Chapter 4: Truth and Consequences of the ’05 Cal Guard Spy Scandal

In Chapter 3, I described how the Dynasty allegedly monopolized the Guard’s public relations systems, politicized the Cal Guard, and evolved into a powerful society. A Dynasty with a purported agenda to preserve a State Active Duty (SAD) military pay system that benefitted a few within the Guard.

In Chapter 4, I  postulate how they organized political traps to:

  • Undermine Maj. Gen. William Wade; and
  • Snare their internal military rivals and critics.


Contrasting Styles. Grassroots volunteers and first responders are rumored to believe current California Office of Emergency Services (OES) Mark Gharadarci (left) kowtows to California National Guard leadership. Popular opinion of Matthew Bettenhaussen's civilian leadership, among grassroots and first responders, was that of a leader in charge of the state's military. (FLICKR Photos)
Contrasting Styles. Grassroots volunteers and first responders are rumored to believe current California Office of Emergency Services (OES) Mark Ghilarducci (left) kowtows to California National Guard leadership. Popular opinion of Matthew Bettenhaussen’s civilian leadership, among grassroots and first responders, was that of a civilian  in charge of the state’s military. (FLICKR Photos)

The End Run and Power Sweep

California’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. William Wade II, did not have a reservation at the  Dynasty’s daily cigar-smoking session, but he was purportedly an irritant to them.

Wade accepted the challenge of DoD transformation, as he was ethically bound, and adopted the remnants  of Monroe’s joint transformation team as his own. But the Cal Guard Dynasty, those “Natural forces of inertia and resistance to change” that the 2004 NDS warned us about, were arguably still in motion and silently on pace with Wade: constraining those working to bring about military transformation in California; and disputably sabotaging the systems they were developing.

Mathew Bettenhausen‘s January 2011 Departure from Cal EMA debatably opened a door Dynasty to stall, and alter the military transformational systems Wade was advancing. The Dynasty was reportedly courting  Mark Ghilarducci, Cal EMA’s heir  apparent, who was arguably  more pliable than Bettenhausen. Through the magic of the SAD reform committee, the Dynasty purportedly created several Cal EMA SAD salaried jobs at Cal EMA headquarters. Taxpayers paid for these jobs through a hybrid budgeting method eerily similar to  that of whistle blowers accusing Eres of misusing state funds, by using Federal Homeland Security Grant monies funneled through the State Comptroller.

At that time, having uniformed Guardsmen at CAL EMA headquarters, other than as liaison officers, did not sit well with the  agency’s rank and file. In fact, the civilian Cal EMA staff reportedly mutinied against their military counterparts in 2010  by locking them out of their downtown Sacramento Offices and asking them to relocate elsewhere in the building. A Cal EMA insider told me that the  civilian Homeland Security professionals resented the military staff for several reasons, but the  most prominent was FEMA emergency management credentials were  optional  for SAD staff, but required for Cal EMA Homeland Security professionals.

Bettenhausen and Wade reportedly remedied the civilian outrage by treating the SAD military as civilian staff, limiting them to  advisory roles and subordinating them to Cal EMA emergency managers. But Ghilarducci apparently reversed these roles when he assumed the acting Cal EMA secretary in 2011. Under Ghilarducci, the Cal EMA military staff arguably operated semi-independently of civilian command and control, without “legislative oversight,” and were given “broad-authority” to decide, organize, plan, and oversee the state’s emergency  response planning, exercises and training.

A bureaucratic  “Ponzi Scheme,” so to speak, arguably ensued. The military supervisors would allegedly order Cal EMA civilian staff to “stand-down” support to Wade’s, and subsequently Kight’s, staff that had been the Dynasty’s nemesis since the ’05 Cal Guard Spy scandal. These staffs had been steadily transforming the Cal Guard’s operational, personnel, and logistics systems to comply with DoD and FEMA regulations–a task made more challenging in the aftermath of the  ’05 Cal Guard Spy  Scandal making military  intelligence, a critical function around which these systems are layered, politically incorrect.

By shutting down Cal EMA support, the Dynasty purportedly positioned their long-time  nemesis for failure. Failure to successfully complete Joint Cal-EMA projects, or fully participate in state and federal exercises, meant lower performance ratings and standing on the military  department’s SAD order of merit list (OML) for the Dynasty’s foes.  Cal EMA civilian counterparts were under puesdo military rule, risking lower  performance appraisals themselves if they defied, or broke ranks, with their military supervisors.

Who Moved the Cheese scenario arguably resurfaced. Sniff and Scurry, the Dynasty’s alleged adversaries, were responding to post 9-11 changes in the Homeland Security environment, integrating post DoD and FEMA systems into California’s counterterrorism and regional emergency response. Systems that would have improved efficiency, reduced duplication and government waste incurred from having to cut through bureaucratic red tape in the early stages of emergency.

Hem and Haw, the Dynasty, arguably saw these new systems as a threat to the SAD system with which they  were familiar. Disputably, they subliminally understood that DoD/FEMA compliant systems diminished their control of SAD hires and freedom to pad military response staff and Joint Task Forces with their cronies during emergency response.

