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Former AFRICOM Commander Docked Pay Grade in Retirement: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided that Army Gen. William Ward, former US Africa Command boss, should be retired at the rank of lieutenant general (at pay grade O-9 instead of his current pay grade O-10) due to Ward's misuse of government funds when he led the combatant command, announced Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. "Secretary Panetta insists that leaders within the Department of Defense exemplify both professional excellence and sound judgment," and "is committed to ensuring that any improprieties or misconduct ... are dealt with swiftly and appropriately," said Little in a Nov. 13 statement. Army Secretary John McHugh concurs with Panetta's decision, noted Little. Ward led AFRICOM from the command's inception in October 2007 until March 2011 when Army Gen. Carter Ham succeeded him. In June, the Pentagon's inspector general issued a report finding that Ward "had engaged in numerous substantiated acts of misconduct," said Little. Accordingly, the Army is seeking to recoup some $82,000 in expenses from Ward for unauthorized travel, misuse of military aircraft and staff, and receipt of reimbursements to which he was not entitled, said Little.