Panetta’s First High-Level Personnel Challenge?

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A Department of Defense Inspector General investigation into Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD P&R) Clifford Stanley, “one of the Pentagon’s most senior and powerful appointees, could pose the first significant personnel challenge for new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta,” National Journal’s Megan Scully wrote about a week ago. The complaints that have sparked the DoD IG investigation come from several quarters of Stanley’s office.  There have been at least four since May. Three of these are by anonymous complainants; the Project On Government Oversight (POGO; who I work for) has made these three available today.

The complaints allege that Stanley wasted millions of dollars on consultants to craft a strategic plan that was never made public; does not or did not understand fundamental responsibilities of his office; and that he has gutted his office of expertise, among other issues. One of the complaint letters, dated August 3, 2011, says that the DoD’s Wounded Warrior office has been badly mismanaged under Stanley, contributing to delays in processing wounded servicemembers’ disability claims.