In addition, documents obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Pentagon’s inspector general upheld misconduct allegations against two Army lieutenant generals last year: David H. Huntoon Jr., the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; and Joseph F. Fil Jr., a former commander in South Korea and Iraq. Neither episode had previously been disclosed by the Pentagon.
The cases have exacerbated concerns about the ethics and personal behavior of senior military officers, a problem that has bedeviled the Pentagon in recent months despite repeated pledges to address it.
In November, then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta ordered a sweeping review of ethical training and standards for generals and admirals after several high-profile scandals tarnished the reputations of some of the military’s most prominent commanders.
That month, Panetta demoted Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, chief of the military’s Africa Command, and required him to reimburse the government $82,000 after investigators found he took lavish personal trips — including a week-long mission to Bermuda — at taxpayer expense.
Last year, the Pentagon’s inspector general rebuked another commander, Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly, head of the Missile Defense Agency, for creating a toxic atmosphere and berating staff members.
In an interim report in December, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended to Panetta that military officers receive ethics training more frequently and earlier in their careers.
Dempsey finished a more detailed ethics review in February, right before Panetta left office, and also shared the results with President Obama, said Marine Col. David Lapan, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs. The findings of that review have not been made public.
Lawmakers have expressed particular concern about another case involving a one-star Army general, Jeffrey A. Sinclair, who is facing a court-martial at Fort Bragg on charges of sodomy and wrongful sexual conduct with several women under his command. He has deferred entering a plea.
The Pentagon is grappling with a soaring number of reported sexual-assault cases amid criticism that it has papered over the problem.
“The military leadership still sees this more as a public relations problem than as a crisis,” said Nancy Parrish, president of Protect our Defenders, a nonprofit group that represents victims of sex crimes in the military. “When will there be a catharsis when it comes to changing the culture of our military and a system that is broken?”