tv Pentagon Holds Briefing on Fort Hood Independent Review Committee Findings CSPAN December 9, 2020 12:08pm-1:02pm EST
investigation. watch live beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3, on line at cspan.org or on the c sp-spa radio app. joe biden will announce his defense secretary today. he will tap lloyd austin for the position. you can watch this on line on csp cspan.org. we preview what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight a panel of historians analyze the secret white house tapes of john f. kennedy, lyndon b. johnson and richard nixon. the tapes show how they conducted their day-to-day base
a -- business and we hear their candid assessments. enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. we'll be live at 1:00 p.m. eastern with a house armed services committee hearing with the situation at ft. hood. next, army secretary ryan mccarthy talks about the findings of the ft. hood independent review committee which focused on issues of sexual assault and violent crimes at the military installation. secretary mccarthy announces they were firing or suspending 14 ft. hood officers and enlisted soldiers. this is just over an hour. the independent review of ft. hood's command climate, so this will be a longer statement. the murder of specialist vanessa nguyen shocked our conscience and brought attention to deeper
problems. the initial investigation into vanessa's death, coupled with high numbers of crimes and deaths at ft. hood, has revealed a series of missteps and multiple failures in our system and within our leadership. for that reason, on july 30th, i directed the undersecretary of the army, mr. james mcpherson, so establish an independent review committee to review the culture at ft. hood. secretary mcpherson, with the help of the league of united latin american citizens and some members of congress, selected a diverse and highly experienced panel to determine whether the command climate and culture at ft. hood and the surrounding military community reflected the army's values, including safety, respect, inclusiveness, and a commitment to diversity and workplaces and communities free from sexual harrassment and
sexual assault. the panel included jennifer harmon, katie garesi and janet smart. the panel interviewed 620 soldiers and met with civic and elected leaders, local law enforcement leaders and the local district attorneys. on november 9, the panel briefed the army senior leaders and provided nine findings and 70 recommendations. the findings of the committee identified major flaws with sexual harrassment and assault prevention program from implementation, reporting and adjudication. fundamental issues with ft. hood criminal investigation command field office activities that led to unaddressed problems on ft.
hood. and finally, a command climate at ft. hood that was permissive of sexual harrassment and sexual assault. further, the committee made 70 recommendations to improve the following areas: overall sharp program structure, ft. hood criminal investigation field office command activities, army missing soldier protocols, ft. hood crime prevention and response activities, armywide command climate issues, and ft. hood public affairs activities. the tragic death of vanessa nguyen and a rash of other crimes at ft. hood forced us to take a look at our system, our policies and ourselves. without leadership, systems don't matter. this is not about metrics but about possessing the ability to have the human decency to show
compassion for our teammates and to look out for the best interests of our soldiers. this report without a doubt will cause the army to change our culture. i have decided to accept all these findings in whole. in response, we have created the people first task force to map out a plan to tackle them. we have formed a mechanism to ensure we have the right systems and resources while focusing on commitment over compliance. while the independent review focused on the command climate and culture at ft. hood, the findings contain the committee's report impact the entire army of 140 soldiers, 200,000 civilians and their families. the people's first task force
will analyze the findings and 70 recommendations in the report, develop a plan to address the issues identified by the committee and re-evaluate current policy and programs. the army will begin implementation by march 2021. the task force chairs are miss diane randen, assistant staff g2, lieutenant gary britto, and sergeant amy gerra, g2. i have assigned an assistant policy. the policy will assist in tracking and finding soldiers. it clarifies review of commanders, focusing on the first 48 hours a soldier is missing. it creates new processes for soldiers reporting to duty status and casualty status, for supporting missing soldiers' families and aids in identifying
whether the absence is voluntary before calling it absent without leave. and, finally, we need the right leadership. i have determined the issues at ft. hood are directly related to leadership failures. leaders drive culture and are responsible for everything the unit does or does not happen to do. i am gravely disappointed in leaders failed to effectively create a climate that treated all soldiers with dignity and respect, and the failure to reinforce everyone's obligation to prevent and properly respond to allegations of sexual harrassment and sexual assault. because of this, to restore trust in confidence and accountability, i directed the relief and/or suspension of commanders and other leaders from the corps to the squad level. i have directed the relief of the three corps deputy