The 2008 Wild Fires arguably triggered an internal debate over this Post-911 Homeland  Security Transformation issue. It was rumored that the military department grossly overcharged Cal Fire for reimbursements for military assets used  in those  wildfires. Some insiders contend that department generated  financial windfalls from the emergency in amounts so excessive that they could afford to pay SAD a Golden Handshake to retire early. Several officers took that handshake–one reportedly as much as a quarter million dollars–sparking some controversy over whether the Golden Handshake was ethical during a state budget crisis, and if the overcharges should have been returned to the state’s general fund.

Although the reimbursements were not  illegal, they  did expose flaws in how the existing SAD system functions during emergencies. Flaws that Wade, and subsequently, Knight reportedly recognized causing them to place additional command emphasis on their staffs’ work. Sniff and Scurry’s mission was to accelerate DoD/FEMA-compliant personnel  systems for the California National  Guard, to identify and pre-train staff and Joint Task Force commanders, mobilize only those resources lead agencies  actually need, and have deliberate plans in place so detailed that all came to an emergency knowing what to do, not asking what to do.

But Hem and Haw arguably didn’t share their viewpoint. During their daily cigar smoking sessions the Dynasty reportedly discussed the Golden Handshake and how it rid the department of colonels they didn’t like, and opened up SAD positions for those they deemed worthy of SAD membership. On several occasions I overheard them saying it was the “best money the department ever spent.”

They were arguably satisfied with a partially completed DoD/FEMA mandated systems, because they could control SAD jobs and flow of military resources during emergency response. Arguably the military and infrastructure elements of PMESII–Political, Military, Economic, Social, Informational and Infrastructure–they allegedly masterminded through their quasi-information operations program, and debatably perfected through daily cigar breaks.

It was, perhaps, an end run and power sweep around Wade’s and Kight’s commands.


The Philosophical Divde. Maj. Gen. William Wade's (Left) and Brig. Gen. Mary Kight's (second from left) military transformation and military justice philosophies' differed from that of then Col. David S. Baldwin's (second from right) and State Investigator General Lt. Col. (CA) Joseph Righello's (right). Wade's and Knight's judicial management style was reportedly more "due process" oriented, while Baldwin's and Righello's was arguably more of a martinet-style of justice, some say even abusive. Wade and Kight nurtured military transformation as envisioned by DoD policy and directives, Baldwin and Righello arguably resisted it. (Flickr photos).
The Philosophical Divde. Maj. Gen. William Wade’s (Left) and Brig. Gen. Mary Kight’s (second from left) military transformation and military justice philosophies’ differed from that of then Col. David S. Baldwin’s (second from right) and State Investigator General Lt. Col. (CA) Joseph Righello’s (right). Wade’s and Knight’s judicial management style was reportedly more “due process” oriented, while Baldwin’s and Righello’s was arguably more of a martinet-style of justice, some say even abusive. Wade and Kight nurtured military transformation as envisioned by DoD policy and directives, Baldwin and Righello arguably resisted it. (Flickr photos).

The Lords of Discipline

But the Dynasty debatably struggled for control of the military element  of PMESII. Part of the reform  package Wade reportedly negotiated with the California Senate included a full-time SAD investigator general.

Wade appointed the most tenacious fighter for soldier justice available in the California National Guard.  Col. (CA) Warren Alberts was once the Secretary of the General Staff (SGS) to Gen. Hal Moore during his stint as commander, Ft. Ord, CA. Moore was renowned for his pledge to the Soldier’s Creed– “never leave  a soldier  behind,” when, as a lieutenant colonel, he commanded the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the 1965 Battle of Ia  Drang, during the Vietnam War. Mel Gibson’s  portrayal of Moore’s speech  in the  movie “We Were Soldiers,” immortalized his commitment.

Alberts had his own reputation for commitment to the Soldier’s Creed. In 1998, he investigated the disappearance of a Spec. Mason O’Neill,  of  the 870th Military Police Company during  the unit’s deployment to  Germany. In a titanic  struggle with the  United  States  Army,  Alberts ferociously pursued the  truth of O’Neill’s disappearance  braving the Army’s  forgone conclusion that the Cal Guardsmen was a deserter. In the end, justice prevailed when Alberts proved the  specialist–who was eventually found deceased–had not  deserted, restoring benefits to his O’Neill’s widow and three children five years  old  and  younger.

Alberts’ was a shrewd litigator of the  Uniform  Military Code of Justice (UMCJ), a  guardian of a soldier’s due process, student of military policy, and a no nonsense consultant with commanders about the legitimacy of their charges and penalties. Those with political agendas understood they would have to go around Alberts if their agendas undermined a soldier’s due process. The Dynasty arguably waited Alberts out until he retired.

