The Department of Defense has seen its share of negative press in recent years, including poorly executed military operations, lack of sound strategies, dismal recruitment levels, and accusations of being a left-wing war machine. However, one particular agency within the Pentagon has been receiving more attention than usual due to the inappropriate and potentially criminal behavior of some of its top officials.
Stephen Hovanic, the Chief of Staff for the Americas at the Department of Defense Education Activity, was arrested on November 15th in connection to an undercover human trafficking sting in Georgia. He was charged with pandering, which involves purchasing sex, and was one of 26 individuals arrested as a result of the operation, which also led to the identification of six trafficked victims.
The Department of Defense Education Activity oversees the education for the Department of Defense from Pre-K to 12th grade, covering 160 schools in 11 countries and multiple states. Hovanic, a military veteran and West Point graduate, has worked at the organization for almost three decades, raising concerns about the type of individuals being groomed at top military academies.
This is not the first time the Department of Defense Education Activity has faced controversy regarding the behavior of its leaders. Kelisa Wing, the former Chief of Diversity, was removed from her position after making divisive comments on social media. The organization seems to have a recurring issue with leaders engaging in socially embarrassing behavior.
Furthermore, reports of unethical conduct among Pentagon employees, including military brass frequenting high-end brothels and retired military officials working as undocumented foreign agents with little consequences, suggest a culture of corruption and acceptance of unethical behavior within the Department of Defense.
These incidents raise questions about the Department of Defense’s actual mission and its commitment to defending the American people, as well as the implications for funding endless wars and outdated military equipment.