commanding general for support, the third cavalry regiment command team, and suspended the first cavalry division command team pending the results of a new investigation into the command climate of the division. in total, 14 leaders have been relieved or suspended from their positions. in addition, we are directing an investigation regarding criminal investigation command resourcing policies and procedures. accountability and transparency are foundational as we move forward. we have a great deal of work ahead of us. this is an initial step to addressing and fixing these issues. even though we are part of one of the most respected institutions in the world, li g living up to the american people's trust is something we have to do every day. i believe in this institution and its officers, non-commissioned officers,
soldiers, civilians and their families with every fiber of my being because of the extraordinary things they do on a daily basis. i'm confident in our leader's ability to overcome this challenge and to continue to win our nation's wars while caring for our people. general? >> good afternoon. we appreciate the work of the ft. hood independent review committee and the feedback that this report has given us. we own the results, and you know, we've asked a lot of the army and of ft. hood over the last 19 years during continuous deployments to combat. and we know in the army that we are not perfect. but what makes us the greatest army in the world is that we recognize where we must change.
we acknowledge our issues and we fix them. prior to coming here, i talked to mrs. nguyen, vanessa's mother. and i told her that we're going to fix these issues and change the culture that allowed them to happen. i told her we must and will provide a safe and secure environment for america's sons and daughters that serve in the army. as the secretary said, we are holding leaders accountable and we will fix this. tomorrow we are briefing the army senior leaders on this report, and we will ensure it is understood and our plan to move forward will be implemented throughout the army. we have been trusted to lead our world's greatest soldiers. it is our sacred duty to protect our soldiers so we can defend our nation. that is what we do.
thank you. >> we have our first question. >> first question is can you address just more broadly why general white is not included among those touched by the administrative actions? why not? and how widespread do you believe these problems are beyond ft. hood? because you seem to just accept that 19 years of war took a toll on this and may be one of the causational factors. is that what you are saying? >> with respect to general white, he was deployed for 13 months, and in our standard process, i would like general mcconville to comment as well.
but in our standard practice, we develop a senior commander to take on the role of garrison activities. it was a standard of practice i think we had used for over a decade in the formation. with respect to the comments that we both made, we are concerned there could be other systemic challenges across the formation, and that's why, to the chief's point, we're going to utilize this report as a means to look at systems and programs and also leadership approaches to how we address these difficult issues. chief, anything you want to add? >> just on general white, i think it's really important. he did a fabulous job in iraq over the last 13 days, and leadership is about presence. and when you're in iraq for 13 months, that's why we appoint a general officer to be the senior commander. and as far as other issues,
we're about excellence. i say we're not perfect, but we strive for excellence. we need to take a hard look at ourselves. that's why we're the best army in the world, and that's what we're going to do. we're going to take these results and make sure every single leader sees these results. some will say we reflect society. i don't want to reflect society in these types of issues. i want to make sure we have an environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and everyone takes care of each other. we expect our leaders to do that, and that's what we're going to do. >> we have time for one final question in the room. louie martinez? >> you talked about how this is going to change the army, but why did it take a review panel, and why did it take vanessa nguyen's disappearance and murder for you to look into these programs that obviously, now in retrospect, look like they failed massively? >> i think the level, the caliber of work that was provided in this independent
review panel brought a fresh look and helped us look at a lot of challenges that we have had that are potentially systemic. but some of them were also within the leadership. so i think the fresh eyes and having some other support has helped us in this process. chief, is there anything you want to add? >> if i could follow up, sir? >> yes, this is leadership with regards to this issue, but it sounds like the report says that sharp is structurally not working, and that is an armywide program, so why can't you say that the program itself needed complete restructuring, or why wasn't it updated regularly so that you could see that there were issues at hand? >> really, this body at work has identified things we had not seen previously. that's why we have accepted all of the findings in whole. i previously have seen independent panels that have looked at the mishandling of nuclear weapons at walter reed. a lot of great reporting, quite
frankly, as well as outside perspective to help us look at ourselves and see challenges that we didn't see. you'll have them come out here in a minute, but they helped us. and that's going to help us with the institution so we can get better across the board. >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you. the secretary does not have much time. yes, there is a press release that should be there now. the independent radio panel should be out there now. we're going to switch and take their questions.
