U.S. Admiral Broke Rules, Watchdog Says as Navy Disagrees

The Pentagon’s inspector general said the admiral who heads the U.S. European Command violated travel and gift rules, while the Navy said there was no “personal misconduct.”

Admiral James Stavridis on one occasion used military aircraft for unofficial travel without obtaining approval, accepted gifts from foreign governments without reporting or disposing of them, and let family members travel with him on military aircraft without reimbursing the government at full coach fares, according to a report by the Defense Department’s inspector general released today.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said most of the incidents cited resulted from “shortcomings in administrative procedures” that have since been corrected. Mabus disputed a finding that Stavridis used a military aircraft for unofficial purposes on a 2010 trip from Belgium to Burgundy, France, saying the trip had “strategic value.”

“I have determined that Admiral Stavridis never attempted to use his public office for private gain, nor did he commit personal misconduct,” Mabus wrote in memo explaining his resolution of the case.

Mabus said he discussed with Stavridis “the several process failures documented in this investigation” and stressed the importance of following standard protocols for all gifts, travel by family members and the use of government cellular phones.

Stavridis, a former head of U.S. Southern Command, took over the European Command in 2009. He also serves as NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at dlerman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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