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Hagel appoints top ethics officer

Rear Adm. Margaret Klein will be the first senior adviser for military professionalism, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday.

Klein will report directly to Hagel on issues related to military ethics, character and leadership, Hagel said in a written statement.

A flight officer, Klein was commissioned after she graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981, according to her official biography. She is the chief of staff for the strategic plans and policy directorate of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Klein “brings to the position a wealth of operational and leadership experience,” Hagel said, including experience as the commandant of midshipmen at the Naval Academy. “She knows that ethics and character are absolute values that must be constantly reinforced.”

In February, Hagel said some members of the military have been falling short of the high standards they are expected to meet, and he announced he would appoint a general officer to his staff to report to him on ethics and character issues.

“This will be an absolute top priority for the service secretaries, the service chiefs, [chairman of the Joint Chiefs] General Dempsey and me,” Hagel told reporters.

That was a day after CNN reported that Brig. Gen. Martin Schweitzer was no longer allowed to brief Hagel because Schweitzer made inappropriate sexual comments about a congresswoman in an email he sent to Army colleagues.

A colonel with the 82nd Airborne Division at the time, Schweitzer emailed a colleague that the lawmaker was not only knowledgeable but also “smoking hot,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

Klein will work with the joint staff and the services to coordinate efforts and report back to Hagel weekly on the progress, he said.

“Competence and character are not mutually exclusive,” Hagel said. “They are woven together, and they must be. And an uncompromising culture of accountability must exist at every level of command.”

hlad.jennifer@stripes.com
Twitter: @jhlad

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