good afternoon. thank you for joining us. i'm elizabeth chamberlain from army public affairs. today you'll hear from the members of the ft. hood independent review committee, chris swecker, jonathan harmon, carrie richie, katie rodriguez and jack white. this briefing will last 45 minutes, ending no later than 1:00. before i introduce the committee members, i have several announcements. if you rsvp'd for this briefing, you received an embargo release plus an embargo summary of the independent review committee. that embargo is now lifted.
very soon you'll receive an updated version of the press release with a second release outlining the accountability actions secretary mccarthy just announced. the army's new ft. hood independent review website, army.mills/fo army.mills/fortho army.mills/forthoodreview will be there shortly. we also have additional background materials. this briefing will begin with a brief statement by mark swecker, and later they will talk about their findings and recommendations. for the q&a assessment, please allow me to acknowledge you before asking a question. please provide your name and affiliation. limit yourself to one question and one follow-up. i'll call on reporters in the room and on the phone line. i'll provide a warning when we
have time for one more question, and now mr. swecker will read an opening statement on behalf of the committee. >> good afternoon and thank you for attending today. my name is chris swecker. i'm a chair of the ft. hood independent review committee. i'm a practicing attorney in charlotte, north carolina. i'll also of counsel with miller martin out of tennessee, and i'm retired from the fbi after 24 years, retiring as assistant director of the fbi. to my far left is jonathan harmon. he's chairman of mcguire woods law firm. he is a nationally recognized trial attorney who previously served as an army officer at ft. hood in the first cavalry division after graduating from west point. to my immediate left in the front is carrie richie. she is a retired army jag officer who spent four years at
ft. hood. she is now a senior executive serving as general counsel for the u.s. department of agriculture. just behind miss richie is kete rodriguez. she is a retired officer who served 20 years on duty. she recently served on 4block which is a veteran serving nonprofit organization. to my right is jack white. he's a partner at fh&l law firm where he serves with civil rights claims. he graduated at west point and served as an army officer in the active army and u.s. army reserve. after that introduction, i'm going to read a very brief statement and turn it back over to elizabeth. on july 30th, 2020, the ft. hood independent review committee was chartered by the secretary of the army to conduct a
comprehensive, independent review of the ft. hood command climate and culture and assess its impact on the health, safety and readiness of its soldiers and units, particularly as it related to preventing sexual assault, harassment, crime issues affecting soldiers and missing soldier protocols. we began our work immediately. the committee members who had never met each other prior to their appointment were tasked to organize themselves, devise a strategy for the review, gather relevant facts and complete a final report to the secretary within 90 days. all of the members have day jobs with significant responsibilities. we couldn't cast those aside, however, we accepted this appointment based on a shared belief that an independent body could indeed assess the serious issues at hand, and if necessary, provide a road map towards constructive change. each member of the committee accepted this appointment with the intention and a hope of
supporting the mission and well-being of our brave soldiers. the final report was delivered to the secretary of the army on november 6. we briefed the secretary of the army and the army command on november 18th of this year. before we go any further, let me emphasize that secretary mccarthy under secretary mcpherson and chief of staff mcconville provided us absolute independence to do our job. we were authorized access to every available source of information, and we were provided a full army staff, including a brigadier general, two colonels, several lieutenant colonels and a master sergeant, each of whom stood ready to support our mission. although the establishment of an independent committee of civilians to review is extremely rare and it suggests an extreme desire to identify the issues and address them.
