara Starr

In the wake of a number of financial and sexual scandals involving generals and admirals, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered a review of existing ethics training programs “to determine if they are adequate,” according to a memo from Panetta to General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“I seek your views on how to better foster a culture of value-based decision-making and stewardship among senior general and flag officers,” Panetta said. Panetta said he wants to send an interim report to President Obama by December 1. While he expressed confidence in the current military leadership he also said “our challenge is to make sure that we do everything possible to maintain the highest standards of behavior.”

While the secretary did not offer specifics, he is known to be concerned not just about the Petraeus scandal and the current inspector general investigation into the conduct of General John Allen, but also events surrounding other generals. In particular Panetta this week announced the demotion of General William Ward, the former commander of Africa Command and ordered him to repay the government more than $80,000 in unauthorized travel expenses.

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Odis Kanter

    March 6, 2021 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  2. Raven


    November 27, 2012 at 12:12 am | Reply
  3. Wallflower

    The appearance of a problem,IS a problem.
    Start there, and then pull some stars off and reduce the retirement. The LCNL needs to lose rank and security clearance permanently. That will improve "ethics" otherwise the ranks will be demoralized by the slap on the rosy approach.
    Thanks for playing.

    November 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  4. mark

    What a bunch of sniveling winners

    November 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  5. freedom

    We need an ethics review of our White House !! Start at the top !

    November 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • zlop

      It was unethical to let False Flagged Americans in Benghazi die.
      Unlike USS Liberty - The General Fingered the Black House.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • desert voice/troubledgoodangel

      Ethics in America? Where has Leon Panetta been in the last 50 years?! There are no ethics in the Land of the Unfree! The ethics have been stamped out by the school systems! I was denied the Teacher's Certificate in the U.S., in the 90's, for daring to say that I will teach morality and ethics! I lost my career because of that!

      November 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • zlop

        It is ethical to kill babies yup to 3 years old,
        and to let Granny die to hire more teachers.

        November 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  6. rforneris

    I hope the now revered (....and reviled) William Jefferson Clinton is paying attention. When an ethical person in a high position is found to have made a "serious error in judgement", that person (if they are truly "ethical") has a duty to acknowledge their mistake and RESIGN their position. Without shame, there is no honor.........................

    November 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  7. zlop

    ex-Military Petraeus did not order the Benghazi Stand Down - The denial implicates 'We came, we saw, he died'
    As a result of refusing to advance the Black House narrative - Gemerals will be replaced by Mercenary CIA operatives.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  8. JCousin

    Ethics Training?? Who's Ethics? What are the Ethical Standards???

    1.) You have a Commander in Chief that has lied countless times
    2.) You have a Commander in Chief who's staff seems hellbent on covering up and obstructing things (ie: Fast and Furious, Bengazhi etc...)
    3.) You have a Commander in Chief that has done things to undermine the Military and alienate allies.
    4.) You have a Former Commander in Chief that was Impeached (but nothing ever happened to him) for lying about an affair that HE had.

    What do you expect????

    Sorry folks, as they say, you reap what you sow.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • zlop

      Ethics story is a distraction.
      Issue is insubordination - scuttling the Stand down Narrative.
      Hilary gave the order to let Americans Die - Generals did not have the balls to commit treason.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  9. NNN

    The Department of Defense, both military and civilian, is a disastrous mess. The time is long overdue to start dismantling this behemoth of waste and start cutting it down to size, maybe about 25% of present levels.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Reply
    • goofy

      You're right. let's start cutting DoD tomorrow.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  10. DJR

    Ethics? Well let see, maybe the ones setting agendas who seem to be missing the money and mark as to what MILITARY means should be educated. Sort of stupid having a commander and chief over the military who never served or read through the general orders of all military servers.

    November 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Reply
    • goofy

      Not necessary. That's why we have a Joint Chiefs of Staff. They run the military and then you have the Secretary of Defense who reports to the President. I prefer that the leader of the free world NOT be someone beholding to the military. Manage them, don't be one of them.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Reply
      • mlr

        um... sec of defense doesn't know what the military does either.... why is a civilian in charge of defense? And they appointed idiots on in the command slots that have not run their branches for what they do... ex- a fly boy running the marines... seriously? that is what you get when you have a civilian as your sec of defense...

        November 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  11. RAL

    Better have a Dictionary to look up E- T-H-I-C-S ... FIRST

    November 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  12. rad666

    I bet he is getting his emails scrubbed.

    November 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • 2bsquare

      They were not sending emails. They had an outside email account an left the letters inthe draft folder. This way there is no 'paper trail". What really scares me is that this woman moved to Tampa, tried to join ever non profit associatied with the military and gained access to a major facility. She was not a natrual born citizen. THat shoudl have been a red flag.

