Dempsey opposes demoting general accused of abusing travel

Panetta could choose to demote Ward to a three-star general, which would cost him tens of thousands in retirement pay.

The AP reported that Dempsey believes Ward should be allowed to retire as a four-star general and not be demoted, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

Dempsey declined comment on the AP report.

Ward is accused of engaging in “misconduct relating to official and unofficial travel” in the IG report, including extended trips for personal reasons, bringing his spouse on military aircraft, and accepting gifts from a prohibited source.

Ward, who was the first commander of U.S. Africa Command, is currently on active duty in a holding position as special assistant to the Army vice chief of staff. He is technically a two-star general now because he has not remained in a four-star position.