Army 4-Star Who Pressured Panel to Help Career of Unfit Officer Suspended, Facing Pentagon Investigation

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth suspended one of the service’s top generals Friday after reporting revealed he may have inappropriately intervened in a service assessment panel‘s work in an attempt to help the career of a subordinate officer who was deemed unfit for command.

The case of Gen. Charles Hamilton, who oversees Army Materiel Command, was also referred by the Army to the Defense Department inspector general for investigation — a rare move to take against a seasoned four-star general.’s investigation found that Hamilton used what one general with direct knowledge of the situation called a “pressure campaign” aimed at influencing the Army Command Assessment Program panel in support of a female lieutenant colonel who was seeking a battalion command post. The assessment process is specifically designed to eliminate outside influence.

Despite Hamilton’s efforts, which included contacting panel members, the assessment process, which is designed to validate whether an officer is fit for command, found the lieutenant colonel unqualified due to ineffective and counterproductive leadership.

However, Hamilton’s subordinate officer was later placed on a selection list for command despite rejection by two assessment panels.

For its investigation, interviewed key Army staff and officials, including general officers, who were directly familiar with the lieutenant colonel’s command assessment panels. Hamilton’s conduct was viewed as so out of line that the director of the assessment panel, Col. Robert O’Brien, penned a memo with a detailed timeline of events, which the publication also reviewed. O’Brien did not return requests for comment.

Hamilton’s lobbying campaign

It started with closed-door meetings between Hamilton and staff with the Army’s Command Assessment Program, or CAP, in Washington, D.C., at the annual Association of the United States Army convention. The event is a massive gathering of the who’s who of the service held every October.

The lieutenant colonel’s first Battalion Commander Assessment Program, or BCAP, panel was held later that month.

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