The Pentagon’s inspector general on Thursday reported that a former senior career Defense Department official, now employed by the Office of Personnel Management, used racial slurs, sexually harassed female employees and drank during work hours, creating an “offensive work environment” for his subordinates.
Douglas Glenn, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, joined the Defense Department as its assistant deputy chief financial officer in 2018 before being promoted to deputy chief financial officer in 2020, and from January until April 2021, he temporarily performed the duties of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller). In November 2021, he transferred to OPM, where he serves as the agency’s chief financial officer.
The Defense Department Inspector General’s report investigates multiple anonymous complaints about Glenn’s conduct in the workplace, cataloging a laundry list of sexually suggestive comments made to female staffers as well as two instances where he was racially insensitive in meetings with subordinates.
The inspector general substantiated several instances where Glenn used phrases like “all balls, no bush,” commented on “how young” a female subordinate looked and described another employee as a “hot blonde.”
“The fourth subordinate told us that in November 2021, Mr. Glenn was talking on a speakerphone telling another subordinate that Mr. Glenn hoped some studly guy would be rubbing oil on her back at the beach,” the report states.
Glenn denied that he made sexually suggestive comments and said that “the comments did not sound like anything he would say.”
The report also highlights an incident during a February 2021 all-hands meeting where Glenn, against the advice of two subordinates, discussed a 2013 speech from former President Obama describing experiencing racism hearing people lock their car doors as he walked past their vehicles.
“They said that Mr. Glenn told the audience that the people who locked their car doors ‘might not have been racist’ or had other reasons for locking them,” the report states. “Seven of the eight subordinates told us that Mr. Glenn’s comment about President Obama’s experience with racism made them and other subordinates feel appalled, surprised, betrayed, stunned, and very confused, and that it was an inappropriate and insensitive thing to say.”
Glenn argued that he was trying to show how “people can look at things differently” on matters of race.
“Who are the people in the car that are locking their doors?” Glenn told the inspector general’s office. “Maybe they’re racists. Maybe they’re looking at a Black man and assuming there’s a high potential for being robbed. Or maybe they’re just following National Highway Administration guidelines to lock your doors when you drive. It could be either.”
In that same all-hands meeting, Glenn called on an Asian-American subordinate to describe how she felt as an “Asian female in a department that considers China its biggest threat.” Glenn told investigators that although the exchange was “awkward,” he thought he had “OKed” it with the employee ahead of time.
“Mr. Glenn said that he believed the all-hands meeting went ‘well enough,’ and he did not receive any feedback from staff voicing concerns about the content of the meeting,” the inspector general wrote. “[He] also stated that his performance rating for that time period was ‘Exceeds Fully Successful,’ leading him to believe that nobody complained to his supervisor about his all-hands comments.”
But weeks later, Glenn told some of his subordinates that he wanted to hold a second all-hands meeting on diversity and inclusion. During that discussion, he described an anecdote he would bring up in which he used the N-word.
“[In the story], Mr. Glenn complimented a former colleague on a sweater [they] wore, and the former colleague replied that [they] wore it to stop all of the negative comments,” the report relays. “However, Mr. Glenn misheard the colleague and thought [they] said to stop all of the N-word comments. [A witness] said that Mr. Glenn’s colleague corrected him and said [they] did not say the N-word but said ‘negative comments’ instead. [A witness] told us that Mr. Glenn said he thought the misunderstanding was funny because ‘when he relayed that story to a Black person, the Black person looked at him horrified. But when he relays that story to white friends, the white friends laugh and think it’s hilarious.'”
Glenn confirmed that he used the racial slur, spelling it out when asked to clarify exactly what word he used, but said the story was intended to “highlight the different reactions he received and to explain why it is difficult to discuss race.”
“Mr. Glenn told us that he watched each subordinate’s reactions as he told the story, and he did not believe anyone was offended,” the report states. “He said that a ‘very productive conversation ensued between us all.’ Mr. Glenn told us that he watched each subordinate’s reactions as he told the story, and he did not believe anyone was offended.”
The inspector general also substantiated two instances where Glenn had alcoholic beverages during work hours and offered them to subordinates. Glenn acknowledged that he stored alcohol in his office and occasionally drank, mostly after hours, but that he stopped when he discovered that employees are required to obtain written authorization to do so.
Since Glenn is no longer a Defense Department employee, the inspector general said it forwarded its findings to OPM Director Kiran Ahuja “to take appropriate action.” OPM confirmed Thursday that the agency has received the report and is reviewing it.