Photo: Missile defence Agency
The Army has been suffering some bad press in its control of the Missile defence Agency and it’s resulted in control of the agency being handed over to the Navy.It started in early July when a defence Department report surfaced accusing Army Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly of abusing his staff so ferociously that they were afraid to voice even the mildest opinion.
O’Reilly had been in charge of the Missile defence Agency since 2008, and the report was made public after three complaints were issued against him. Only then did the paperwork fall under the auspices of a Freedom of Information request.
Reuters found that the general’s “yelling and screaming” was a factor in many individuals’ decisions to leave the agency.
Even then O’Reilly may have escaped real damage, but there followed accusations by Army Secretary John McHugh that the general lied to Congress about the morale of his staff. This sent a new investigation O’Reily’s way, one coming straight from the Pentagon’s inspector general.
Within days the Missile defence Agency was warned by the Pentagon that its staff and contractors needed to stop using the MDA’s computers for pornography.
“Specifically, there have been instances of employees and contractors accessing websites, or transmitting messages, containing pornographic or sexually explicit images,” James wrote in the July 27 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.
“These actions are not only unprofessional, they reflect time taken away from designated duties, are in clear violation of federal and DoD regulations, consume network resources and can compromise the security of the network though the introduction of malware or malicious code,” he wrote.
Then on August 6, Secretary of defence Leon Panetta announced that Navy Rear Admiral James D. Syring was tapped for promotion to the rank of Vice Admiral and Directorship of the Missile defence Agency—the first time the agency will not be led by an Army officer in history.
To be fair, the Navy holds 28 ballistic missile Aegis ships that provide a wide area of missile coverage across the globe. Combined with the fact that many ranking military officials believe diversity at the helm of the MDA is long overdue, and perhaps it makes sense for the Navy to assume the lead.
No word yet on O’Reily’s fate, but becoming the Army general who lost control of the MDA to the Navy is undoubtedly a career cramping note in his file.
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