The Air Force has retroactively demoted Gen. Arthur Lichte to major general after an investigation found he had engaged in “inappropriate sexual acts” with a subordinate twice in 2007 and once again in 2009. Lichte retired as a four-star general on Jan. 1, 2010, after 38 years in service. Lichte was a lieutenant general and serving as the assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force and Air Staff director at the Pentagon during the first two incidents; he had pinned on a fourth star and was commander of Air Mobility Commander at Scott AFB, Ill., during the third incident, according to a redacted copy of the investigation. The female officer, who was not named in the report, initially filed a restricted report in July 2016 with a sexual assault response coordinator, but then changed her report to unrestricted a month later. Former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James issued Lichte a letter of reprimand and initiated an Officer Grade Determination Board to determine at what rank he last served “satisfactorily,” states an Air Force release. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Jan. 30 withdrew Lichte’s last certification of satisfactory service, which was awarded to him by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2009, and sent the matter back to the Air Force. Acting Air Force Secretary Lisa Disbrow determined Lichte should be retroactively retired as a two-star general on Jan. 31. “The Air Force takes all allegations of inappropriate conduct very seriously,” said Disbrow. “We expect our leaders to uphold the highest standards of behavior. These standards and rules underpin good order and discipline … Airmen at every level are held accountable.” (Read the full redacted report.)
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."