It looks like Fort Hood is in the spotlight again, this time for actually being decent and doing what they’re supposed to do. The Army stated that it has fired or suspended 14 officers and enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood Texas, ordering policy changes to address the repeated leadership failures that have contributed to a widespread pattern of violence, which include sexual assault, harassment, and murder.
Condemnation of Fort Hood command hierarchy, Army secretary Ryan McCarthy fired three top commanders and suspended others pending investigation. He also ordered a separate probe into staffing and procedures at the Fort Hood base’s Criminal Investigation Command Unit. The unit is responsible for investigating the crimes on Fort Hood.
According to the Associated Press, the decision to fire or suspend come after a year that saw at least 25 soldiers that were assigned to Ford Hood die due to homicide, suicide, or accident which include the tragic death of Spc female soldier Vanessa Guillen. Guillen was missing for two months before her remains were tragically found. McCartney stated that based on an independent panel review, he concluded the issues at Fort Hood, which include major flaws in the response to sexual assault and harassment.
CBS This Morning on Fort Hood
He said he was very disappointed in the commanders there, noting that “ without leadership, systems don’t matter.” Chief of Staff of the Army General James McConville, told reporters that he had spoken to Guillen’s Mom on Tuesday and told her that they are holding army leaders accountable, and they “will fix this.” McConville continued, noting, “We know in the Army that we are not perfect, but what makes us the greatest Army in the world is that we recognize where we must change. We acknowledge our issues and we fix them.”
During a press conference in Houston, Gloria Guillen, Guillen’s mother, stated that she did speak with McCarthy and told him that the administrative actions were a step in the right direction, but wanted to see those who had failed her daughter serve time in jail. Natalie Khawam, Guillen’s Family attorney, says that Criminal Investigation Command, also known as CID, officers were among those who were fired or suspended. The panel had found that Fort Hood was used as a training ground for new CID officers, but reportedly there were a lot of turnovers, and many of the officers over assigned or inexperienced.
The Army Announce 14 Senior Officers Fired or Suspended
The Army announced that 14 senior officers will be punished following a probe that was initiated after the murder of Vanessa Guillen and several other deaths at the Army's Fort Hood base in Texas this year. https://t.co/1oygUkOMhn
— CNN (@CNN) December 8, 2020
McCarthy also ordered a new Army policy that will change how commanders deal with missing soldiers. The panel found that there were no detailed procedures for what commanders of small units should do if a Soldier does go missing, but not necessarily absent-unknown or an AWOL. The new policy requires leaders to be absent from service for up to 48 hours and then do everything that they can in order to look at this order to determine if the absence is voluntary before declaring any Soldier AWOL.
Among the Fort Hood soldiers who were fired include Maj. Gen Scott L. Efflandt, who was in charge of the base when Guillen went missing, Col. Ralph Overland and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp. Two other leaders, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny and Maj Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater, have been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into command climate, and the multiple responses to sexual harassment and assault. The Army also opened a separate investigation into resourcing, procedures, and policies of the six military police groups. Between 2014 and 2019, there was an average of 129 felonies committed annually at Fort Hood, which included kidnapping, murder, and sexual assault.