Newspaper: Pentagon reprimands general for steering contract

Photo by Wikimedia user David B. Gleason

Photo by Wikimedia user David B. Gleason

WASHINGTON — An Army general has been reprimanded for steering a defense contract to a firm run by two former classmates at West Point, according to a published report.

Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, who as deputy commander for operations in the Middle East oversaw the training of Iraqi forces, was reprimanded after an investigation by the Army’s inspector general, according to The Washington Post, which cited documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

An Army review board is considering whether to strip Pittard of his rank as a two-star general before he is allowed to retire, the newspaper reported.

It said an anonymous whistleblower alleged that Pittard had “abused his authority by awarding lucrative renewable energy contracts to his friends” while commander of Fort Bliss in Texas.

Pittard was not accused of financial gain but was reprimanded for his “excessive involvement” in awarding the $492,000 contract and for “creating the perception of preferential treatment,” according to his reprimand. The contract was an initial step in a $250 million project to make Fort Bliss, one of the Army’s largest installations, self-sufficient in energy usage.

Cynthia O. Smith, an Army spokeswoman, said in a statement that the misconduct findings and 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.”

Several Army officers, including Pittard’s staff lawyer, told investigators the general went to unusual lengths to push a no-bid contract for a joint venture run by two of his former classmates from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Pittard told the inspector general he just wanted the energy project to move swiftly and did not care who got the contract.

The post Newspaper: Pentagon reprimands general for steering contract appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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