The Army has reprimanded a former top general in the fight against ISIS for misconduct reportedly involving the alleged steering of a contract award to former West Point classmates when he was in command of Fort Bliss, Texas.
Secretary of the Army John McHugh will decide whether Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard should retire at his current two star rank or at a lesser rank as a result of the career-ending reprimand.
Until April, Pittard was the deputy commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. military headquarters directing the war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. An Army official said his departure from the post was because of a normal rotation and not related to the reprimand.
An official for that headquarters, CJTF-OIR, referred questions about Pittard’s status to the Army’s Office of Public Affairs.
“Following an investigation by the Army Inspector General Agency, Maj. Gen. Pittard received an official reprimand for his misconduct, which called into question his suitability for continued service and resulted in his request for retirement, effectively ending his career in the Army,” said Cynthia O. Smith, an Army spokeswoman.
“Secretary McHugh has referred Maj. Gen. Pittard's file to an Army Grade Determination Review Board, which will make a recommendation on Maj. Gen. Pittard's retired grade,” said Smith.
Citing documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, The Washington Post reported that Pittard was reprimanded in February for actions in 2011 when he commanded the sprawling Army base at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Army investigations were triggered by allegations that Pittard had steered a $492,000 renewable energy no-bid contract to a company owned by two former West Point classmates. One of those classmates, Thomas Gregory Harris, was convicted of wire fraud in September in a federal case triggered by the Army’s investigation.
The documents obtained by The Washington Post said Pittard was reprimanded for his “excessive involvement” in awarding the contract.
Through a spokesman Pittard declined to comment to ABC News' request, but he provided a written statement to The Washington Post.
"I invited a measure of risk with the contracting process," he wrote. "Throughout my 34 years of service as an Army leader, I have always operated with an understanding that some risk is acceptable in taking action that will benefit our force.
"If my example deters other senior Army leaders from taking bold risk in the future, that is unfortunate," he added.
Smith stressed that Pittard ”was not removed from his position because of the misconduct.” She noted that Pittard had served as deputy commanding general, Army Central, from July 2013 to April 2015 “and his departure was as part of a normal rotation.”
Pittard is currently serving as the special assistant to the commanding general, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.
“He will remain in this position until the secretary of the Army approves his retirement request and the associated retired grade,” said Smith.