Army Secretary to fire, suspend large number of officers and soldiers at Ft. Hood… Unprecedented action to address pattern of sex assault, harassment, suicides, murder… Developing

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Tuesday announced 14 firings and suspensions among commanders and lower-level leaders as a result of an investigation into a pattern of sexual assault, harassment, suicides and murder at the Fort Hood Army post in Killeen, Texas.

The investigation followed the death of Specialist Vanessa Guillén, who was bludgeoned to death at Fort Hood earlier this year. In addition to the disciplinary actions, McCarthy released findings from an independent review he commissioned in July to assess problems at Fort Hood, with a focus on claims of discrimination, harassment and assault. McCarthy named five civilians to be part of the review of the command climate and culture at the base and in the surrounding military community around Fort Hood.

“I have determined the issues at Fort Hood are directly related to leadership failures,” McCarthy said in announcing the firings at a Pentagon press conference.

The Army said Tuesday that those relieved of duty include Major General Scott L. Efflandt, Colonel Ralph Overland and Command Sergeant Major Bradley Knapp. The Army suspended Major General Jeffrey Broadwater and Command Sergeant  Major Thomas C. Kenny, pending the outcome of a new investigation into the 1st Cavalry Division’s command climate and program for preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault.

McCarthy said Guillén’s murder “shocked our conscience and brought attention to deeper problems” at Fort Hood and across the Army more widely. He said it “forced us to take a critical look at our systems, our policies, and ourselves.”

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