September 1, 2012  

4-star accommodations

To Gen. William ‘Kip’ ward who, according to a DoD inspector general report, turned his posting as Africa Command’s first commander into a grab bag of free travel and goodies for himself and his wife.

Much is expected of a four-star general and combatant commander; few have greater need to travel or more important business to conduct, and they are allowed the use of great resources for official business.

For the record, Ward insists that he did nothing wrong.

However, the allegations are troubling. An 11-day trip to Washington and Atlanta with an entourage of 13 at a cost of $129,000? All the more galling: Ward, according to the IG report, conducted less than three days of official business on that trip. Other allegations include that he and his wife stayed in a $750 suite during an overnight refueling stop in Bermuda; that Ward spent several hundred thousand dollars allowing unauthorized people, including family members, to fly on government planes; and that he accepted tickets for Broadway shows from contractors.

Unless Ward can do a better job of explaining himself, Army Secretary John McHugh needs to hammer the retiring general. A lower-ranking soldier certainly would be punished, and there cannot be a double standard.