Army chief public affairs officer sacked after 97% negative climate survey

| September 23, 2021 | 90 Comments

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Amy Hannah, Director, Army Marketing and Research Task Force, poses for a command portrait in the Army portrait studio at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Mar. 5, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Monica King)

US Army Brigadier General Amy Johnston (it looks like there was a name change since her official photo above) was the Army’s top public affairs officer. She was suspended from her duties as the top ranking Army spokesperson after a whopping 97% of her staff describe the workplace she’s fostered as “workplace hostility.”

Jeff LPH 3 sends in this Army Times piece;

The Army’s highest-ranking public affairs officer and top spokesperson has been suspended from her duties after 97 percent of respondents to a command climate survey for her office reported “workplace hostility.”

Brig. Gen. Amy E. Johnston took over as the service’s chief of public affairs in April 2019, according to her official biography.

In that role, she is “responsible for all communications activities involving the United States Army” and she serves as the principal public affairs advisor to the Army secretary and chief of staff.

Army Times obtained slides detailing a recent command climate survey that revealed massive dissatisfaction within the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs. A source familiar with the suspension said it was related to the survey, which has sparked an Army investigation.

An Army spokesperson confirmed that Johnston was no longer in her position, but said she could not provide details about the pending investigation or comment on the survey.

“We can confirm that Brig. Gen. Amy Johnston has been suspended and placed on special duty pending the outcome of an Army investigation,” said Army spokesperson Cynthia Smith. “Given that the investigation is ongoing, we can provide no further comment at this time.”

Johnston did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent through her office.

Johnston’s suspension came in the wake of a command climate survey that revealed alarming conditions at OCPA.

Of the soldiers and Army civilians who responded to the survey, 97 percent reported “workplace hostility,” which is a key indicator of potential toxic leadership issues, according to the slides.

The data also revealed a morale crisis. Roughly two-thirds of soldiers and civilians at OCPA reported low morale in the survey, with only 8 percent saying they had high morale.

According to the briefing slides, spirits were low due to overwork, poor work-life balance and unclear expectations concerning work products.

The survey also revealed potential issues with sexual and racial harassment.

Twenty-one percent of respondents said there was sexual harassment present at OCPA, and 26 percent reported they’d seen racial harassment.

There have been other signs of dissatisfaction with Johnston’s leadership of OCPA, as well.

Johnston was named in the Army Regulation 15-6 investigation that looked into how the service handled Spc. Vanessa Guillén’s disappearance and murder.

Much more at the source, including slides from a presentation given about the command climate survey.

Click on the photo above and take a look at the General’s awards and decorations and her biography here. There are some questions I have with the awards she’s wearing, in particular the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Service Medal (GWOT-EM and GWOT-SM respectively).

According to the Code of Federal Regulations for the GWOT-SM, no award stars or bronze oak leaf clusters are to be worn with it. Battle stars are permitted, provided the “service members who were engaged in actual combat against the enemy and under circumstances involving grave danger of death or serious bodily injury from enemy action.” Without her wearing a Combat Action Badge, I’d be curious to know why she’s wearing the battle star.

The General is also wearing an arrowhead on her GWOT-EM. I’m also curious how she rates that attachment, which is only authorized if she participated in “in a combat parachute jump, helicopter assault landing, combat glider landing, or amphibious assault landing.” Any of those actions would likely also rate a Combat Action Badge.

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Army, Army News

Comments (90)

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  1. thebesig says:

    She has one of the “Entitled Karen” hairstyles. :mrgreen:

  2. MarineDad61 says:

    Is that an Arrowhead on her GWOT-E?

    Ironic, that someone so unliked gets married at the same time.
    What say Mr. Johnston??

    Here’s a photo, on O-7 BG pinning day,
    which explains why she doesn’t smile much.
    https://api.army.mil/e2/c/images/2018/09/10/529432/original.jpg

    • President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neanderthal B Woodman Domestic Violent Extremist SuperStraight says:

      Are those braces on her teeth? Or antibiotic (tetracycline) stains?
      You’d think with a flag officer’s pay, she could afford to get a little teeth-whitening cosmetic work done, even if it’s just a home kit.

      • MarineDad61 says:

        PETDR,
        It’s the 2nd. They’re gray. Dark gray.

        I had an ex date with this,
        which I never saw (at first),
        because she had “veneers” put on all her front teeth.
        Then 1 day, while eating chicken wings….
        1 veneer broke off.

        No injury, no pain, of course, but she totally freaked.
        In public, at a nice bar/restaurant.
        Part of why she’s an ex.

        • President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neanderthal B Woodman Domestic Violent Extremist SuperStraight says:

          My wife (first, current & only) used to work in a dental lab staining dentures. What an eye for color! She would tell me that many people with “gray” teeth was caused by tetracycline (too much? long time?). She could tell me that “in order to make this color, I need to add this, that & the other”. Some of which made NO sense in the telling, but worked out spot on correct in the making.

          • Michael says:

            That’s interesting. I am a retired dental technician with over 40 years of experience. I’ve never heard of dentures being stained. Denture teeth come in a variety of shades and grey is one of them.
            I suspect you’re talking about porcelain crowns and bridges that are fabricated with using stains.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        Meth is a terrible drug.

      • Jay says:

        JEEZ!! Did she fund her way through Ohio State chewing rocks?

      • Anonymous says:

        Bulimic… chronic stomach acid makes teeth look ugly, but they stay skinny!

    • Sparks says:

      Missed every dental appointment.

    • Mustang Major says:

      She may chew betel nuts. Habit forming.

    • Claw says:

      Take a closer look at that O-7 pinning day photo.

      She’s wearing two (Yes, 2) 3/16 inch Bronze Service Stars on her NDSM, denoting the third award.

      Don’t think so, as she was commissioned in 1991.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmm, that’s GWOT, Gulf War ’91 and ‘Nam? She ain’t that old. (Would’ve had to have enlisted at 17, with Mom and Dad’s permission, and hit active duty before 15 August 1973 at the youngest. That’s 65 years old today.

        • Claw says:

          She’s just following the example set by the 1st SEAC Gainey. You gotta remember, he earned his first award of the Viet of the Nam Era NDSM while in the Delayed Entry Program awaiting graduation from high school, cause the Army wasn’t taking any non-high school grad CAT 3B’s at the time (73-74) he wanted to come on real active duty.

      • MarineDad61 says:

        Claw,
        Her current “official” photo has (only) 1 star on the NDSM.
        Other photos show 1 AND 2.

        It appears she got her butt spanked,
        and told to remove the 2nd star.

        Probably not her 1st skirmish during the battle of the devices.
        https://www.army.mil/publicAffairs/chief/

    • PJS says:

      Thanks, going to print that pic off and use it as the template for my jack-o-lantern.

    • steeleyI says:

      I think you may be on to something with all of this, and someone with more time should look into it.

      For one thing, I do not know of any circumstance in which anyone would have a star on their GWOT service medal. I have never seen anyone with a star on this medal. The Army typically uses the term Campaign Service Star although Battle Star is in the reg. I have 3 or 4 campaign stars on my ICM because I was there during 4 or 5 designated campaigns or in the case of Iraq, phases (there were 7 total. If you were there on the day one ended and one began you got two stars). It doesn’t necessarily mean I was in a major engagement.

      That said, the Army actually identifies these campaigns by date and the units that participated. Same with GWOT EM and the ACM.

      BTW, her 82d Combat Patch (aka Combat Service Identification Badge) is also sketchy. Having seen her actual bio, she never served
      in combat with the 82nd or any other unit most of us would recognize as a unit, for that matter (mainly PA positions at very high staff levels). It is always possible that she was attached to or did an individual augmentee assignment with the World’s Largest Street Gang, but her only time actually assigned to division was as a PAO and she did Katrina and Rita relief.
      .
      The Bronze Arrowhead Device is very tightly controlled. Small unit Air Assaults and even small combat jumps by units already in country don’t count. I’ll post an excerpt at the bottom. I was in the 101st in Desert Storm, and they were very strict about awarding the arrowhead- I was on a subsequent lift and I did not get one.

      The assault operation will be of such scope as to warrant DA designation as a battle or campaign and be of such magnitude as to include tactical elements of at least one other Service. The forces committed should be spearheading a major assault into enemy-controlled territory. The operation will be such that the committed forces will ultimately control the area in which they have landed and not rely on immediate link-up with other forces or extrication after a hit-and-run type of mission. Day-to-day combat assault type missions in an already established combat zone do not qualify for award of the arrowhead device. For the individual Soldier to receive award of the arrowhead, the Soldier must physically exit the aircraft or watercraft during the assault landing.

  3. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Maybe she got her rank because of who she “knew and blew”, had the right dirt on the right people or just rode the EO gravy train to where she is, ya-think?

  4. Jay says:

    That “Karen” do….

    She asked to speak to the manager, and wanted the manger FIRED….not realizing SHE was the manager. Hence why she was shitcanned.

    Irony can be pretty ironic.

  5. Andy11M says:

    She took command in 2019, so if she was going to pull the usual two year ticket punch and move on, her time was almost done anyway. My google-fu is weak, does anyone know if she was put in for a second star? Wonder if she was a brace face bitch in highschool too.
    I’m just surprised this didn’t get buried with her moving on or retiring. This kind of command climate doesn’t just crop up after you get a star. It grows over time, and I’m sure there were warning signs that were ignored so as not to derail her career.

  6. Arby says:

    Just how competent is she if she couldn’t fix the climate survey to give the answers she wanted? Every climate survey I ever took had very clear pre-determined outcomes favorable to survey sponsor.

  7. 5JC says:

    “Battle stars are permitted, provided the “service members who were engaged in actual combat against the enemy and under circumstances involving grave danger of death or serious bodily injury from enemy action.” ”

    This is improperly parsed. Combat is only one of the possible qualifications. The preceding paragraph specifies that a member merely needs to be “assigned, attached or mobilized” to a unit participating in designated operation for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days.

    Another point is that if the operation changed names during the tour than another award will be issued. I have three stars out of one really long deployment for example.

    • SFC D says:

      Combat is one of the possible qualifications for the award of the GWOTEM. Battle stars are permitted, service stars for various campaigns are not permitted. They ARE permitted on the Iraq and Afghanistan campaign medals. I’m assuming one of those is where you have your three stars. The GWOTEM is only issued one time, as is the GWOTSM. There are no subsequent awards, only campaign credit.

    • Mason says:

      I’m not saying she doesn’t rate the GWOT-SM. From her bio she certainly deployed to enough locations to rate all her campaign medals. Hell at this point, the criteria is so broad for the GWOT-SM it’s practically automatic for anyone on AD.

      I am questioning if she was properly awarded a battle star for the GWOT-SM. To my knowledge (and I could easily be wrong) there have been no GWOT-SM battle stars authorized.

      There are explicitly no stars or OLCs authorized for additional awards of the GWOT-SM. It’s a one and done medal, no matter how many campaigns one participates in.

      It’s just really weird, like having the arrowhead on the GWOT-EM. Her other awards and badges don’t appear to support having been in direct enemy contact nor making a combat drop or amphibious landing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is she AG? They’re usually the ones with jacked up racks in official photos, for some reason. /sarc

    • Wireman611 says:

      Maybe she was on Brian Williams’ helicopter.

  8. 5JC says:

    Oh and 97%? I guess her aide got to vote…..

  9. KoB says:

    She’ll land on her feet. I know of a certain telecommunications company that loves to create a hostile workplace. She could prolly even get a sign on bonus.

  10. CCO says:

    You can vote officers out nowadays? How about first sergeants?

  11. Ex-PH2 says:

    First off: that haircut???? I had that Mary Quant pageboy, too – back in the 1960s, for Pete’s sake, and it’s supposed to be exactly even all the way around, and especially so on both sides of your face.

    One side longer than the other isn’t just WRONG, boys and girls: it is sloppy and unkempt and this individual ought to know better. And no, her head is not tilted. The difference in length is about 1.5 inches. It’s the cut.

    Second, she has more ribbons than a 4-H contestant at the county fair, so what gives with that? If, as someone suggest above, she’s wearing something she’s not qualified to wear, isn’t that stolen valor? It’s like looking and Milley Vennilli, who has more junk on his jacket than a jar full of raspberry seeds.

    And third, if she’s a “lifer”, and she’s “retiring”, who did she piss off, and how? Now that is the real “tell” of the tale, wouldn’t you say?

  12. timactual says:

    Why is the Army sending PAO officers to Command and General Staff College and the National Defense University?

    • Anonymous says:

      PME… they all gotta do something.

    • steeleyI says:

      All due course Field Grade officers go either to CGSC or an equivalent, and all COLs go to some form of Senior Service College. The Eisenhower School is part of NDU (Along with the Joint Staff College, and the National War College), and was formerly known as the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. It was primarily the Senior Service College for non-warfighter types, focused on strategic level logistics, industry, etc.

      This is so they can integrate into staffs and planning at the brigade level and above with at least a passing understanding of war fighting doctrine. Public Affairs should be integrated into the planning and synchronization of any campaign to be effective.

      Generally speaking we are an epic fail at this, so we blow up a village, kill an innocent dude and his family with a drone strike, or get some horses too close to Haitian aliens, then call in the PA to make everyone love us for it.

  13. Devtun says:

    Female GOs seem to land on their feet despite stumbling – getting reprimanded or fired. Would end most careers. BG Jennifer Grant, MG Dawn Dunlap, and MG Miyako Schanely are a few that come to mind who are continuing on w/ their careers.

  14. SFC D says:

    I think the most shocking thing about this entire debacle is that (A), The command climate survey was actually read by someone in a position to make change, and (B), change was actually made. This could be a first for the Army.

  15. ChipNASA says:

    Ok Fagge’s,
    (This is not possessive this is plural add to my new favorite spelling I stole from a mistake on voice to text and I added the accent to make it a little bit more pinky extended an upscale.)
    All right you paste licking butt fuckers, yes I read all the comments and yes I know the difference between public affairs and recruiting but COME ON Jose’ Bidenavidenez,
    You absolutely have got to be kidding me if you don’t think that at least there is some minuscule correlation or connection or causation or whether or have you between these numbers this survey this outcome and this massive fucking of cluster raping of goats and corn holing of morale???
    Now I only give you this link because I’m an absolute mega fan of almost everything Angry Cop does.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0W5Ks2R-jcQ

  16. Harry says:

    Wow! Turns out “Mary Jane Rottencrotch” is real person after all!

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