USA Today reports: Since 2013, military investigators have documented at least 500 cases of serious misconduct among its generals, admirals and senior civilians, almost half of those instances involving personal or ethical lapses, a USA TODAY investigation has found.
Many cases involve sex scandals, including a promiscuous Army general who led a swinging lifestyle, another who lived rent-free in the home of a defense contractor after his affair fell apart and another who is under investigation for sending steamy Facebook messages to the wife of an enlisted soldier on his post.
Yet despite the widespread abuses, the Pentagon does no trend analysis to determine whether the problem is worsening, nor does it regularly announce punishments for generals and admirals — all public figures, USA TODAY has found. Senior officers found to have been involved in adulterous relationships, a violation of the military’s code of justice, have been reassigned with no public notice and allowed to retire quietly, in some cases with full honors.
Industries ranging from tech to finance to Hollywood have been roiled by sexual harassment and assault scandals that have led to the ouster of top executives and calls for reform. The accusations this month against film producer Harvey Weinstein by dozens of women have reportedly prompted criminal investigations in the United States and United Kingdom, along with his removal from the company he founded.
In the military, as with the Weinstein case, sexual harassment by top brass in many cases is considered an open secret, documents show. Yet many stay quiet, and efforts on Capitol Hill to reform the system and call senior officers to account have often failed.
Instead, the military has often closed ranks. The Pentagon doesn’t publicly discuss most cases, though USA TODAY has identified several, including five since 2016 that have involved senior officers in the Army, Air Force and Navy. Nor does the military seem interested in getting to the root of the problem. In 2014, then-Defense secretary Chuck Hagel created an office to investigate ethical problems among senior leaders. It was shuttered two years later without determining the depth of the problem, a task Hagel gave it when he opened the office. [Continue reading…]