The Dynasty, many believe, pegged Lt. Col. Joseph Righello to follow Alberts as the SAD inspector general upon his retirement. Many speculated Righello’s appointment was payback for his silence during Dunn’s Spy inquiry. Righello was reportedly an unpopular choice among troops, as complaints surfaced that if he did  not speak up for the department when under attack  by Dunn, could troops rely on him to speak up for them?

Righello arguably confirmed his critics worst fears.  Targeted SAD employees were forced  to endure summary boards, respond to investigations, and obtain legal counsel to defend themselves from the  suspect  job ratings. Officers were charged, and convicted without  due process, with mishandling federal funds for US Northern Command-directed exercises, trumped-up workplace violence, and insubordination, based on gossip, to senior officers within the Dynasty.

The UMCJ was debatably liberally administered to favor the Dynasty supervisors. A SAD colonel, the Dynasty  allegedly singled out, was downgraded to Lieutenant Colonel, ordered to relocate from San Luis Obispo to Sacramento, and denied permanent change in station (PCS) reimbursements as interpreted by Righello, but inconsistent with the UMCJ. Likewise, Righello approved suspensions without pay for personnel with arguably “hearsay” evidence for insubordination under UMCJ rules, that were in violation of SAD Regulation 600-1 regulating such suspension only in cases of where the employee is a threat to himself or the workplace.

Troops–primarily female–who had filed complaints of sexual  harassment, racial discrimination, assault charges against key Dynasty members were herded into cubicles outside Righello’s office awaiting investigations of their grievances. Considerations, of which, were apparently conveniently indefinitely delayed  with complainants allegedly railroaded into dead-end jobs and exiled to armories on the Cal Guard frontiers.  Assignments where they remained until retired, fired, or medically discharged and that would have arguably  never been public knowledge if the complainants hadn’t come forward during Baldwin’s confirmation hearings.

The federal and technician job performance assessment processes were arguably corrupted to further pressure and retaliate against SAD, Active Guard & Reserve (AGR) and technician employees who opposed the Dynasty. The military protocols of pre-evaluation, soldier  input, and supervisor agreement to provide coaching, training, and counseling to improve job performance were discarded in favor of a supervisor’s subjective judgment  at the conclusion  of a rating period.

Targeted SAD employees still holding their federal M-Day assignment (under the California  SAD system, employees are permitted to hold a full-time state funded military position and retain their traditional  weekend assignment with pay), were subject to a double-jeopardy, so  to  speak. Their supervisors reportedly used the same evaluation for both their SAD and their federal job performances.

When the Army  Board for  the Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) ruled one Dynasty director ratified of a biased officer evaluation report (OER), the department was ordered to purge the OER from the officer’s personnel records, rewrite it, and reconsider him  for promotion. The Dynasty, however, rejected any remedy for the exact same proficiency report Righello ratified for the officer’s SAD records reasoning that ABCMR “remedies is not applicable” to SAD positions, according to a letter from the State Investigator General’s office.

The abuse became so pervasive that Army Senior Advisors, often asked to sit in on counseling, eventually refused to participate.   One former Senior Army Advisor compared the  reprisal to a pack of wolves hunting  down  their prey. “They (Dynasty) separate their prey from the pack, then devour them,” he said. The abusive employee tatics were so barbaric, that many compared them to the  brutal hazing depicted in Pat Conroy’s, “The Lords of Discipline.

The Dynasty’s only obstacle was Wade and his eventual successor Brig. Gen. Mary Kight. Their respect for the military justice culture and  their  desire to restore the rank and file’s confidence broke the Dynasty’s momentum, but did not bring it to a complete halt. At the 11th hour of his command, Wade purportedly took aggressive actions to remedy the abuse.

Wade reenergized due process for those the Dynasty allegedly pummeled. He reportedly  leveled the military justice playing field restoring due process for those disputably  in the Dynasty’s crosshairs, and reinstituted accountability for those in authority. A key Dynasty member was found guilty of  sexual  improprieties,  prosecuted, rendered a referred OER, relieved from his federal M-Day command, and administratively transferred from his high visibility  SAD position pending state investigation.

Baldwin reportedly hustled to secure a deployment to Afghanistan to outpace a lost weapon investigation that allegedly occurred during his watch as brigade commander. A charge that could  possibly limit his promotion to general if convicted and precluded his advancement to adjutant general. Wade’s successor, Kight, was reportedly in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Criminal Investigation Division (CID) on an emerging national recruiting fraud scandal in which some Dynasty members were reportedly involved.

Wade’s command started the wheels of justice to grind ever so slowly with hopes  of producing justice ever so fine. They were arguably dealing with an internal brotherhood of cronies that arguably deposed  one adjutant general. A fellowship that convened daily for their cigar breaks, staying in touch with Baldwin, and allegedly plotting to battle two  more adjutant  general commands to retain their supremacy, as the Cal Guard’s “Lords of Discipline.”


In Chapter 5, I share my views of Dynasty arguably toppled the adjutant general commands of Maj. Gen. William Wade and Brig. Gen. Mary  Kight, and manufactured scandals, networked with politicians, and ascend to senior leadership.

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