Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, and Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) today applauded the inclusion of language to provide adequate and stable funding for Military Criminal Investigative Organizations (MCIOs) in the FY22 Defense Appropriations report at their request.
The lawmakers led 16 of their congressional colleagues in calling for additional resources for MCIOs after a series of high-profile crimes against servicemembers – including the murders of Spc. Vanessa Guillén at Fort Hood, and Rep. Torres’ constituent, Spc. Enrique Roman Martinez, at Fort Bragg – emphasized inadequacies in MCIO investigations.
“Doing justice for victims of violent crimes is impossible without professional, first rate criminal investigations. Inexperienced, under-resourced criminal investigators directly contributed to unacceptable delays in finding out what happened to SPC Vanessa Guillén, putting her family and friends through months of hell. They are far from alone, with similarly devastating impacts suffered by other victims of military crimes and their loved ones. These failures have also threatened the integrity of some investigations. The Army’s Criminal Investigative Division needs major reforms, which we are pursuing in the National Defense Authorization Act, but all of the military criminal investigative organizations must be properly funded to attract, equip, and retain highly capable personnel so that every major crime and death by suicide is thoroughly, expeditiously, and professionally investigated,” Chair Speier said. “I’m proud to partner with Rep. Torres to secure this crucial appropriations report language to invest more resources into criminal investigations. It is critically important that Congress takes action so that no other family suffers the additional and undue pain and trauma born by the Guillén family.”
“At a time when MCIOs face unprecedented caseloads and increasingly complex investigations, the language Rep. Speier and I secured today will help ensure their staff have the tools, training, and experience needed to protect our servicemembers,” Rep. Torres said. “We owe it to Specialists Guillén, Roman Martinez, and countless others to prevent future servicemembers from facing similar threats – and we owe it to their families to deliver justice. I thank Rep. Speier for her partnership on this vitally important matter, and I look forward to working with her to ensure this language is passed out of Congress and signed into law.”
The lack of sufficient funding for MCIOs was identified in a review by the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (IRC), which found subpar criminal investigations that resulted from an under-resourced, understaffed, and underexperienced U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division at Fort Hood.
Notably, the IRC found systemic problems with CID that extended beyond Fort Hood and that would likely require significant investments to address.
Among the IRC’s findings were that:
- In 2018, 2019, and early 2020, about one-third of the criminal investigator positions at Fort Hood were vacant.
- When SPC Vanessa Guillén was murdered, more than 90% of the criminal investigators at Fort Hood had less than 2 years of experience, and many of them had difficulty providing the proper support for a search warrant.
- None of the CID employees at Fort Hood were capable of “pinging” a mobile phone to find its location, a common investigative technique.
- Fort Hood had only 3 senior civilian sexual assault investigators, despite a caseload that could justify 8 or 9—and that these critical positions are also understaffed at other large installations.
- CID investigations of servicemember suicides were not thorough.
- Fort Hood did not have the resources to maintain a CID liaison with the local police departments, a crucial resource for addressing crime trends that transcend the boundaries of the installation.
The report language is available here.