Pentagon Spokeswoman Allegedly Used Her Staff As Her Personal Entourage

Bullet Points
Dana White, the assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the Joint Staff director, brief the press at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2018.
DoD photo / Master Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence.

Defense Secretary James Mattis carries his own luggage, picks up his own dry cleaning, and famously stood duty on Christmas so a Marine could spend the holiday with his family. In contrast, his spokesman is reportedly under investigation for treating her subordinates as servants and retaliating against anyone who complained.

  • CNN first reported on Tuesday that the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office is looking into whether Dana White told her staff to run errands for her, arrange for her personal hair and makeup artist to come to the Pentagon, and work on her mortgage paperwork.
  • White is also accused of transferring away staffers who lodged complaints about her.
  • White declined a request for comment from Task & Purpose on Tuesday. Charles Summers Jr., the No. 2 Pentagon spokesman, issued the following statement: “This is an ongoing review about which we cannot comment.”
  • After the CNN story broke, White tweeted a picture from Buenos Aires of Mattis apparently laughing with reporters who are accompanying him on a trip to South America.
  • Defense Department’s ethics standards prohibit Pentagon officials from using subordinates as entourages, but an increasing number of senior military leaders have been investigated for doing precisely that.
  • Former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano retired in June after being investigated for allegedly mistreating the sailors under his command, including pushing them to ask the Navy to give him a personal set of fine china for formal dinners at his home.
  • Marine Brig. Gen. Rick Uribe was reprimanded in July for using his personal aide to pick up his laundry, reserve equipment for him at the gym, and pay for his snacks (though he eventually reimbursed his aide).


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