Army Can’t Say What It Pays Disgraced General to Do
2012-10-04 0:00

By Spencer Ackerman | DangerRoom

What does Army Maj. Gen. William “Kip” Ward do for a living?

The Army doesn’t seem to know. It knows where Ward works: He’s an assistant to Gen. Lloyd Austin, the Army’s vice chief of staff. But substantively, the Army seems to have no idea what Ward does for his money. After a week of research, the Army’s public relations office couldn’t come up with an answer. “The Army declines to comment on what Gen. Ward’s duties are,” George Wright, the Army’s deputy director of media relations, tells Danger Room.

It’s an unlikely position for Ward, who 18 months ago commanded all U.S. troops in Africa. But Ward ran afoul of a Pentagon inspector general’s inquiry into misspent funds, which cost him two of his stars.

So if you’re working at the Pentagon, help Danger Room — and the Army — out. Please, tell us how this former military rock star, an officer with four decades of service to the country, earns his $200,000-plus annual salary.

Army Gen. William “Kip” Ward speaks at a Center for Strategic & International Studies forum on Africa, July 2010.

It shouldn’t be difficult. Ward has a staff job, not a top-secret commando billet. Working for Austin seemed like a placeholder job to let Ward save face while under investigation, so he could quietly retire afterwards with dignity. But the inquiry has been over for months, and Ward is still in uniform. There are grumblings inside the Pentagon that Ward rarely shows up for work. Privately, Army officials say they don’t know how Ward, a man with four decades of service to the Army, spends his time.

Keeping Ward on in a nebulous position is a strange way to conclude a financial impropriety mess. The Army may not be saying what Ward’s doing. But that itself says a lot about the Army’s conception of accountability.


Except Ward’s operational competence was never in question. As the first chief of Africa Command, a historic position, the infractions that cost him his career — and his final two stars — were minor. The Pentagon’s inspector general found that Ward’s sins were using government funds to go on personal trips; accepting Broadway tickets from a defense contractor whom he apparently did not steer contracts toward; and instructing his subordinates to run the occasional errand for his wife, such as picking up a bag of dark chocolate Snickers at the supermarket.

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