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You Heard It Here First – In the February 19th edition of “Bits” we reported “DPMO is
currently the focus of an Inspector General investigation.” On July 12th, Robert Burns of the
Associated Press outlined the scope of the investigation, which involved not only the sexual
harassment charge we alluded to, but gross mismanagement.
Charges of mismanagement are not new to Jerry Jennings. His previous failure at FEMA was
one of the reasons the National Alliance of Families opposed his appointment as Assistant
Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs. We shared that information with anyone who
would listen. Even after the FEMA revelation, the Alliance remained the ONLY POW/MIA
family group to OPPOSE Jenning’s appointment.
We went back in our files and based on the past behavior of DPMO head Jerry Jennings, we have
to ask..... Is DPMO the new “political dumping ground?” Is DPMO the “turkey farm” of the
Bush #43 Administration?
On July 31, 1992, in an article titled “Appropriations Report Calls FEMA `a Political Dumping
Ground,” Bill McAllister, of The Washington Post wrote: “The troubled Federal Emergency
Management Agency was characterized in an internal report by the House Appropriations
Committee as "a political dumping ground" filled by the Bush administration with inexperienced
appointees who have mismanaged the agency, misled Congress and funneled consulting contracts
to their friends. The report, made public yesterday, said FEMA, which manages the federal
government's response to natural and man-made disasters, is widely viewed as "a turkey
farm, if you will, where large numbers of positions exist that can be conveniently and
quietly filled by political appointment." The appointees have no experience in running FEMA's
disaster programs and have caused agency morale to plummet to "an all-time low," it said.”
McAllister continued; “FEMA Director Wallace E. Stickney, a political protege of former White
House chief of staff John H. Sununu, was described in the report as a weak, uninterested
executive who has little interest in the agency's substantive programs. Stickney, who was an
environmental aide to then-New Hampshire governor Sununu, was said to have relinquished
day-to-day management of the agency to Jerry D. Jennings, his deputy. Jennings, in turn,
was described in the report as "more interested in the benefits associated with his position
and cosmetic changes" than FEMA's mission.”
Earlier, on May 1st 1992, The Washington Times reported; “.... Meanwhile, the House
Committee on Government Operations looked at FEMA Deputy Director Jerry D. Jennings' use
of chauffeur-driven government vehicles that are to be used only for official business.”
“Committee Republicans said they were disturbed by a prejudicial press release issued by Mr.
Conyers before the hearing and because Mr. Jennings was not given an opportunity to meet with
committee staffers beforehand. Testimony yesterday showed Mr. Jennings traveled in
government vehicles to the Capitol Hill Club, the National Zoo, the Army-Navy Club, a liquor
store, an automated teller machine at the Waterfront Mall and a local Hamburger Hamlet.
Investigations by the FEMA inspector general and general counsel found no evidence of
misconduct in the case.”
“Chairman John Conyers of Michigan said the committee had heard reports of an "attempted
cover-up" by the inspector general of possible abuses by Mr. Jennings and other FEMA officials.
Jerald E. Johnson, a FEMA management analyst, yesterday detailed "questionable" trips Mr.
Jennings made in government vehicles during a six-month period.”
“Wesley C. Moore, director of the Office of Administrative Support at FEMA, said he reviewed
the data concluded there was "some misuse of the car" by Mr. Jennings and called the inspector
general's investigation "shoddy." But Mr. Jennings said the trips were legitimate. "I do not look
at a government vehicle as a perk. I look at it as a tool," he said.”
Finally, on August 26th, The Washington Post reported: “Federal Emergency Management
Agency is losing its deputy director. Laura Melillo, an assistant White House press secretary, said
yesterday that Deputy Director Jerry D. Jennings, a former White House aide who had been at
the agency for two years, "is expected to leave FEMA to take another position in the
“Jennings, who was criticized in a recent report by the House Appropriations Committee's
investigations staff, apparently had been at odds with FEMA Director Wallace E. Stickney, a
protege of former White House chief of staff John H. Sununu. The congressional report, which
charged that FEMA had become "a political dumping ground" for inexperienced Bush
administration appointees, said that Stickney had yielded day-to-day control of the agency to his
deputy and that Jennings was "more interested in benefits associated with his position and
cosmetic changes" than FEMA's mission.”
“ The deputy director, who had called the committee report "absolutely libelous" could not be
reached for comment last night. Earlier, Bob Blair, a FEMA spokesman, referred questions about
Jennings to the White House, saying that "we have no knowledge of him leaving."
“ A FEMA worker who called The Washington Post about Jennings said emergency communications gear was taken out of his 8th floor office at FEMA headquarters on Monday and by yesterday morning all of his possessions were gone from his office.”
Jump Ahead 13 Years and it’s De Ja Vu All Over Again – On July 12th 2005, Robert Burns
of the Associated Press reports “Bush's POW-MIA Chief Accused of Abuse” – “The man
leading the Defense Department's search for missing American service members is being
investigated by the Pentagon for allegations of abusive management, The Associated Press has
“The accusations include reprisals against subordinates and sexual harassment of a female
employee, according to Pentagon officials familiar with the inquiry. Jerry D. Jennings, a deputy
assistant secretary of defense, also has been accused by groups outside government of
undermining his own office's mission of accounting for service members considered missing in
action. They say he has alienated families of the missing and demoralized his staff.”
“In an e-mail response to written questions, Jennings wrote that he has cooperated fully in the
inspector general's investigation. He declined to comment directly on the accusations, saying the
inspector general asked that no one comment until the probe was completed.”
