Dempsey: Concerned, not distracted, by misconduct

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says the U.S. military will move past string of misconduct investigations and continue the mission.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey wrote a letter Nov. 15 to every U.S. four-star officer to express his concern with the recent string of misconduct highlighted by the investigations into ex-CIA director Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, the head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued a memorandum to Dempsey saying ‘the fundamental mission of the Department of Defense is to protect the nation. Any behavior that negatively impacts our ability to perform that mission is unacceptable.”

On Monday, Dempsey issued a statement over concerns that have spread through the U.S. military that these investigations into misconduct, namely the one involving Allen, would distract the U.S. from its war in Afghanistan.

“For good reason some of you have asked if we’re distracted by recent allegations against several senior military officers. We are not distracted, but we are concerned. We’re committed to learning and adapting. We’re committed to honoring the profession and protecting the nation.

“We’re not distracted — we can’t afford to be. We have hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guardsmen deployed around the world standing watch for the nation.

“Their well-being, and the well-being of their families, remains our top priority. The nation deserves our best effort and our attention to the security challenges we face. It will have it as we work through these challenges,” Dempsey wrote.