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."

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