      Further, any contact with a non natural brn citizen requires the completion of an SA Form. This is standard security practice throughout the industry.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  13. ConcernedCitizen

    Maybe he ought to be reviewing the Obama administration ethics. Actually, I take that back, he can't, there are no Obama ethics in the Obama administration.

    November 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • RAL

      It is a shame that they got to have Ethics First and respect you know the Whole Nine Yards.. All that's missing in this so called Transparent Administration of Keystone Kops. Rather lie then tell the truthand think we beleive it!!!!

      November 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  14. bill davis

    lower your standards and lower your pants...swish or straight,,,we ask for it that way..

    November 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  15. Jmacq1

    Up front let me say that the following is NOT intended to defend unethical and immoral actions by flag rank officers. I do believe there is a certain lack of accountability (read: "Good Old Boy Network") applied to many of them that probably needs to be shored up.

    However, that having been said, in many cases these officers have very difficult jobs that very few civilian positions can match. I mean this in the sense that when you reach that rank, Generals and Admirals are effectively required to be a combination of warrior, diplomat, business manager, and politician, often in some of the highest-stakes and highest-pressure situations imaginable, where a bad decision can cost good people their lives. In terms of what a flag officer tends to be in charge of and the responsibilities they bear, they are ridiculously underpaid. Yes, I said underpaid. A four-star officer is probably in charge of an organization that is larger than almost any corporation on Earth, and making decisions that affect far more important things than profit margins and shareholder confidence.

    That having been said, it becomes understandable how easy it would be for some of these folks to enjoy the perks of their position a little TOO much. Or to stray from the bonds of marriage when an attractive prospect becomes available. We shouldn't be too sympathetic though, because a fair bit of this straying also stems from arrogance. Within the military a flag officer is just short of "King." Beyond that, you don't make it to that rank if you are without a strong degree of ambition and ego.

    Undoubtedly, there have been, are, and will continue to be a great many flag officers that serve with all the distinction, honor, and integrity that their position should embody, but it's telling that in most cases you can't become a general simply by "doing your job well" or even "exceptionally well." Realistically you have to have the right political connections (both within and without of the military) to reach that level. It's also telling that it's essentially the higher-ranking generals that pick who the "new" generals will be. Perhaps a few degrees more of civilian oversight are needed in the selection process.

    November 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
    • goofy

      To imply that people who are "underpaid" understandably cheat on their spouses in patently insulting. The arrogance of these people who have been caught with their pants down is proof enough of what the problem is.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • rp1588

      Generals and admirals are well paid, especially when benefits are included. Their counterparts in the civilian sector are grossly overpaid.

      However, in a pay for performance context, generals and admirals provide such negative returns they should paying out millions and billions. This is true for many corporate leaders also, of course.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  16. larry5

    How about such training for politicians. Start with Obama.

    November 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  17. Steve

    Ha ha what a bureaucratic response! Way to earn your pay.

    November 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply


    November 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • Hahahahahahahahhaha

      I can see your face under your white pointy hood. But at least now I know why you are wearing a hood!!! Hahahahahahaha

      November 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • doug

      You are an idiot

      November 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  19. Hahahahahahahahhaha

    You see generals. That over there is a c_nt. Stay away from it!!!!! Carry on. Hahahahahahahahaha

    November 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  20. sensor

    You cant rretrain people who have learned through the ranks that rank has it privledges. The higher you are the more everyone kisses your a** and you make the rules. You call the shots, make and break careers and the flick of a pen and the meer whisper of your want or need is some lower ranking person responsibility to move heaven and earth to make happen. Thats the world of officers,, kiss my a** and make what I want happen without question. Ethics will get you passed over and left without a sweet job after retirement.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • goofy

      Now you're getting real. People need to stop dreaming.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  21. Dave Miller

    The GOP is going to keep the proctolgist appointment secretary very busy

    November 15, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • Hahahahahahahahhaha

      Why not!!! The Frontal Lobotomies are all completed!!!!! Hahahahahahhahaa

      November 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  22. RichP

    We need more than ethics and morals training for officers, elected officials and appointed officials need a boat load of it as well.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • Linda

      That's kind of a funny statement. Maybe we need more ethical and moral people elected.... Couldn't resist.

      All the training in the world, won't change people without moral compasses.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Reply
      • RichP

        Very true.

        November 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  23. michaelfury

    "our challenge is to make sure that we do everything possible to maintain the highest standards of behavior"

    caw caw caw

    November 15, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply

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