Maj. Gen. Dawn Dunlop, director of the Office that the Secretary of Defense Special access Programs stands in front of an plane at Edwards Air force Base, Calif., ~ above Feb. 1, 2019. (Kenji Thuloweit/U.S. Air Force)
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WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Dawn Dunlop, one of the waiting Force’s highest-ranking female fighter pilots, frequently belittled subordinates and also clashed with peers prior to her removal as the leader that a Pentagon office responsible for few of the military’s most secret programs, one Air force inspector basic probe found.

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Investigators substantiated allegations that Dunlop publicly chastised and also disrespected military and also civilian workers throughout her time together director the the Defense Department’s Special accessibility Programs main Office, or SAPCO, i beg your pardon she ran from respectable 2018 till her firing in may 2019. She actions developed a toxic job-related environment, investigators composed in the January 2020 investigation report acquired Wednesday by Stars and also buzzpatterson.com.

Witnesses stated morale in the SAPCO office, which is charged through oversight of highly classified jobs that require security and safeguards beyond the border of typical secret information, dropped virtually immediately after Dunlop’s arrival and quickly increased after her removal on may 31, 2019. Lock told investigators the general routinely talked under to others and also treated castle like youngsters she required to parent. In at least one case, Dunlop dubbed a subordinate’s work “crap,” and also in another incident, a subordinate accused the general of angrily grabbing her hand there is no permission.


“In isolation, each of these instances may be viewed as Maj. Gen. Dunlop having an occasional poor day, having infrequent difficulties communicating she intent through her staff, or reacting bad in a time-stressed situation,” the IG investigators wrote. “However, cumulatively, and given the totality of the facts and circumstances, the preponderance of proof supports Maj. Gen. Dunlop engaged in a pattern of disrespectful behavior toward her staff … in a way that was pervasive, personal, public and also disproportional.”

Through much more than 30 years in the waiting Force, Dunlop — who continues to be on energetic duty — has actually proven it s her a trailblazing fighter pilot. She was the first woman to come to be a fighter test pilot and the first to paris the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet. In 2010, she ended up being the waiting Force’s very first woman come command a test wing.

But some witnesses claimed her leadership layout did not mesh through her function at SAPCO. Dunlop said investigators she gotten in the Pentagon office intent on making transforms to boost its work and also to align it far better with the vision the then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. She defined her leadership format to them as “purpose-driven, data-driven, open, and very transparent.”

Investigators found 21 the the 26 witnesses whom they interviewed during their probe organized a an adverse opinion the Dunlop. They emphasize “weekly, sometimes daily” occurrences in i beg your pardon she berated workers in Pentagon hallways over little mistakes or “just snapped” in ~ a an elderly officer from an additional service during a meeting.

Other witnesses claimed they believed she expected well and might not have actually realized she to be treating human being poorly.


“I think she’s a an excellent fighter pilot. I think she a great general officer,” one unnamed staff member said. “I think she lacked interactions skills.”

Witnesses recalled Dunlop was preparing ~ above Jan. 4, 2019, to meet a retirement officer with a company proposal at the Pentagon for coffee. A female staff member, whose surname was redacted native the IG report, recommend the general that the retired officer would accomplish Dunlop in she office, recording her through surprise.

The employee member said investigators that she to be looking down at Dunlop’s schedule as the general was express dismay that the retirement officer would view her office, i m sorry she said needed to be cleaned.

“And, as I walk this, she, uh, take it my hand and also said … ‘Look in ~ me,’ you recognize to gain my attention,” the staff member called investigators, relenten Dunlop as “angry.”


The employee member demonstrated the grab for investigators, the report states, telling them the was not ‘real tight,’ however she to be “shocked” the Dunlop had ordered her hand without permission. Eyewitnesses corroborated the incident, and also one reported it to Pentagon police around a mainly later.

“To be honest, I thought if the was a male general, he can have been done the day,” one witness, whose name was redacted from the report, said investigators. “I did no think a male basic would have survived that, if he had grabbed a 115 pound lady favor that.”

Dunlop never ever apologized for the incident and seemed to downplay it, investigators wrote, informing them she mental it as “a light touch” the lasted at most around five seconds and was meant just to certain the employee member to be listening to her. She refuse she was upset at the time.

“I think it to be a an extremely brief touch. I did not think lot of it,” Dunlop said investigators. “I thought it to be an appropriate method to check out if us were having a conversation or not.”

The IG investigators shared their findings through the air Force’s criminal investigative service, the Office of one-of-a-kind Investigations, which decreased to seek an attack charge.

Nonetheless, the IG discovered that occurrence “compromised her standing together an officer” and “constituted indecorum and conduct unbecoming an officer.”

Dunlop, a 1988 graduate the the Air force Academy in Colorado who has actually logged an ext than 3,500 hours flying fighter jets, defended numerous of she actions and also leadership style as SAPCO’s leader come IG investigators. She stated workers in the office were not supplied to facing straight criticism of your work, i m sorry she argued needed improvement.

She stated her intention was never to belittle her subordinates, specifically in public.

“What ns have discovered effective in my career, or what has functioned for me, on me, is just the an extremely direct: here’s what requirements to it is in fixed, and also here’s why, and also you go and also fix it and you move on,” she stated in an IG interview. She added her layout “might have been too much for them.”

After she removal indigenous SAPCO, Dunlop served around one year as a one-of-a-kind assistant to the Air force vice chef of staff. In May, she was called Air Force’s manager of operational volume requirements.

An email seeking comment from a law firm representing Dunlop was not returned instantly Wednesday. Her attorney Gary Myers claimed in a statement come Air pressure Times, which an initial reported the probe’s findings, that Dunlop vowed to find out from the IG’s conclusions.

Myers claimed the concerns raised through witnesses thrived out that Dunlop’s desire come implement reforms in the SAPCO office and were no malicious.

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“The IG allegations and also report of examination do no reflect who she is as a person, her worths or her devoted service of end 30 years,” Myers’ statement read.