the secretary and undersecretary also approved and facilitated the addition of five former fbi special agents and civilian administrative support to provide much-needed assistance to the team. we visited ft. hood for 19 days in august and september. we conducted 647 individual interviews. we did 80 group interviews which encompassed over 1800 soldiers, and we conducted over 140 specialized interviews of various stakeholders on and off the post. we analyzed thousands of pages of documents, commissioned 49 research projects, and conducted a survey tailored for this review which drew over 31,000 responses from the ft. hood community representing what we are told is 100% of the targeted audience. the review focused on the period 2018 to 2020, however, the last
five years was considered if it was deemed relevant to the review. after three months of diligent work, the committee issued nine findings and 70 constructive recommendations. the report leads off with finding number 1 which states that the command at ft. hood was ineffective in its implementation of the sexual harrassment, assault and responsiveness, the sharp program. this was outside the three headquarters and a failure to culturally integrate the program through the enlisted ranks where almost 90% of sexual assault victims were found. the committee noted that where the leadership had the highest priority of training and deployment capability, they executed these duties that was in a manner at the expense of the health and safety of all soldiers, but particularly for women at the brigade level and below. this dearth of command emphasis
on the sharp program helped the moral of recruitments. they also found soldier accountability was not enforced and there were no missing soldier protocols for first line supervisors. this resulted in ad hoc responses to soldiers who failed to report and may have put them in jeopardy. it suggested that the surrounding climate in cities and counties is commensurate with similar-sized areas in texas and around the united states. however, serious crime problems on ft. hood have gone unaddressed because the installation is in a fully reactive posture. leaders across the series of commands failed to use best practices in the areas of public safety to develop and execute crime suppression strategies. the committee found that the serious crime problems on the installation at ft. hood require
proactive crime action to mitigate. the committee also found that the ft. hood's cid detachment had various inefficiencies that actively impacted accomplishments of its mission. the committee wishes to thank the secretary of the army, the undersecretary of the army and the army chief of staff and the army staff thfor the strong support they provide to this committee. i just want to add that we were all immersed in all aspects of the review, but each of us had a focus area, so when you ask a question, we may have a person come up to the podium, so bear with us as we do the switch. thank you. >> thank you, mr. swecker. we now will take our first question will goes to lita on the phone. >> i asked a question earlier so i'll let someone else. >> hi, thanks for doing this.
so we just heard that 14 senior commanders or 14 commanders there at ft. hood were relieved or suspended, but how far back due to proble do the problems that you identified go? is it just the past 12 months, or does it extend years back here? how long has this been in development? >> i'm going to refer to the report. we looked back as early as 2014. there were issues that were called out. if you look at it in terms of risk management, it became a known risk very early in the process. we did not fix accountability on any specific general officer or any particular commander for that very reason, particularly in the last five years which is really the more relevant time period. it was not an act of commission. these are acts of omission, if you will. these were things that were not done, these were not things that
were done that were to the detriment of the soldiers, particularly the female soldiers. anybody else want to add to that? >> okay, next question. hailey britsky. >> thank you. in your conversations with soldiers and your interviews with them, can you tell us about some of the points you heard repeatedly, some of the complaints or concerns that they had with regard to this harassment program? >> yes, the interviews especially were pretty revealing. of the 647, 503 were female soldiers. what we found was there was a fear of retaliation, all forms of retaliation, astigmatism, ostracism, derailing a career, work assignments and that sort of thing. there was a fear, and an unfounded fear, that the
confidentiality of the reporting process would be compromised. there was a fear -- or there was a lack of any appreciation for the results or the response because it took so long to get an adjudication that people didn't ever see the adjudication, so they lost faith in that. and there are other -- many other things that came out of the interviews, as you will read in the report, but let me open it up to the other panel members. i will say that kete and carrie did the individual interviews, and they may have something to say about that, but they were very revealing. >> i just want to add that one of the things that the soldiers at ft. hood, many of them needed, was to be believed, and that was what we did. we listened, and so if any of them see this, i want them to know we believe you. and that's a really important
