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Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen was fatally beaten with a hammer and dismembered by fellow soldier

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The military fired or suspended 14 officers and soldiers at the Fort Hood base in Texas after a damning investigation revealed chronic failing leaders who contributed to a widespread pattern of violence, including murder, assault and harassment.

A panel of five citizens was formed in July to examine the base’s command culture and handling of sexual harassment and disappearance cases, and those results were shared publicly in December.

“The investigation into the murder of Vanessa Guillen revealed that Fort Hood has a command environment that permits sexual harassment and assault,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said at a news conference in December.

He said the problems plaguing Fort Hood are “directly related to leadership failure.”

Army Maj. Gene. Scott Efflandt, who was in charge of the base when Guillen was killed, was fired from his post.

Army chiefs had already postponed Efflandt’s planned transfer to Fort Bliss, where he would take charge of the 1st Armored Division, due to the investigation into the base.

The base commander, Army Lieutenant General Pat White, will not take any administrative action because he has been deployed there as commander in Iraq for much of the year.

The commanders of Guillen’s unit, Colonel Ralph Overland and Command Sgt. maj. Bradley Knapp of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment were also fired.

maj. Gene. Jeffrey Broadwater and Command Sgt. maj. Thomas C. Kenny, Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division and Sergeant Major, were both suspended.

Army Maj.  Gene.  Scott Efflandt, who was in charge of the base when Guillen was killed, was fired after the review

Army Maj. Gene. Scott Efflandt, who was in charge of the base when Guillen was killed, was fired after the review

maj.  Gene.  Jeffrey Broadwater, Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division, was suspended after the review

maj.  Gene.  Jeffrey Broadwater, Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division, was suspended after the review

Command Sgt.  maj.  Thomas C. Kenny, Sergeant Major of the 1st Cavalry Division was suspended

Command Sgt.  maj.  Thomas C. Kenny, Sergeant Major of the 1st Cavalry Division was suspended

Suspended: Major General Jeffrey Broadwater (left) and Command Sgt. maj. Thomas C. Kenny (right), both of the 1st Cavalry Division, were suspended after the review

Colonel Ralph Overland, the commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, which was in charge of Guillen's unit, was fired after the independent assessment

Colonel Ralph Overland, the commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, which was in charge of Guillen's unit, was fired after the independent assessment

Command Sgt.  maj.  Bradley Knapp, the sergeant major of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, who was in charge of Guillen's unit, was also fired

Command Sgt.  maj.  Bradley Knapp, the sergeant major of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, who was in charge of Guillen's unit, was also fired

Discharged: Colonel Ralph Overland (left), the commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and Command Sgt. maj. Bradley Knapp (right), who were both in charge of Guillen’s unit, were fired

Their suspension is pending the outcome of a new Army Regulation (AR) 15-6 investigation into the 1st Cavalry Division’s command climate and sexual harassment/assault response and prevention program.

The names of the battalion level and below of commanders and leaders who were given administrative measures were not released.

McCarthy said the panel published nine key findings and 70 recommendations that the military accepts to correct the command culture at the grassroots.

The panel said they made an effort to speak to women in every division on the base, especially those in Guillen’s unit.

The panel conducted 647 individual interviews on the base.

‘Of the 503 women we interviewed’ [in the investigation], we discovered 93 credible reports of sexual assault. Of those, only 59 were reported,” said Queta Rodriguez, a member of the independent review panel.

And we also found 217 unreported reports of sexual harassment. Only half of these were reported. What we found during those interviews was that the lack of trust in the system affected the reports of those incidents,” she added.

The independent review found that the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Program (SHARP) failed to curb sexual assault and harassment on bases due to structural flaws.

Panelists said there was a lack of training, resources and staff at the SHARP office in Fort Hood.

It also found that the command climate did not practice the core values ​​of the program below the brigade level, resulting in less confidence in the program.

McCarthy ordered the review in mid-July to find the “root causes” of sexual harassment and violence at the base and whether the command culture and climate reflect the military’s values.

Of the 31 deaths at the base in 2020, while some were considered accidents, five were homicides and 10 were suicides.

“Soldiers attacking and harassing other soldiers is against the values ​​of the military and requires a dramatic culture shift,” said Chris Swecker, chairman of the independent review panel.

“There was a well-founded fear that the confidentiality of the [sexual assault] reporting process would be jeopardized. It took so long to get a ruling that people have never seen a ruling,” he added.

He said the panel’s recommendations were intended to “address deeply dysfunctional norms and regain soldiers’ trust,” he added.

The panel offered the military new policies to implement, including a restructuring of the SHARP program at Fort Hood, which they said was fundamentally ineffective.

The panel recommended the creation of full-time Victim Advocates, composed of a combination of civilian and uniformed personnel, and the creation of a SHARP Program Office track to track the life cycle and aging of each sexual assault and harassment case and prepare a quarterly report with that information.

They also proposed new measures to better detect the disappearances of soldiers.

The panel recommended establishing an army-wide set of protocols for “failure to report” scenarios in the critical first 24 hours of a soldier’s absence.

Under the new policy, commanders must list duty members as absent-unknown for up to 48 hours and must make every effort to locate them to determine whether their absence is voluntary before declaring them AWOL or absent without leave.

It also includes new guidelines for steps to classify soldiers as deserters.

McCarthy said the People First Task Force was set up to study the committee’s recommendations and devise a plan to implement them.

Fort Hood’s Commanding General, Lieutenant General Pat White, said, “There’s some candid feedback on the culture here. What has been made abundantly clear is that we need to improve our culture, especially with sexual assault and intimidation.”

He said changes are already underway at the base and that he has set aside more than four million hours for junior leaders to work on team building and get to know their soldiers.

He said the base had been notified of the layoffs and had time to prepare a “compassion team” made up of a lawyer, a public affairs representative, a chaplain, a behavioral health representative and an expert in the field. field of cyber awareness.

The five members of the independent review committee are Chris Swecker, Jonathan Harmon, Carrie Ricci, Queta Rodriguez and Jack White, who together have 75 years of experience as active-duty military and law enforcement personnel.

Chris Swecker is the former deputy director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and Jonathan Harmon is a civilian trial attorney who represented Fortune 500 companies and a war veteran who served in the Gulf War.

Carrie Ricci is a 21-year Army veteran and Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Agriculture, Queta Rodriguez is a 20-year Marine Veteran and Regional Director for the nonprofit FourBlock, and Jack White is a partner at the law firm of Fluet Huber Hoang in McLean, Virginia, graduate of West Point and five years on active duty.