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Greely commander suspended amid probe

Jun. 11, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Lt. Col. Joseph L. Miley
Lt. Col. Joseph L. Miley ()
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The Army has formally suspended Lt. Col. Joseph L. Miley, commander of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion at Fort Greely, Alaska., after a five-month investigation into charges he ignored sexual misconduct on the post,
the Army has announced.

Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, the commander of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, suspended Miley June 11 after a joint investigation by SMDC/ARSTRAT and the Alaska National Guard. The battalion is an Alaska Guard unit..

“He was suspended until further notice by Gen. Formica, the commander of SMDC/ARSTRAT,” said Marco Morales, a spokesman for the command. “He’s still in the area, but he’s not the commander anymore.”

Formica’s action follows a call from Alaska’s U.S. senators for a thorough investigation into allegations he condoned adultery and fraternization on the post.

Miley’s command status will be determined, following a final legal and commander review of the investigation findings and recommendations, subsequent approval of the investigation report, and due process for the suspended officer, according to the statement.

The 49th Battalion’s executive officer, has been appointed as the acting commander. During this period, the brigade leadership will be at Fort Greely “to ensure continuity of operations for this strategically important mission,” the statement reads.

The investigation began Jan. 9, and preliminary findings were provided June 7 to Formica and the assistant adjutant general of the Alaska Army National Guard.

The 49th Missile Defense Battalion operates under Title 10 when conducting the federal operational mission to employ the Ground-based Midcourse Defense weapon system and conducts security operations for the GMD site located at Fort Greely.

The Alaska Army National Guard is responsible, under Title 32, for manning, equipping and training the 49th Missile Defense Battalion, and enables the 49th to accomplish its federal mission.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, asked the military to employ a “true zero-tolerance policy for all sexual misconduct,” in response to the investigation, which centered on Miley. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, made a similar request.

Bloomberg News has reported that the investigation stems from Miley saying in a Jan. 4 meeting that adultery isn’t punishable under military law unless it involves violating a “no-contact order.”

The Army previously investigated the appearance of Miley’s wife in a World War II-style pinup calendar sold to benefit the American Cancer Society.
The Alaska Guard says is unrelated to the latest investigation. Miley’s wife is not in the military Formica had concluded there was no wrongdoing.

The 49th Missile Defense Battalion is a ground-based midcourse defense unit considered the front line of U.S. missile defense, suitable for intercepting missiles launched either from North Korea or Iran, according to an article on the unit. Fort Greely, whose population is about 500, is about 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, just outside of the town Delta Junction, whose population numbers about 1,000.

In March, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the Pentagon would deploy 14 more ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., bringing the total to 44. The measure was aimed at intercepting Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles after North Korea conducted several missile tests.

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