Defense secretary launches ethics review

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to review military ethics training for officers in the wake of a scandal that has ensnared retired four-star Gen. David Petraeus and the U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Panetta asked Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey to look at how to improve the culture of military officers so that ethical lapses do not occur. The review will be part of a report to President Obama in December.

Panetta did not mention Petraeus by name, but the call for a review comes less than a week after a major scandal broke that has now involved both Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, whose promotion to became NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe is on hold as the DOD inspector general investigates.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said that the review had already been in the works before Petraeus announced his resignation as CIA director last week.

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“I will emphasize very strongly that the secretary was going to embark on this course long before the matters that have come to light over the past week," Little told reporters traveling with Panetta in Asia, according to The Associated Press.

Little said the review was intended to determine “how to better foster a culture of stewardship among our most senior military officers.”

The Petraeus affair has not been the only recent blow to the military’s ethical credibility. Gen. William “Kip” Ward was demoted from a four-star to a three-star general this week over excessive military spending, and the Air Force has been dealing with sexual assault cases involving basic training instructors and trainers at Lackland Air Force Base.

Panetta said at a press conference Thursday that he was not aware of any other top military officials involved with the Petraeus scandal.