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THE TOPLINE: Former Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite was in the job for just eight months during the Trump administration, but reportedly spent about $2.4 million on air travel for 22 trips.
USA TODAY reported that Braithwaite, who was sworn in last May and resigned when President BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won’t run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE took office on January 21, traveled to more foreign and domestic locations than any other senior Pentagon civilian amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
By comparison: Other service secretaries took fewer trips in the same period, with then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyArmy report confirms Vanessa Guillén was sexually harassed before her death Pence pleaded with military officials to ‘clear the Capitol’ on Jan. 6: AP Alarming threat prompts early exit, underscoring security fears MORE embarking on 17 trips that cost roughly $900,000 and then-Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett traveling to 19 destinations for a total $1.6 million, according to spokespeople from each service.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyOvernight Defense: US may keep training Afghan forces in other countries | Defense chief tight-lipped on sexual assault decision | ‘Swift’ return to Iran deal possible, US says US adds 12 fighter jets to protect Afghanistan withdrawal McConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by ‘the end of the year’ MORE, meanwhile, took four trips in that time frame, and then-Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperCourt declines to dismiss Amazon challenge against JEDI decision Inspector general chose not to investigate Secret Service in clearing of Lafayette Square: report The paradox of US-India relations MORE and his successor, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, took a combined 15 trips.
Where did he go?: Among Braithwaite’s trips was a $232,000 excursion in January to the South Pacific’s Wake Island to record a farewell message to the Navy and Marine Corps.
The island is essentially a refueling stop and emergency landing strip thousands of miles from Hawaii where no sailors or Marines are stationed, Navy spokesman Capt. Jereal Dorsey told the outlet.
Braithwaite also flew to Norway, Italy, Greece, Japan and India, as well as several trips to Hawaii and a more than $24,000 flight to attend the Army-Navy football game with his family.
Braithwaite’s response: Braithwaite defended his travels in a statement to USA Today, claiming they were necessary to strengthen the Navy after recent crises, likely alluding to the scandal surrounding the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.
“I am extremely proud of the record of accomplishments of Our Sailors and Marines during my tenure as Secretary, especially following such a tumultuous chapter in the Navy’s recent history of crisis following crisis as compared to our other