NDU president out following reports of unhealthy leadership climate

The president of the National Defense University stepped down from his post last week following reports of an ongoing investigation into a poor command climate at the Defense Department-operated institution.

Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin officially relinquished the job last Monday, a senior NDU official confirmed to Federal News Radio via email on Friday. The university’s vice president, Ambassador Wanda Nesbitt, will serve as acting president until the Pentagon identifies a replacement.

“[The move was] approved by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey,” the university said in a statement. “Gen. Martin said he believed this was the right time for a new leader to guide the institution as NDU continued to prepare leaders for the challenges facing the U.S. Military.”

Foreign Policy first reported the leadership change in a posting last week by longtime military reporter and author Thomas Ricks, who is now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.


In January, Ricks reported Martin had unilaterally ordered a series of sweeping structural changes at NDU without consulting its tenured faculty and other academic leaders, and that he threatened to fire anyone who challenged his plans. Martin responded that he was indeed seeking “transformational” change within the university, but that his comments were misinterpreted.

Martin has been reassigned to an unspecified position within the Army’s staff organization at the Pentagon.

He first became NDU president in July 2012. Prior to that, he had served as commandant of the Army War College and, earlier, of the Army Engineer School. He spent much of his time since his 1979 commissioning serving in the Army Corps of Engineers, earning several decorations along the way, including a Bronze Star.

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