The Army fired the commander of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade this week following investigations into the unit’s leadership earlier this year.
Maj. Gen. Donn Hill, the Commander of Security Force Assistance Command, relieved Chung of his duty Thursday due to “a loss of confidence in Col. Chung’s leadership and is based on the results of an Army Regulation 15-6 investigation,” according to an SFAC statement shared with Military Times. Col. Tony Braxton has served as the unit’s acting commander since Chung’s suspension.
Chung took the helm of 5th SFAB in July 2021. Troops under his purview reported being frequently berated and micromanaged by the commander over the course of his two-year tenure, according to an investigation published by Military.com days after his suspension. Others defended Chung’s leadership style as demanding and idiosyncratic, but not cruel.
Chung’s former brigade was one of six SFABs established by Army officials between 2017 and 2020. The brigades are designed to assist American security partners with military training. The 5th SFAB, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, concentrates on the Indo-Pacific.
Chung’s legal team submitted a full rebuttal to the Army’s investigation, the ex-commander’s attorney, Jeremy Snyder, told Military Times.
“We thought we presented the greater weight of the evidence,” Snyder said. “For whatever reason, the powers that be disagreed with us, but we stand by our position that Col. Chung has served honorably and is a great leader.”
Snyder doesn’t anticipate any kind of formal reprimand for his client.
Chung is at least the fifth Army brigade commander to be relieved of duty since October. Another 5th SFAB commander, Col. Meghann Sullivan of the 5th Brigade Engineer Battalion, is under investigation for allegedly sexually harassing subordinates.
Editor’s note: This story was updated June 23, 2023, at 4:28 p.m. EST with a statement from Col. Jonathan Chung’s attorney.
Jaime Moore-Carrillo is an editorial fellow for Military Times and Defense News. A Boston native, Jaime graduated with degrees in international affairs, history, and Arabic from Georgetown University, where he served as a senior editor for the school's student-run paper, The Hoya.