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Report: Pentagon reprimands Army general after 3-year misconduct investigation

By Doug G. Ware
Report: Pentagon reprimands Army general after 3-year misconduct investigation
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard was reprimanded by the Department of Defense earlier this year following a three-year investigation into claims of misconduct regarding a renewable energy contract he awarded. Here, Pittard is pictured during an interview in 2011 about the goal of Fort Bliss, Texas, in becoming a net-zero energy military installation. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army/YouTube

ARLINGTON, Va., June 21 (UPI) -- Following a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Department of Defense, a key Army commander who was responsible for training Iraqis to fight the Islamic State was reprimanded earlier this year by the Pentagon for misconduct and will result in his retirement, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

According to Defense Department documents obtained by the Post through the Freedom of Information Act, Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard was the subject of a three-year probe that concluded he engaged in misconduct by steering a defense contract to a firm operated by two former West Point classmates.

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As the U.S. Army's deputy commander for operations in the Middle East, Pittard managed the Pentagon-led training of Iraqi forces to combat IS militants.

The formal reprimand could result in a loss of rank for the two-star general -- something the Army review board will ultimately determine before Pittard's retirement this year, the Post report said. Until April, he was stationed in Kuwait, but a Pentagon spokesman said his returning to the United States was not related to the misconduct investigation.

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According to the documents obtained by the Post, the Pentagon began investigating Pittard in 2011 after a whistle-blower reported that he had abused his authority as a commander at Texas' Fort Bliss to steer a lucrative energy contract to his former classmates.

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The accusation jump-started two Army investigations and eventually involved the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, which ultimately led to the conviction in September of one of Pittard's former classmates for wire fraud.

The Pentagon's reprimand stopped short of citing any financial gain by the general, but criticized him for "excessive involvement" in awarding the $492,000 renewable energy contract -- which was part of the Fort Bliss' goal to become a net-zero energy installation. The investigation also faulted Pittard for creating the perception of preferential treatment in awarding the contract to a firm run by former acquaintances.

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An Army spokesman said Pittard's reprimand "called into question his suitability for continued service and resulted in his request for retirement, effectively ending his career in the Army," the Post reported.

The 1981 West Point graduate has served in the Army for 34 years, according to his official biographical page, and completed multiple tours of duty in Iraq. At one time he was a military aide for President Bill Clinton who carried the "nuclear football" -- the briefcase containing the launch codes for the United States' nuclear arsenal.

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