Former Commander of African Command Accused of Misuse of Government Funds

General William "Kip" Ward, a four-star general and former head of the newly established Africa Command, is the subject of a Department of Defense report about misuse of government resources.

The 99-page report, released on August 17, concludes that Gen. Ward “engaged in multiple forms of misconduct related to official and unofficial travel.” Some of the alleged instances of misconduct include:

  • In January 2011, Ward along with 13 other personnel took an 11-day trip to Washington D.C. and Atlanta at government expense, and conducted less than 3 days of official business. The estimated cost of the trip was $129,000.
  • Using military vehicles to shuttle his wife (Joyce Ward) to spas and shops, and allowing his wife to send military personnel to run errands for her.
  • Gen. and Mrs. Ward taking a trip from Europe to the US, stopping overnight in Bermuda to refuel and billing the government $750 for a hotel suite.
  • Allowing unauthorized personnel to fly on government planes, amounting to several hundred thousand dollars.
  • Changing an non-official trip to an official trip (by adding one meeting) after reimbursement for the non-official trip was refused.

While serving as the Commander of Africa Command, Ward made around $20,000 per month and while he planned to retire in 2011, Ward is currently serving as a special assistant to the vice chief of the Army making approximated $14,000 per month . The rank of four-star general can only be held when serving in a four-star command or office, and since his current post is not a four-star command, he received an automatic demotion.

Gen. Ward faces possible demotion, and his fate will probably be decided by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta before the end of the month. If Ward is demoted and forced to retire at the rank of 3-star instead of 4, it could cost him over $1 million in retirement. It is not clear if he will also be facing criminal charges.

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