Army officials have suspended the commander of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Col. Jonathan Chung, who took command in June 2021, “has been assigned to U.S. Army Pacific pending the outcome of an administrative investigation,” said Forces Command spokesperson Paul Boyce in a statement to Army Times on Wednesday.

Asked to clarify whether the colonel’s reassignment was permanent or temporary, Boyce said Chung “has been suspended as the commander until the investigation is complete.”

It’s not clear why Chung came under investigation or why he was suspended from command. He did not immediately respond to a comment request sent via social media.

The brigades were established to assist U.S. allies and partners with conventional military training. Officials formed six geographically-oriented brigades between 2017 and 2020. The brigades draw on experienced enlisted NCO volunteers and operate in small teams, often of a dozen or fewer soldiers for months at a time in disparate locations through an assigned combatant command region.

In recent years the Army has relied on these brigades to bolster support and provide a U.S. military presence in regions both in peer-competitor environments, such as Europe and Asia, and non-peer adversary environments such as Africa and Latin America.

Should he be permanently relieved, Chung would be at least the fifth brigade commander removed since October.

In October, two 1st Cavalry Division brigade commanders at Fort Hood, Texas — Col. Jon Meredith of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team and Col. Anthony Wilson of the division’s 1st Sustainment Brigade — were fired. Meredith was under criminal investigation, though officials have not specified whether he will face any charges.

Then in November, the Louisiana National Guard removed Col. Scott Desormeaux from his dual role commanding the state’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and historic Jackson Barracks post after an investigation found he sent “inappropriate text messages to other service members.”

Col. Ann Meredith was fired as the 89th Military Police Brigade commander at Fort Hood in March amid a criminal investigation “distinct from the previous investigation of her husband Col. Jon Meredith,” according to Stars and Stripes. It’s not clear whether she will face court-martial.

Col. Tony Braxton will temporarily take command of Chung’s brigade, said Forces Command spokesperson Boyce.

Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.

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