Army Officials Fire, Suspend 14 Fort Hood Leaders After Vanessa Guillén Murder Investigation


AP Photo/LM Otero

By Araceli Cruz

December 8, 2020

Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy released an extensive review after a months-long look into Fort Hood and their handling of the Vanessa Guillén case.

On Dec. 8, after months of investigations into the murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillén, Army officials announced that 14 army leaders, including a general, were fired or suspended at the Fort Hood military base. The Guillén family said it’s not enough. 

“This isn’t justice,” Mayra Guillén, Vanessa’s sister, tweeted yesterday when initial reports about the Fort Hood changes came to light. “Those responsible need to be held accountable, not just fired.” 

RELATED: US Congress Officially Launches Investigation Into Fort Hood Deaths

Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy and the five civilian members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee unveiled the results of a three-month examination of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood and the surrounding military community. 

Some of those 14 fired include Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, Col. Ralph Overland, Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander and command sergeant major. McCarthy also directed the suspension of Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny, 1st Cavalry Division commanding general and command sergeant major, pending the outcome of a new Army Regulation investigation of 1st Cavalry Division’s command climate and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.

The Army is also opening a separate investigation into the resourcing, policies, and procedures of the 6th Military Police Group (Criminal Investigation Command).

The report showed that the SHARP Program (the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program) was ineffective. 

The investigation showed that from the III Corps level and below, the SHARP Program was chronically under-resourced due to understaffing, lack of training, lack of credentialed SHARP professionals, and lack of funding. 

“Leaders, regardless of rank, are accountable for what happens in their units and must have the courage to speak up and intervene when they recognize actions that bring harm to our soldiers and to the integrity of our institution,” McCarthy said in a statement. 

RELATED: Fort Hood Commander in Charge of Investigating Vanessa Guillén’s Death Loses Post and Transfer

The Guillén family said they would be speaking out about the firings in a press conference later today. However, they stated yesterday that McCarthy hasn’t responded to their request for a joint meeting. 

McCarthy’s report included nine findings for Fort Hood and made 70 recommendations. Below are the results: 

  • Finding #1: The implementation of the SHARP program at Fort Hood has been ineffective, due to a command climate that failed to instill SHARP program core values below the brigade level. 
  • Finding #2: There is strong evidence that incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Fort Hood are significantly underreported. 
  • Finding #3: The Army SHARP program is structurally flawed. 
  • Finding #4: The Fort Hood CID office had various inefficiencies that adversely impacted accomplishment of its mission.
  • Finding #5: The mechanics of the Army’s adjudication processes involving sexual assault and sexual harassment degrade confidence in the SHARP program.
  • Finding #6: Fort Hood public relations and incident management have deficiencies.
  • Finding #7: There were no established procedures for first line supervisors in ‘failure to report’ situations that define appropriate actions in the critical first 24 hours.
  • Finding #8: The criminal environment within surrounding cities and counties is commensurate with or lower than similar sized areas: However, there are unaddressed crime problems on Fort Hood, because the installation is in a fully reactive posture.
  • Finding #9: The command climate at Fort Hood has been permissive of sexual harassment/sexual assault.

“The tragic death of Vanessa Guillén and a rash of other challenges at Fort Hood forced us to take a critical look at our systems, our policies, and ourselves,” McCarthy said in a press conference. “But without leadership, systems don’t matter.”




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