Pentagon's embattled personnel official resigns

Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness who was under investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general after allegations of gross mismanagement and abuse of power, is resigning.

The Pentagon announced on Thursday that Stanley submitted his resignation to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and plans to leave the Pentagon within the next two weeks. JoAnn Rooney, currently principal deputy undersecretary for personnel and readiness, will serve as acting undersecretary until a successor is named.

"He felt he had done his utmost to carry out the mandate he was given, and that he had arrived at the point where the next steps could be carried out most effectively by a successor. His decision to resign was his own," Doug Wilson, assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs, said in a statement.

National Journal reported in August that the Pentagon inspector general was investigating Stanley, the official charged with overseeing the Defense Department's massive personnel bureaucracy, after a spate of highly detailed allegations portraying him as vindictive, wasteful, and unfit for service. Stanley is accused of firing respected senior staff, neglecting programs for wounded troops, and using limited funds on expensive consultants and a lavish new conference room. Senior civilian and military officials filed at least four separate complaints with the IG's office and to Capitol Hill since May, alleging that Stanley hurt the military's ability to deliver crucial services to troops and their families. Stanley, a retired two-star Marine Corps general, has been on the job since February 2010.

Stanley was the Pentagon's point person for studying the potential impact of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell' restrictions on allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military. As part of the Pentagon's examination of the issue, it released a survey arguing that military personnel would accept the change. The survey has come under harsh attack from many Republican lawmakers, including Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He and other critics allege that Stanley intentionally misrepresented the survey's findings, underestimating the degree of opposition within the military.

Stanley, in his letter to Panetta, said it was an honor to serve in his position. "This letter, however, is not about me. It's about the men and women we serve! I'm not ashamed to say that I love them all. It is with that thought that I am tendering my resignation," Stanley said. "I believe P&R [Personnel and Readiness] is on the right path. I've asked them to ensure that compassion is ever present in their work. I've joked about the bureaucracy in the Pentagon, but with the understanding that there is some good in having a bureaucracy that is focused on taking care of our troops, families, retirees, and civilian employees."

Panetta, who is currently traveling in Asia, believes Stanley has been a "devoted public servant -- including as a Marine -- for all of his professional career," Wilson said. "He has praised Dr. Stanley as an advocate for America's men and women in uniform. The secretary has accepted his resignation, and upon his return will personally convey his appreciation for Dr. Stanley's service as part of the Pentagon's senior leadership team."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.