WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has demoted the former head of U.S. Africa Command who was accused of spending thousands of dollars on lavish travel and other unauthorized expenses, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Panetta stripped Gen. William “Kip” Ward of a star, which means that he will now retire as a three-star lieutenant general. Ward also has been ordered to repay the government $82,000.
Secretary of the Army John McHugh concurred with Panetta’s decision, Pentagon press secretary George Little said Tuesday.
The demotion came after retired Army Gen. David Petraeus resigned as CIA director because of an extramarital affair.
“Secretary Panetta insists that leaders within the Department of Defense exemplify both professional excellence and sound judgment,” Little said. “The secretary is committed to ensuring that any improprieties ... are dealt with swiftly ...”