WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Fort Hood military base in Texas has been under investigation since July to address a pattern of sexual assault, harassment, suicides and murder. On Tuesday, the findings of that report were released.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy says he’s fired or suspended 14 Fort Hood commanders and leaders after the 90-day independent investigation into the base’s command culture.
“This report, without a doubt, will cause the Army to change our culture,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy says a panel of five civilians, including Carrie Ricci, interviewed 647 soldiers, the majority of which were female, who revealed a command climate permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
“There is that overall sense that they was reluctance to report, because who is going to believe us?” said Ricci.
The investigation was launched after attention to the disappearance and murder of specialist Vanessa Guillén exposed a pattern of violence at the Texas base.
“We are holding leaders accountable, and we will fix this,” said Army Chief of Staff General James McConville.
As a result of the investigation, McConville says the Army has a new policy on missing soldiers and launched the “People First Task Force.” The group will be responsible for outlining plans to address the report’s findings, and then reevaluate the Army’s current policies and programs.
“The Army will begin implementation by March 2021,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says the report not only shows what is wrong at Fort Hood, but in the Army as a whole. He says the entire branch will be responsible with the changes they implement moving forward.
“We have a great deal of work ahead of us. This is an initial step to addressing and fixing these issues,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says he plans to brief senior Army leaders on the report Wednesday.