Army secretary announces multiple firings, suspensions after investigation at Fort Hood


Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Tuesday announced the firing and suspension of numerous officers and enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood in a sweeping disciplinary action to address widespread sexual harassment and violence, suicides and murder at the troubled Texas base.

McCarthy said 14 leaders at Fort Hood have been relieved or suspended from their position, a move that comes after an independent review of the base’s command was ordered to review years of sexual assault and violence.

“I have determined the issues at Fort Hood are directly related to leadership failures. I am ... disappointed that leaders failed to effectively create a climate that treated all soldiers with dignity and respect and have failed to reinforce every ones’ obligation to prevent and properly respond to allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” McCarthy told reporters at the Pentagon.

The removals are a direct result of the independent review, released on Tuesday, which scrutinized the base’s command climate and culture. McCarthy ordered the look after the discovery of the remains of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, who went missing in April before her body was discovered in early July. 

The Army earlier this year removed Fort Hood’s commander, Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt — who was leading the base when Guillen went missing — dropping him down to deputy and barring him from a planned position at another Texas base. But Efflandt has now been relieved altogether, in addition to Col. Ralph Overland and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp, 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, the 1st Cavalry Division commanding general and command sergeant major, pending the outcome of a new Army investigation of the division’s command climate and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program. 

The base commander, Lt. Gen. Pat White, was deployed to Iraq for much of the year and will not face any administrative action, McCarthy said. 

The service will not release the names of the battalion level and below commanders and leaders who received administrative action, "as matter of policy and to protect individual privacy."

The Army is also opening a separate investigation into the 6th Military Police Group's Criminal Investigation Command, which conducts criminal investigations of serious, sensitive, or special interest matters.

“Accountability and transparency are foundational as we move forward,” McCarthy said. “We have a great deal of work ahead of us. This is an initial step to addressing and facing these issues.”

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