Air Force Secretary Michael Donley provided Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with an interim report on the disciplinary actions that the service has taken to date in response to substandard management practices and procedures at the USAF-run military mortuary at Dover AFB, Del. This document “consists of a comprehensive summary of the disciplinary actions, the process used, the legal basis for the actions, and the factual record used in determining the appropriate action,” states an Air Force release Wednesday. Donley passed the report to Panetta on Dec. 16, said service officials. Panetta last month asked Donley to review the disciplinary actions to ensure that the Air Force response was adequate and complete and that service officials did not take reprisal action against whistleblower mortuary employees. The interim report is the first step in the service’s three-step process for conducting the review, according to the release. Next, Donley will ask a retired general officer from a sister service and two outside legal experts for independent assessments. He will then review the assessments, along with the findings of the Office of Special Counsel’s concurrent reprisal investigation, and then provide Panetta with a final report.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.