“ Jennings said he was "aware of the complaints by a small number" of employees and pledged
that they would be "handled appropriately." He did not comment directly on the sexual
harassment allegation, which others said did not involve forceful physical acts.”
“Jennings, 65, defended his record of accomplishment and said that despite the opposition
expressed by three MIA family organizations, "I am confident that their expression does
not represent the will of the majority of the families."
“His approach has so upset family groups that the boards of directors of three leading
organizations, including the oldest, the National League of POW/MIA Families, each recently
took the unprecedented step of voting "no confidence" in Jennings and urging his removal from
"We have lost faith in him," said Irene Mandra, national chairwoman of Korea-Cold War Families of the Missing. She called Jennings an ineffective leader who faces "a virtual mutiny" by members of his staff. Mandra and others fault him for being unresponsive to their concerns, not working more smoothly with other elements of the government and not pressing harder for foreign cooperation on the MIA issue.”
"The families' current alienation from (the Pentagon's POW/MIA office) is by far the worst I have
seen since the Carter administration," said Richard T. Childress, who was director of Asian
affairs at the National Security Council under President Reagan and now advises the National
League of Families.”
“Some details of the inspector general's investigation were provided by six Pentagon officials
with firsthand knowledge of the inquiry. They would not allow their names to be used, citing
fear of reprisals. A Pentagon spokeswoman, Cheryl Irwin, said that as a matter of policy she
could not confirm the existence of any investigation.”
"Jerry Jennings is in a tough job where emotions understandably tend to run high," said Bryan
Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman. "He is completely committed to the mission of full
accounting of our service members missing in action."
“The MIA accounting effort is far-flung, taking U.S. search teams to remote parts of China,
Russia and elsewhere to excavate burial grounds, aircraft crash sites and long-forgotten
“There are more than 1,800 U.S. servicemen still missing from the Vietnam War, more than 8,100
from the 1950-53 Korean War, about 125 from Cold War spy-related aircraft shootdowns, and
78,000 from World War II. The work sometimes involves sensitive diplomatic efforts with
countries like North Korea and Vietnam.”
“Jennings has undercut the role of U.S. ambassadors who work with Vietnam, Laos and
Cambodia, said an assessment by an affiliated Pentagon office, the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command. "The result has been very destructive to the POW/MIA
accounting mission," the 2004 report said, adding that "a lot of hard work and time will
be required to mend the interagency fissures and to overcome foreign officials'
“Ray Burghardt, who was U.S. ambassador to Hanoi from December 2001 to September
2004, said in an e-mail exchange with the AP that Jennings did not damage the MIA
mission but neither has he made any noteworthy contribution.”
“The Pentagon office's assessment said morale in Jennings' organization was "at an
all-time low." The report was provided to the AP by a person outside the command who
said the problems needed a fuller airing.”
"There's a pervasive failure of leadership," Air Force Capt. Joseph Pilkus, an analyst there from
July 2003 to August 2004 before being removed in a dispute with a supervisor, said in an
“Pilkus accuses Jennings of abusing his authority by directing retribution against those in the
office who wrote statements in Pilkus' defense. He and others said an Army major was punished
with an unfavorable performance report and denied a Defense Meritorious Service Medal for
which she had been recommended.”
“ Jennings has not appeared in his office for more than two months, with officials citing an
undisclosed health problem. He declined through spokesman Larry Greer to be interviewed for
“Jennings held a variety of posts in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations from 1973 to 1992 - none related to POW or MIA issues. He was deputy director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency from 1990-92. An official biography says he was a CIA officer from 1965-68.” [End Associated Press Article]
July 31, 1992 – Jerry Jennings at FEMA – House Appropriations Committee Report describes
agency morale at an "an all-time low." Of Jennings, the report describes him as "more
interested in the benefits associated with his position and cosmetic changes."
July 12, 2005 – Jerry Jennings at DPMO – Accusations include abusive management, reprisals
against subordinates, and sexual harassment of a female employee. The Pentagon office's
assessment said morale in Jennings' organization was "at an all-time low."
Morale “at an all-time low” obviously Jerry Jennings has his own style of management. Just as
obvious is the fact that his management and leadership style is a monumental failure!
Referring to the “no confidence” votes, of the National League of Families, the Korea/Cold War
Families of the Missing and the National Alliance of Families, Mr. Jennings stated; "I am
confident that their expression does not represent the will of the majority of the families."
Guess Again! In all our dealings with POW/MIA family members and in all our recent contact
with family members during the recent meetings in Washington D.C. , we have heard of only two
family members who support Mr. Jennings.
We could wait for the situation to resolve itself, as we are hearing that Jennings will not return
to the office, due to health problems. The problem is.... we can no longer afford to wait. We
know that DPMO is sitting on at least one report of LIVE Americans in Southeast Asia and
they have done nothing about it.
Has DPMO become the new “political dumping ground” a place for individuals due a
political pay-back, regardless of there qualifications? Is DPMO the “turkey farm” of the
Bush #43 Administration?
It’s time to clean house at DPMO.
Navy Seals Recovered – Taliban reports of the capture and execution of one Navy Seal, proved untrue. Of the four Seals unaccounted for one, with the aide of local villagers was returned alive. The remains of three missing Seals were recovered by U.S. search teams.
Why does Johnie Webb still have a Job.
Bits 'N' Pieces Index 2005