Four-star General William ‘Kip’ Ward is facing the very real possibility of a demotion after it was learned that he had improperly used military funds as his own personal checking account.
The possible demotion followed a Pentagon investigation in which it was learned that General Ward used military funds for personal travel expenses.
Members of the Pentagon probe handed over their findings to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta this week. Panetta will now be tasked with looking over the probes finding, and he is expected to hand down his decision in the next few days.
According to the inspector general, General William Ward was involved in “inappropriate” activities in which he submitted expense reports that included unacceptable and extravagant charges. Ward is also said to have inappropriately used military staff.
One official involved in the investigation called the amount of money taken by Ward as “not an insignificant sum of money.”
Panetta could allow Ward to retire with the pay of a four-star general or choose to demote him to a three-star general. Depending on time served and star rank, many generals in the United States military earn more than $100,000 per year following their retirement.
At this time, military officials have not revealed what, if any, charges will be brought against General Ward. Military law dictates that the secretary of defense makes personnel decisions regarding all three- and four- star officers.
Ward retired from his African Command post in April, but his full retirement was delayed pending the close of the Pentagon investigation.
The four-star General has not responded to requests for comments at this time.