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American Forces Press Service

Panetta Briefs President on Dempsey Ethics Findings

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has briefed President Barack Obama on Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey's recommendations about general/flag officer ethics, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented two initial findings that Panetta took to the White House earlier this week.

Dempsey sent the secretary some initial findings "informed as a result of his year-long effort to renew the U.S. military's commitment to the profession of arms," Little told reporters.

The findings are part of the review of general and flag officer ethics training. As part of this effort, Panetta asked Dempsey to work with the Joint Chiefs to determine how to better foster a culture of stewardship among senior U.S. military leaders.

The first finding is that while there is appropriate ethics training in place for senior leaders, "we need to start earlier and reinforce that training more frequently in an officer's career," Little said. Ethics training is a part of each service's professional military education from initial entry training to general/flag officer education.

"Second, General Dempsey believes we must look at the level and type of support senior leaders receive in the execution of their duties to ensure it is necessary, and to ensure we are being consistent, sensible and efficient," Little said.

The chairman's intent is to direct consistency of support across the general officer/flag officer cadre and to determine whether it is appropriate, the press secretary said.

"What we're talking about here is the personnel infrastructure surrounding general and flag officers," Little said. There are different types of support that general and flag officers receive. For example, generals in command have an aide-de-camp, which is one level of support. They often have additional staff to help with more routine activities.

Little said the findings are an initial set of recommendations, and part of a long-term effort by the chairman.

"The secretary fully supports what Chairman Dempsey has done over the last year with respect to the profession of arms and this is going to be an on-going dialogue inside the Joint Chiefs and services," Little said. "We will see an evolution of discussion and potential actions depending on what General Dempsey, the chiefs and the secretary decide going forward."

Little said Dempsey has not reached conclusions on ethics training or support to senior military officers.

"The secretary is committed to giving the chairman and the chiefs the space they need to come forward with recommendations and to take actions on their own that may be appropriate for ethics for general and flag officers," the press secretary said.

Panetta strongly believes the vast majority of general and flag officers behave in a manner consistent with the highest standards of conduct, Little said.

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