A senior member of the House Armed Services Committee is rejecting Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s explanation that a Marine Corps office is responsible for an error in former Commandant James Amos’s credentials.
“The idea that the [then] future commandant did not review his resume” before it was presented to Senate lawmakers is “hogwash,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) told The Hill on Monday.
In a letter last month to Jones, whose district includes Camp Lejeune, Hagel said the Pentagon’s inspector general found the error was the “result of a data entry error in one of the Marine Corps’ personnel databases” that was then forwarded to the service’s Manpower Management Senior Leadership Office, which submitted Amos’s bona fides to lawmakers.
“In summary, the Inspector General has reviewed the senior official database and located no record of substantiated adverse information attributed to General Amos,” Hagel wrote.
Amos stepped down as commandant on Oct. 17.
In a career service record submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation four years ago, Amos claimed he graduated from The Basic School in 1972, the year he was commissioned as a Marine officer.
Jones contacted to the Marine Corps last month, after a former Marine lawyer looked into the claim and found no documentation of Amos completing officer training at the prestigious school. A Marine Corps office later told Jones that Amos in fact graduated from the school five years later, in 1977, by completing a correspondence course.
Jones, who was one of the four-star general’s most outspoken critics, called Hagel’s explanation “hard to believe.”
He said the Pentagon has yet to provide him proof that Amos graduated via correspondence and that Amos should produce his certificate to “show he’s a man of integrity.”
The fact that Pentagon leaders are blaming a personnel office is just another example that the “world is falling apart,” according to Jones.
Jones said he plans to meet on Tuesday with the attorney who brought Amos’s credentials to his attention to “explore what options I might have a member of House Armed Services but also as a member of Congress” in the wake of the Pentagon chief’s letter.