US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in a Nov. 12 statement said he has asked the Pentagon Inspector General to investigate USMC Gen. John R. Allen, currently serving as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Allen has been linked to the scandal surrounding retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned last week as CIA director after announcing he had conducted an extramarital affair. Allen reportedly had an inappropriate e-mail exchange with one of the women involved in the scandal. According to Panetta’s statement, which noted that the FBI referred the Allen matter to DOD on Nov. 11, Allen will continue to serve as ISAF commander “while the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined.” Panetta added that Allen’s “leadership has been instrumental in achieving the significant progress that ISAF … has made in bringing greater security to the Afghan people. … He is entitled to due process in this matter.” However, Panetta has asked Congress to put on hold Allen’s nomination to become commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Panetta also asked Congress to “act promptly” on the nomination (announced in October) of USMC Gen. Joseph E. Dunford Jr. to succeed Allen at ISAF. (Also see CNN report and USA Today report)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.