The Latest: Naval War College president steps down

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CORRECTION: TAKES OUT REFERENCE OF OFFICIAL ARTIST’S PORTRAIT ADDS INFORMATION ABOUT PORTRAIT: This May 2019 photo provided by U.S. Naval War College president Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, shows a portrait of Harley, left, displayed in a gallery in Conolly Hall on the school’s campus in Newport, R.I. Harley, who is bald, said the portrait was made by a professor who paid for it himself and gave it to Harley as a joke. He called it a way to poke fun of himself. Dozens of emails, which span from December 2017 to May 2019, were shared with The Associated Press by people at the war college who said they were concerned about Harley’s leadership and judgment. (Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley/U.S. Naval War College via AP)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Latest on the investigation at the U.S. Naval War College (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

The president of the U.S. Naval War College says he is stepping down.

The announcement by Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley on Monday came after the Navy announced he was being reassigned pending the outcome of an inspector general investigation.

Harley said in an all-campus email that he had decided to step down immediately because of the distractions caused by what he called an “unfounded” article by The Associated Press on Friday.

The AP reported the inspector general was investigating amid allegations that Harley spent excessively, abused his hiring authority and otherwise behaved inappropriately, including keeping a margarita machine in his office.

The college also announced that a strategy forum that high-ranking Navy officials planned to attend starting Tuesday has been postponed.

___

9:18 a.m.

The Navy says the president of the U.S. Naval War College has been administratively reassigned pending the outcome of an inspector general investigation.

The reassignment of Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley on Monday comes days after The Associated Press reported on the investigation amid allegations that he spent excessively, abused his hiring authority and otherwise behaved inappropriately, including keeping a margarita machine in his office.

Harley told the AP the fiscal strain was because the Navy hasn’t fully funded new missions. He says he has a lighthearted leadership style.

High-ranking officials including the Navy secretary are due on campus this week for a strategy forum and graduation at the elite school, which grooms future admirals and generals.

The Navy says Provost Lewis M. Duncan has temporarily assumed the president’s duties.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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