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WASHINGTON — New Defense Department Inspector General Claude Kicklighter was sworn in Monday, giving the department its first permanent leader in almost 20 months.

Thomas Gimble had been serving as acting inspector general since September 2005, when Joseph Schmitz stepped down. Kicklighter was approved by the Senate last month.

Kicklighter retired from the Army as a lieutenant general in 1991. Prior to this post, he directed the Iraq/Afghanistan Joint Transition Planning Group for the departments of State and Defense.

The defense inspector general is responsible for investigation fraud, waste and abuse allegations throughout the department, reporting to both the secretary of defense and Congress on those issues.

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