Updated Jul 11, 2019

Trump Joint Chiefs vice chair nominee accused of sexual misconduct

Air Force Gen. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

A senior military officer has accused Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who's tapped to be the next Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman, of subjecting her to a series of unwanted sexual advances, AP reported Wednesday. She alleges he tried to derail her career when she rebuffed him.

Why it matters: Defense One first reported that while the Pentagon cleared Hyten of the allegations, senators are still looking into the matter, and he may face questions on the claims during his Senate confirmation process.

The big picture: The woman alleged to AP that Hyten kissed, hugged and rubbed up against her when she was one of his aides in 2017.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports a senior military officer familiar with the investigation told reporters, "We did not uncover any evidence that would support these specific allegations."
"Every single rock that we thought to look under, we looked under."

This article has been updated with more details, including comments from military officials.

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Colonel publicly accuses Trump's Joint Chiefs vice chair nominee of sexual assault

John Hyten testifies before House Armed Services Committee in 2017. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser on Friday publicly accused Commander of U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Gen. John Hyten of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2017, the NYT reports.

The big picture: The Pentagon reports that the, "Estimated prevalence of sexual assault for active duty women increased" in 2018. It estimates that 20,500 service members — men and women — experienced sexual assault in 2018, up from approximately 14,900 in 2016. Hyten, Trump's nominee to be the next Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman, would oversee 1.2 million active-duty troops if confirmed.

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Mark Esper becomes first Senate-confirmed defense secretary in 204 days

Mark Esper. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate voted 90 to 8 on Tuesday to confirm Mark Esper as the new secretary of defense.

Why it matters: The Trump administration went a record 204 days without a Senate-confirmed defense secretary, following the resignation of James Mattis in December and the withdrawal of acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan last month.

Go deeperArrowJul 23, 2019

GOP congressmen pressure Trump to delay $10 billion defense contract

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

A dozen Republican members of Congress sent President Trump a previously undisclosed letter on Tuesday urging him to delay the Pentagon's plan to award a $10 billion cloud computing contract to a single company.

Why it matters: The letter, obtained by Axios, argues that awarding the contract would be "premature" given the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General is still investigating potential conflicts of interest with those involved in the negotiations. The letter strikes a contrast with a ruling from a federal judge earlier this month, which found that allegations that DOD employees unfairly favored Amazon Web Services for its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing program were meritless.

Go deeperArrowJul 25, 2019