takeaway was to believe. that's all i wanted to add. >> as mr. swecker just stated, i spent the bulk of my time during the course of my time at ft. hood interviewing these individuals. as you mentioned, 503 of the 647 were women. we made a very concerted effort to interview every single woman within specific units, in particular the unit that vanessa nguyen belonged to. and what we did discover was -- which was one of the really shocking elements or parts of the interview period where the number of unreported sexual harrassment and sexual assault incidents. of the 503 women we interviewed, we discovered 93 credible accounts of sexual assault. of those only 59 were reported. we also found 135 -- i'm sorry,
217 unreported accounts of sexual harrassment. that's a really significant number. of those just over half were reported. so what we discovered during the course of those interviews is that due to the lack of confidence in the system, that lack of confidence absolutely effects t affects the reporting of those incidents. and if we're not able to capture those incidents then, it's almost impossible to address that. but as mr. swecker alluded to, there were other indicators that this was a problem and that's something the report really focused on, and the interview period of all those individuals really focused on just letting people speak to us. they knew that we were an independent panel. none of us are on active duty, which i think was very significant in their willingness to speak with us and just believe us, as ms. ricci just
said. >> thank you. next question, we'll go to the phone. jasmine caldwell, kcn 6, texas. >> panelists, committee members, if you could identify yourselves before you speak, that would help the people on the phone. good reminder, thank you. jasmine caldwell, did you have a question? >> hi, yes. of the -- you were just talking about the report of sexual assault and harassment. of the ones that were reported, were they properly handled? >> it was all over the place in terms of adjudications, so when you say "properly handled," the ones that were reported went through the process. if they were sexual assaults, they went through the criminal
division, if there was harassment there was an appointed investigation officer out of the brigade where the complaint took place. what we saw were -- and this may be an area where ms. ricci can address as well buzz she wecaus a former jag officer and she contributed to this part of it. we say justice delayed, justice denied. the process was so drawn out that most people never saw an actual result, so there was no deterrent, or at least no visible deterrent. delays were built into the process, and nobody was monitoring the life cycle of a sexual assault or sexual harrassment complaint, so nobody really knew how long it took, nobody had the ability to track how long it took or different parts of the process. let me ask ms. ricci to come up and address that as well, if you
will. >> sure. i don't have too much more to add. i will say at ft. hood they have really organized themselves well to prosecute sexual assault. they're not the easiest cases try and they have some expertise. but what we found, as chris mention mentioned, is that there are delays in the process that become very troublesome for a victim. imagine that you're still waiting for justice more than a year later. so i can't really add too much more, it's all in the report, but we did find some areas where improvement could be found. >> i followed this issue a lot as far as sexual assaults in the military, and one of the things i've found when i interviewed different survivors and also former agents, one of the issues was they keep changing those who are investigating it. so you have one person who investigates, skpeez liand he's, snap, i have to deploy, let me
pass this to someone else. now they have to pick it up, they're new to it and don't know the case. often that's what's dragging it on and often evidence is being lost because of it. so do you recommend ways to fix that issue where you're not having multiple people investigating the same issue and just kind of passing it off from one person to the next? >> the report is very detailed about the criminal investigation divisions and recommendations, and on that i will have mr. swecker continue to talk on that topic because he did a very detailed review. >> we did, indeed, look at the whole process. there are different components that have a role, the jag officers have a role, cid has a role. what we found in cid, and this may not be just at ft. hood, they were using ft. hood as a training ground for cid agents. high turnover, fairly chronic understaffing throughout the time period that we looked at,
