Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, issued the following statement on the publication of the report containing the findings and recommendations of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee:
“The Secretary of the Army’s decision to fire commanders and enlisted leaders at all levels of Fort Hood leadership for their failures to establish a climate that effectively prevents and responds to sexual assault and sexual harassment is a welcome and important first step. The Fort Hood Independent Review Committee report is a stunning indictment of Fort Hood leadership and Army policies. The Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program is widely seen by soldiers as ineffective, that reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment is a career ender, that nothing will happen to the perpetrator, that confidentiality will not be maintained, and that retaliation will be swift and overwhelming. Commanders knew that this was a problem yet did nothing to fix it until the situation became public knowledge and the focus of press reports following the disappearance and murder of SPC Vanessa Guillén.
The problems at Fort Hood go well beyond sexual assault and sexual harassment. The local Criminal Investigative Division is undermanned and underexperienced and refuses to work with the local police departments. The base housing is decrepit and dangerous. Servicemembers and military families are afraid. Commanders were more focused on their careers than the wellbeing of their soldiers. Any parent reading this report would have to ask themselves, ‘Is my son or daughter safe in the military?’ The Army must implement the recommendations of the Independent Review Committee as soon as possible, and many of these should be implemented throughout the Army, not just at Fort Hood. And Congress must act too—this report provides even more proof that we must pass the I am Vanessa Guillén Act. I look forward to hearing directly from the committee members at the Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing I will chair tomorrow at 1pm.”
For more information on Chair Speier’s hearing, click here.
The hearing will be broadcast live by C-SPAN.
A copy of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee report is attached below.
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