When General William E. Ward was chosen to lead the new U.S. Army Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2007 nobody imagined he’d have sidelined his four decade career and been pulled from the post in less than four years—but that’s exactly what happened.Ward was nominated by President Bush and approved by Congress to head U.S. military relations with 54 African countries, and while his leadership appears unchallenged, his official spending is another matter.
The general is accused of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on hotels, purchases for his family, and unauthorised access to his private plane among other expenses.
Full details have yet to be released, but The Daily Mail breaks it down like this:
- $129,000 on an 11-day trip to Washington with his wife and 13 staff where he only had short engagements on the first three days of the trip. The cost covers the hotel and ‘other’ costs such as transportation.
- $10,000 on hotels rooms for himself and staff during a ‘refueling stop’ in Bermuda on the way to an engagement in Germany. He and his wife stayed in a $750 suite. The bill does not include transport or other costs.
- $18,500 on producing and publishing 2,000 books about the Command’s plush residence in Germany and its first three years of work.
- One staffer stayed in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in McLean, Virginia for 49 consecutive nights in early 2010—even though Ward was in the area for just 18 of the nights.
- Use of government-rented vehicles to run errands including collecting flowers, books, football game tickets and snacks.
- Dinner and a Broadway show—paid for by a government contractor—before meeting Denzel Washington and staying in the five-star Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
- Wife joined him on 52 of his 79 trips even though she had no official capacity.
- Ward also set officials meetings after being refused the use of military aircraft for personal travel.
Spencer Ackerman at Danger Room reports that Ward also had a book printed at taxpayer expense, which detailed his lavish German home near AFRICOM headquarters. Ward is still on active duty, though at reduced rank, while he awaits the result of the Pentagon’s investigation expected to be delivered at the end of this month.
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