FEBRUARY, 2, 2017, WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Retired Air Force Gen. Arthur J. Lichte has been retroactively retired in the lower grade of major general following an investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations which revealed that he engaged in inappropriate sexual acts with a subordinate while still on active duty.
Lichte retired from the Air Force Jan. 1, 2010, after more than 38 years of active-duty service, while the commander of Air Mobility Command. AFOSI initiated an investigation in August 2016, after being notified that the victim, a female officer who had initially filed a restricted report in July 2016, regarding the incidents to a sexual assault response coordinator, subsequently changed her report in August 2016, to an unrestricted report. Due to her privacy considerations, the Air Force will not release the victim’s name.
AFOSI’s investigation revealed the general engaged in inappropriate sexual acts with a subordinate female officer twice in 2007, while serving as a lieutenant general as the Air Force’s assistant vice chief of staff and Air Staff director in the Pentagon.
In addition, the investigation revealed that sometime during the first half of 2009, while serving as AMC commander as a general, Lichte engaged in inappropriate sexual acts with the same female officer, who was in his command. The investigation did not uncover any additional misconduct.
Upon completion, AFOSI’s investigation was referred to the Secretary of the Air Force for appropriate action. After reviewing all relevant information and consulting with staff, then-Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James issued Lichte a letter of reprimand. She initiated the Officer Grade Determination Board process to help assess the highest grade the general had satisfactorily served in prior to retirement, within the meaning of 10 U.S.C. §1370.
In 2009, as part of the Lichte’s normal retirement process and unaware of the misconduct, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates certified Lichte had served satisfactorily in the rank of general.
After receiving and considering the Officer Grade Determination Board recommendations, James forwarded the matter to Secretary of Defense for his consideration of whether to withdraw Lichte’s 2009 certification of satisfactory service
After reviewing the Air Force’s recommendation and the newly discovered misconduct, Secretary of Defense James Mattis withdrew the certification of satisfactory service on Jan. 30, 2017. He returned the case to the Air Force to determine the highest grade satisfactorily held by Lichte.
Subsequently, after reviewing all relevant information, acting Air Force Secretary Lisa S. Disbrow determined on Jan. 31, 2017, that the highest rank satisfactorily held by Lichte was major general. As such, she directed him to be retired in that grade.
“The Air Force takes all allegations of inappropriate conduct very seriously,” Disbrow said. “We expect our leaders to uphold the highest standards of behavior. These standards and rules underpin good order and discipline. Airmen at every level are held accountable.”