WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – “The findings of the committee identified major flaws with sexual harassment and assault response preventions programs from implementation, reporting and adjudication.” That’s the word from U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy today in a press conference held at the pentagon to address issues at Fort Hood after a committee review of the Command Culture at the base after the death of Vanessa Guillen.
McCarthy went on to say the committee identified “fundamental issues with the Fort Hood Criminal Investigation Command Field Office activities that led to unaddressed problems on Fort Hood.”
McCarthy directly called out a command structure he said was “permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
McCarthy said the committee made 70 recommendations to improve several areas at Fort Hood including teh Fort Hood Criminal Investigation Field Office command activities, army missing-soldier protocols, Fort Hood crime prevention and response activities and Army-wide command climate issues, and Fort Hood Public Affairs activities.
Army leaders are firing or suspending 14 officers and enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, and ordering policy changes to address chronic leadership failures at the base that contributed to a widespread pattern of violence including murder, sexual assaults and harassment.
Two general officers are among those being removed from their jobs, as top Army leaders on Tuesday announced the findings of an independent panel’s investigation into problems at the Texas base.
The actions, taken by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, come in the aftermath of a year that saw 25 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood die due to suicide, homicide or accidents, including the bludgeoning death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen. Guillen was missing for about two months before her remains were found.
The firings and suspensions include Army Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, who was left in charge of the base earlier this year when Guillen was killed, as well as Maj. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commander of the 1st Cavalry Divisions. The administrative actions are expected to trigger investigations that could lead to a wide range of punishments. Those punishments could go from a simple letter of reprimand to a military discharge.
The base commander, Army Lt. Gen. Pat White, will not face any administrative action. He was deployed to Iraq as the commander there for much of the year.
Army leaders had already delayed Efflandt’s planned transfer to Fort Bliss, where he was slated to take over leadership of the 1st Armored Division. Command of a division is a key step in an Army officer’s career.
Efflandt’s move was paused while the team of independent investigators conducted its probe into whether leadership failures contributed to the killings of several people, including Guillen, and who should be held accountable.