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Inspector General Nominee Finds Inspiration in Deployed Troops

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2007 – Retired Army Lt. Gen. Claude M. “Mick” Kicklighter was in Afghanistan leading an assessment team for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in December when he was asked to consider being nominated by President Bush to be the Defense Department’s inspector general.

Kicklighter, who was a sergeant in the Army Reserve when he graduated from college and was commissioned as a second lieutenant, said past and present servicemembers have inspired him to continue a life of public service since he retired from the Army in 1991.

“I spent almost 36 years on active duty,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday at his confirmation hearing. “And as I was retiring, I was asked to plan and lead and oversee the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of World War II and assist our nation in thanking and honoring the men and women in the greatest generation, who saved not only this nation but literally saved the world.”

This led to other jobs in the State, Defense and Veterans Affairs departments over the next 15 years, he said, and the opportunity to see today’s military in action made him readily accept the challenge of becoming DoD’s new IG.

“Having been on the ground a number of times in Iraq and Afghanistan with these magnificent men and women fighting this global war against terrorism,” he said, “it is impossible for me not to want to do all I can to support this, another great generation of Americans.”

Kicklighter promised to bring “leadership, management skills and a broad-gauge approach” to the position.

“There's no doubt there's much that I have to learn and relearn,” he acknowledged. “But if confirmed, I look forward to joining the IG family, and together we'll continue to build the IG team that our troops, their families, the Department of Defense and this Congress and the American people have a right to expect.”

He pledged that the IG’s office would remain independent and objective and would keep keep Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the Congress “fully and currently informed.”

Kicklighter currently serves as director of the Iraq-Afghanistan Transition Planning Group. Prior to this, he served as chief of staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Earlier in his career, he served as special advisor for stabilization and security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan at the State Department.

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