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Entries in Martin Dempsey (2)

Monday
Apr162012

Joint Chiefs Chairman Says ‘We Let the Boss Down’ in Colombia

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey said Monday he is embarrassed by the conduct of the military service members involved in the Secret Service scandal in Colombia and, referring to President Obama, said, “We let the boss down.”

At a Pentagon briefing Monday afternoon with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Dempsey said the incident has proven to be a distraction from what was a very important regional story.

Earlier Monday, Pentagon spokesmen acknowledged that more than five military service members were under investigation for the incident in which 11 members of the Secret Service were involved in a scandal involving prostitutes in Colombia.  President Obama was in Colombia to attend the Summit of the Americas.

Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters that “these personnel were in the hotel where the alleged misconduct occurred.” He said they were not directly involved in providing security to the president, but provided support to the Secret Service.

“We are embarrassed,” said Dempsey, who said he was speaking for himself and his fellow Joint Chiefs of Staff in saying they “were embarrassed by what occurred in Colombia, though we’re not sure exactly what it is.”

“What we do know is that we distracted -- that several of our members distracted the issue from what was a very important regional engagement for our president, so we let the boss down, because nobody’s talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident,” he said. “So to that extent, we let him down.”

Dempsey said an ongoing investigation will hold military members accountable if "it turns out that they violated order or policies or laws.”

Panetta stressed the importance of the military behaving to the highest standards anywhere.

“Whether our forces are in Colombia or any other country, or here in this country, we expect them to abide by the highest standard of behavior,” he said. “That’s a requirement.”

He said he did not want to prejudge the ongoing investigation, but “obviously if violations are determined to have been the case, then these individuals will be held accountable, and that’s as it should be.”

The military service members involved in the incident were to leave Colombia Monday. Unlike the members of the Secret Service, who were returned to the United States immediately, the military service members continued with their duties, though they were confined to quarters.

U.S. Officials tell ABC News that the military service members being investigated are from various military services and that they were working in explosives ordinance, communications and as dog handlers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan052012

Obama Slashing US Troop Numbers as Part of Defense Strategy 

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will join Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey at the Pentagon on Thursday to announce the new defense strategy going forward.

Although troop numbers won't be announced Thursday, the UK Daily Mail is reporting Obama's cuts reduce the strength of the military by tens of thousands of troops.

Now that the war in Afghanistan is drawing down and U.S. troops have been pulled out of Iraq, the Pentagon needs to reassess where its money will go, especially since billions of dollars will be cut from the Department of Defense's budget.  That's where a new strategy comes in.

Obama will be the one to announce the changes.  He's going to the Pentagon "because he's personally led the development of the new defense strategy, working in close consultation with Secretary Panetta, Chairman Dempsey, and other senior civilian and military Department of Defense officials," says a senior U.S. official.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio