The Air Force discharged Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, on Wednesday, citing “a loss of confidence in its leadership” regarding alleged wrongdoing that is under investigation.
General Arnold W. Bunch Jr., commander of Air Force Materiel Command, said in a statement on Thursday that “new leadership is needed to maintain order and discipline, and to continue AFRL’s high performance.”
“The Air Force takes every allegation of wrongdoing seriously,” said Bunch. “I expect our leadership to adhere to the highest standards and to meet the basic values of the Air Force.”
Air Force Materiel Command spokesman Derek Kaufman told Task & Purpose that he could not comment on the nature of the alleged misconduct, but stated that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations had taken up the case.
As commander of the AFRL in Ohio, Cooley led a $ 4.8 billion science and technology program with approximately 6,000 government employees, the major general’s biography said.
Cooley has been in the office since 1988 when he was named a lieutenant. He took over the helm of the AFRL in May 2017 and was promoted to major general in July 2018.
Over the past 32 years, Cooley has worked on a number of air force science projects, from space and missile systems to military satellite communications to semiconductor lasers and spacecraft.
In the meantime, Bunch was also dispatched to Afghanistan, received a Bronze Star and Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaves and received his doctorate in technical physics.
Bunch wrote this brig. General Evan Dertien has been appointed AFRL commander. Cooley was initially employed as Bunch’s personal assistant.