The Washington Post

IG report blasts missile defense chief

Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

That was in March, 2011. The buzz seemed logical, given that the MDA ranked 223 out of 224 smaller federal government operations in a “Best Places to Work” survey that fall by the highly regarded Partnership for Public Service.

At the time, Pentagon officials told us they understood that O’Reilly might be “demanding,” but the senior folks, one official said, think he’s doing a “very good job.” And O’Reilly stayed on.

But that was before the Pentagon inspector general’s May 2 report, which began leaking out July 2. It concluded he “yelled and screamed at subordinates in both public and private settings” and “demeaned and belittled employees and, at least in one incident, demanded that a subordinate use profane language to admit to an alleged error. . .”

His “leadership style and actions,” the report continued, “ resulted in the departure of several senior staff members, and caused his senior officials to hesitate to speak up” in meetings.

His leadership style, the investigation report concluded, was “inconsistent with standards expected of senior Army leaders, in violation of” DOD ethics regulations.

The IG investigation, first reported by Foreign Policy Magazine’s blog, The Cable, noted that O’Reilly, in a March 5 response to the IG’s “tentative conclusion,” said he “disagreed” and “questioned the objectivity and accuracy of witness testimony and denied he engaged in many of the practices described in the report,” which he said were “extrapolations of inaccurate perceptions of isolated incidents.”

He also wanted the IG to interview four other people. “We did,” the report said, and “their testimony did not cause us to alter our conclusion.”

Bottom line: “We recommend the Secretary of the Army consider appropriate corrective action with regard to LTG O’Reilly.”

That would be Army Secretary John McHugh, the former GOP congressman from New York. So far, no action.

“The Secretary of the Army has received, and is currently reviewing, the DOD IG’s report. Any further comment at this time would be inappropriate,” Army spokesman George Wright e-mailed.

This has the feel of one shoe dropping ...

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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