Fired Marine one-star general was ‘abusive, bullying, toxic, abrasive, and aggressive,’ investigation finds
In his seven months as legislative assistant to the commandant of the Marine Corps, Brig. Gen. Norman Cooling proved to be an abusive, bullying boss, who openly disparaged women, ruled through intimidation, and attempted to spread a rumor about a female officer after the Senate complained about him to the defense secretary, according to a Defense Department’s Inspector General’s Office investigation.
“The adjectives a majority of witnesses used to describe his leadership were abusive, bullying, toxic, abrasive, and aggressive,”a DoD IG report on the investigation into Cooling’s conduct found. “Some subordinates considered him an ‘equal opportunity offender,’ disparaging men and women. BGen Cooling denied making some of the comments attributed to him, but more than one witness told us they heard him make each of the comments described in this section of our report.”
Cooling was removed as legislative assistant in February 2018 after the Senate Armed Services Committee complained to then-Defense Secretary James Mattis that Cooling had created a hostile work environment. He is currently assigned as assistant deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations at Headquarters Marine Corps.
“The Marine Corps is currently reviewing the DoD IG’s report and will take appropriate action in light of the substantiated misconduct,” the Corps said in a statement on Wednesday. “The Marine Corps expects every Marine, uniformed and civilian – and particularly those in leadership positions – to hold themselves to the highest standards in their personal and professional conduct. When Marines fall short of our standards they are held accountable.”
The investigation substantiated several allegations against Cooling between July 10, 2017 and Feb. 27, 2018, including: