The Army Surgeon General has resigned his post, the end of yet another high-level career brought about by the still-expanding scandal over shoddy care for wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.Now, according to the Associated Press (via boston.com), it wasn't really his idea:
Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, Army Surgeon General and commander of the Army Medical Command, submitted a retirement request Sunday to Acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.
Geren announced Kiley’s request during a speech intended to lift the spirits of the staff at Walter Reed Monday.
Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, current deputy surgeon general, immediately assumed the surgeon general’s duties.
Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren had asked Kiley for his retirement, said a senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the events.After Kiley's butt-covering performance last week, I figured his neck was on the block. THen, a couple of days ago, I saw another Army Times article about a new brigade at Walter Reed to take over command of the medical hold units:
Kiley's removal underscored how the controversy, which began with reports of dilapidated outpatient housing and a nightmarish bureaucracy at the Army's flagship hospital, has snowballed into a far broader problem for the Bush administration.
The Army’s vice chief of staff announced a new brigade and a new general officer position to help solve problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.Talk about a vote of no confidence in the medical community - at least, the medical community under LTG Kiley's leadership. Getting wounded soldiers follow-up care isn't "the medical thing"?
All of the new positions, including 122 new platoon sergeants in the medical hold units, who will form the backbone of a new Wounded Warrior Transition Brigade, have been filled by combat arms soldiers.
"We’re an Army at war and we demand an awful lot of our medical professionals," Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody said during a media roundtable at Walter Reed. "We need to let them concentrate on the medical thing."
Combat arms soldiers, Cody said, have the right level of leadership to take charge of the new brigade.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates continues to show that he's willing to take tough action in the short term - which gives me some hope that maybe he'll also take effective long-term actions. I"m still uncertain, though, how bad things are at the other service medical institutions, and how effective Gates can be at fixing problems there while also having to fight multiple hot wars without political support or adequate manpower.