The Army has replaced its deputy chief of staff for logistics, now-Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, after an inspector general investigation substantiated allegations that he “displayed counterproductive leadership,” according to an Army spokesperson.

Gamble, who was a three-star, reverted back to major general when he left his former duty position.

Army spokesperson Cynthia Smith confirmed Gamble’s replacement and new rank, but she emphasized that investigators found “most of his actions had a positive impact on the organization.” The Department of the Army IG also did not substantiate allegations that Gamble discriminated against peers or subordinates based on race.

The Army G-4 had been suspended from his post since mid-February pending the final outcome of the investigation. Gamble was first reported to the IG in September 2020.

Smith refused to specify whether Gamble was officially relieved for cause or merely reassigned, citing privacy concerns, though she did state that he received a general officer’s memorandum of reprimand, or GOMOR.

The allegations against Gamble were first reported by Task & Purpose in February.

The article described scenarios where the general reportedly made disparaging comments targeting his Black peers on a routine basis. A retired colonel from the logistics directorate told Task & Purpose that Gamble’s critiques were a pattern, and he “made it abundantly clear” how he felt about the Black generals with whom he worked.

But the investigation ultimately did not substantiate that Gamble engaged in racial discrimination — the IG only found evidence to support allegations of counter-productive leadership.

Counterproductive leadership can take many forms and “prevent[s] the establishment of a positive organizational climate, preclude other leaders from fulfilling their requirements, and may prevent the unit from achieving its mission,“ according to Army doctrine explaining the term.

Smith did not specify how Gamble’s leadership was harmful, but the Task & Purpose investigation detailed allegations that the general “frequently degrade[d] subordinates and peers alike, and regularly made inappropriate comments during staff meetings.”

It’s not clear either what Gamble’s rank will be in retirement following his reversion to major general and new role as a special assistant to the director of the Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt.

Gamble completed less than the traditionally required three years as a lieutenant general in order to lock in retirement — he pinned his third star in September 2019 when he arrived at the Pentagon to take over as the Army G-4.

Federal law allows Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to waive the three-year requirement and retire Gamble as a three-star if the secretary feels he “served...satisfactorily” at that rank. To do so, Austin would have to notify the president and Congress of his intent and provide justification “as to whether or not potentially adverse, adverse, or reportable information regarding the officer was considered by the Secretary in making the certification,” the law states.

Smith referred questions regarding Gamble’s retirement grade to Austin’s office, only noting that “his retirement approval is still pending.”

Gamble declined comment when reached by Army Times via social media.

Maj. Gen. Charles Hamilton, who is currently the G-4′s director of operations, will assume Gamble’s old role as the G-4 on Wednesday, according to Smith.

Demotions, discipline infrequent for three-star generals

Demotions and discipline for officers at the three-star level are rare, often occurring behind closed doors.

The last Army lieutenant general to face relief was Lt. Gen. Bradley Becker in August 2019. Becker, then the top general for Installation Management Command, was relieved after an investigation into an inappropriate extramarital relationship. But he wasn’t demoted.

The most recent known demotion of an Army three-star was in November 2015 when Defense Secretary Ash Carter fired and demoted his senior military aide, then-Lt. Gen. Ronald Lewis, amid allegations that he used his government credit card at strip clubs while on official travel with Carter.

Lewis lost another star after an IG investigation substantiated the allegations, forcing him to retire as a brigadier general.

Gamble is also the second general officer on the Army Staff to have allegations of counterproductive leadership substantiated this year.

Brig. Gen. Amy Johnston, the service’s former chief of public affairs, received a reprimand and began the retirement process in January after an inspector general investigation into reports that people in her office were struggling with their workload, work-life-balance and unclear expectations in their work product.

A Task & Purpose investigation revealed that the allegations against Johnston included frequent outbursts in meetings, as well as the belittling and demeaning of subordinates.

Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.

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