Panetta told Dempsey to work with the chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to review ethics training for officers to determine whether they are adequate, and to provide views on "how to better foster a culture of value-based decision-making and stewardship" among senior officers and their staffs. That is another way of saying Panetta wants a game plan for ending the string of bad behavior.
He said the initial results of the chiefs' review, along with their recommendations, should be ready in time for Panetta to report to President Barack Obama by Dec. 1. The text of the Panetta memo, which he signed on Wednesday, was provided Thursday to reporters traveling with the Pentagon chief, who was in Bangkok for talks with senior Thai government officials in advance of Obama's visit here this weekend.
"Beyond mere compliance with the rules, I also expect senior officers and civilian executives to exercise sound judgment in their stewardship of government resources and in their personal conduct," Panetta said. "An action may be legally permissible but neither advisable nor wise."
Panetta said he intends to raise these issues in a meeting next month with all of the military service chiefs, the services' civilian leaders and the generals and admirals who lead major commands like U.S. Central Command.
Ethics issues associated with the Petraeus and Allen matters were raised during Panetta's joint news conference Thursday with his Thai counterpart, Sukampol Suwannathat. The two spoke to reporters after signing an update to a 1962 U.S.-Thai statement framing the security relationship. The United States and Thailand are treaty allies — a relationship that Washington sees as a cornerstone of its security interests in Asia.
Panetta said he knows of no other senior U.S. military officers being linked to the Petraeus investigation, and he said he retains "tremendous confidence" in Allen.