Several enlisted soldiers and officers at an Army base in central Texas will be fired or suspended in a mass disciplinary action after several instances of murder, sexual assault, and suicide, officials said Tuesday.
Some 14 Army commanders have been relieved or suspended from their positions, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said at a press conference from Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. A 103-day long investigation into the culture of the base by an independent committee of five experts found significant flaws on the base leading to nine serious findings and 70 recommendations.
“Without leadership, systems don’t matter,” McCarthy said. “This report, without a doubt, will cause the Army to change our culture.”
“The issues at Fort Hood are directly related to leadership failures,” McCarthy added.
The report found the Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) program was ineffective due to failure to culturally integrate the program through enlisted ranks, committee officials said. Over 30,000 soldiers were surveyed and hundreds of individual interviews were conducted.
The committee discovered 93 credible accounts of sexual assault among 503 active duty females who were individually interviewed, of those instances only 59 were reported, a committee official said. Over 200 instances of sexual harassment were not reported due to the lack of confidence in the system.
“Many of them needed to be believed,” a committee official said. “We believed you.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Guillen Family Attorney Speaks Out About Vanessa’s Death)
“What makes us the greatest army in the world is that we recognize where we must change,” U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville said.
Army senior officials will be briefed tomorrow, according to McConville. Implementation of the recommendations will begin by March 2021, McCarthy said.
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