The U.S. military's top brass are meeting next week to discuss the scandal that forced retired Gen. David Petraeus to resign, and to make sure senior military leaders aren't taking the same risks with their careers, the Navy's top officer said Friday.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff will meet in the secure "Tank" at the Pentagon next week, said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert—referring to the occasional gathering of all of the chiefs from each of the military branches, as well as the chairman and vice chair.
There, they will look to themselves, as well as their fellow senior officers, to determine "what took place here" and the future of military leadership, he explained at a National Press Club lunch.
"We have been introspective as a result of the events in the past week," Greenert said, exactly a week after Petraeus, the former top commander in Afghanistan and CIA director, visited the White House to deliver his letter of resignation.
"How do we view ethics and accountability and behavior, and where might there be weaknesses as we look across our four-star ranks in our respective services, and the joint community?" he said of the question posed to the military top brass.
"Are we building character right, and are we looking at ourselves as closely as we're looking at our subordinates?" he asked.
The chiefs will have to "look internally to be sure that" the military considers "our flag and general officers."
As for the immediate effects, Greenert does not think the aftermath of Petraeus' affair will alter how the Navy selects and trains its officers.
The Navy has faced problems recently with impropriety at its top ranks. As of September, 20 commanding officers were relieved of duty, according to a Stripes.com report. More than a dozen have been outright fired, including submarine Cmdr. Michael Ward, who got a woman pregnant and then had a friend tell her he had died, reports TheDaily.com.
Petraeus reportedly had an extended affair with his biographer, 40-year-old Paula Broadwell, a reserve Army officer. Petraeus, 60, has been married to his wife Holly for 38 years.
Senior U.S. officials tell U.S. News that his resignation has nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. State Department facility in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
"Director Petraeus's frank and forthright letter of resignation stands on its own," the official says. "Any suggestion that his departure has anything to do with criticism about Benghazi is completely baseless."
Petraeus testified before a congressional panel on Friday about the attack. It was his first public appearance since his resignation. Lawmakers said the affair only came up briefly during his 90-minute appearance, reports the Associated Press.
The retired four-star general was sworn in as CIA director in September 2011, after serving as commander of Central Command, which includes the war in Afghanistan.
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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.