Pentagon chief sacks trusted three-star general over ‘misconduct allegations’

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ron Lewis © Carolyn Kaster
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sacked three-star general Ron Lewis after “learning about allegations of misconduct,” the Pentagon announced. Carter hinted that his Senior Military Assistant failed to meet “the highest possible standards of conduct.”

"I directed that this matter be referred to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense for investigation. I have confidence in the Inspector General's ability to determine the facts. The Department of the Army will then take action as appropriate,” the Pentagon chief said in a statement on Thursday.

According to an unnamed senior Defense Department official cited by Reuters, Carter was did not see the misconduct allegations coming, which were announced on Tuesday evening.

"The secretary was very surprised to learn of these allegations," the official said.

Carter has not specified what the alleged misconduct referred to, but added in his statement’s closing sentence that he expects “the highest possible standards of conduct from the men and women in this department particularly from those serving in the most senior positions.”

“There is no exception,” Carter said, making reference to Army Lt. Gen. Lewis.

The Inspector General's (IG) office has confirmed that an investigation has been launched.

"The Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) received a referral from the Office of the Secretary of Defense regarding the senior military assistant to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter," the IG's office said in a statement. "The DODIG will conduct an investigation."

While the investigation is being conducted, or until further notice, Lewis will report to the Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, the Military Times reported.

Lewis took his position as the defense secretary's senior military assistant when Carter took office on February 17. He previously served as the head of Army public affairs and had been Carter's military adviser during his service as deputy defense secretary from 2011 to 2013.

Lewis, a Chicago native and the West Point graduate, served in Afghanistan in 2008 as commander of an aviation brigade attached to the 101st Airborne Division. Prior to his position at Army public affairs, he served in Afghanistan as the division's deputy commanding general in 2013.