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Two-star on Joint Staff was quietly removed in January amid Army investigation

An Army two-star general working for the Joint Staff was quietly removed in early January due to a law enforcement investigation that resulted in three assault charges, all of which were dismissed this month.

Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Whitlock was accused of domestic abuse and conduct unbecoming an officer, an attorney for the general confirmed. Whitlock was investigated by Army CID regarding multiple incidents, all of which he denied.

Maj. Gen. Omar J. Jones, commander of the Army Military District of Washington, D.C., directed an Article 32 hearing based on the investigation’s findings, according to Army spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith.

“Based on the preliminary hearing officer’s findings and recommendations, the charges have been dismissed without prejudice," Smith said in a statement. “This matter is still ongoing, however, and we cannot comment any further."

Whitlock, through his attorney, Jonathan Crisp, denied the allegations and Army CID’s findings. Crisp characterized the investigation as a “witch hunt" stemming from political pressure through the years to aggressively pursue domestic abuse accusations in the military.

“Army CID, whose investigative prowess in my opinion has been seriously compromised based on congressional inquiries, made huge leaps of logic in their findings," Crisp told Army Times in a telephone interview.

Whitlock was previously assigned as the deputy director of global policy and partnerships for the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Army CID’s investigation was triggered by accusations that Whitlock pushed his girlfriend, breaking her arm. That specific accusation never resulted in formal charges, according to Crisp, but it did result in an investigation by Army CID that brought forth assault accusations from an ex-wife.

The girlfriend "did have a broken arm, but he was not present when that break occurred,” said Crisp, who stressed that that specific incident never made it to formal charges.

Crisp said investigators attempted to use older allegations of domestic assault from Whitlock’s ex-wife to justify bringing forth the allegations from the broken arm incident. The ex-wife declined to comment. Army Times is withholding her name because of allegations of domestic abuse. The girlfriend’s name is not known to Army Times.

The older allegations happened in Stafford County, Virginia. A county official there could not provide police reports from those incidents, citing state code that exempts the disclosure of the reports unless there is an arrest.

The older assault allegations against Whitlock involved poking his ex-wife in the shoulder, grabbing her wrist and throwing a tea cup against the wall, according to Whitlock’s attorney.

Administrative action could still be under consideration by the Army, despite the charges being dismissed. But that will be up to the service’s vice chief of staff.

“They haven’t indicated to us that that is actually forthcoming,” said Crisp. “They simply referred it over to the [vice chief of staff of the Army] who controls any administration action against general officers.”

Crisp said his client has had a career spanning several decades and plans to retire in the near future at his current rank. Whitlock’s current assignment was not released by Army officials. An Army CID spokesman referred Army Times to the FOIA request process for details regarding the investigation’s findings.

As a one-star general, Whitlock previously served as as a deputy director for politico-military affairs on the Joint Staff in D.C. Before that, he held staff positions under U.S. Northern Command until 2014 and U.S. Pacific Command until 2015. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

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