and inexperience. so of the 45 special agents assigned there, there were probably about 35, i think we determined, that were actually working cases. out of those 35, there might have been three or four that had more than two years of experience. so they were rotating through. they were coming out of fort leonard wood, going straight to ft. hood. uncredentialed apprentice agents, and within two years they were rotating out very quickly. to your point there was a lot of attrition of the case agents and the agents working these investigations. many of them were overassigned. some of the investigative tools that most law enforcement agencies have they didn't necessarily have at their fingertips, cell phone tracking, mirroring or extracting information from cell phones and devices which is very critical investigatie
investigate -- investigative techniques, there were delays in getting an opinion of probable cause, there were opinions in getting a victim counsel assigned to the victim. all of that combined and conspired to make it a very long, drawn-out process. anyone else? >> i'm christina from telemundo. i was wondering, how crucial was vanessa nguyen's family in this situation and who talked to her? >> i'm going to hand it over to jack white who did talk to the family and has some perspectives on that. >> so this whole committee was
precipitated by the unfortunate events with specialist nguyen. as we put together our methodology, talking with the family to engage in a two-way communication was important to us at the outset. at the outset we wanted to communicate to the family that their perspective was important and that something was being done about what they had experienced. but in looking at the culture, we wanted to hear from them about what their experience was when their daughter was missing, when the search was ongoing, what were the interactions with the command? all of that is a component of the culture. so ms. ricci and i sat down with the family, mrs. nguyen, mr. n
nguyen, their daughters, and we talked for hours to understand what their experience was. indeed, i spoke with mrs. nguyen as recently as this morning to inform her of what was happening today and to assure her that the conversation that she had with us was meaningful. we learned a lot about their experience, and whatever we learned is reflected in the report and will not be lost. >> were they happy with the recommendations that are coming through? did they feel it made an impact? that's what they were fighting for this whole time. >> i do not want to speak for them. i walked away from my conversation with mrs. nguyen this morning believing that she is pleased that there is progress being made.
i do not believe that she has had the benefit, that the family has had the benefit of reviewing the report and our findings and recommendations yet. >> okay. next question, we'll go to the phone. matt cox, military.com, do you have a question? >> yeah, hi. thank you for doing this. i do have a question about your findings on the ft. hood criminal investigation attachment. one of the big things was that the nguyen family said that vanessa nguyen, since she was the victim of sexual harrassment and possibly assault, and cid was very adamant that, well, we found no evidence of that. we found no credible evidence of anything like that. are you saying that that's a flawed finding and that -- was there any evidence, you know,
that you found or can you speak to that as far as what that says -- you know, what these findings about the cid attachment say to that, whether there was evidence that maybe had been overlooked? does that make sense? >> that is the subject of a separate army investigation which is going very deep into that area. i don't want to step on an investigation. i will say this. there is a misunderstanding on one part of that. cid did not find any evidence that specialist robinson sexually harassed vanessa nguyen and i'll leave it at that. we looked at the nguyen case as a case study in terms of the overall broader topic that we were looking at and the subjects we were looking at. but once the separate investigation was announced, we
are not the investigating body for the issues involving potential sexual harrassment or any other issues involving vanessa nguyen inside her unit. i'm not dodging this question, it's just an ongoing thing, and we don't want to taint that investigation in any way. >> courtney? >> i have two follow-ones. ma'am, you mentioned a bunch of numbers, about 503, and i wondered if you could clarify them. you said there were 217 unreported accounts of sexual harrassment, is that correct? but then you said about half of them had been reported? can you go through those numbers again, do you mind? >> yes. during the course of our interviews it was 647 individual interviews. that included both men and women. but 503 women were interviewed.
of those we discovered 93 credible accounts of sexual assault. again, those were just individuals, soldiers, who were telling us to them. of those, 59 -- when we asked the question, which was part of the interview, did you report this or was it reported? the answer was yes, 59 of those. that was the extent of those. for sexual harassment, we discovered 217 credible accounts of sexual harassment, and i'll give you the specific number that was reported. for those of you on the phone, this is ms. rodriguez speaking. these numbers, these specific nirms, a numbers are included in the report. i apologize, i don't know the number. it is in the report, those
specific numbers are called out in the report. >> can i just get you to talk about what you meant when you said people just wanted to be believed? were women not coming forward and not being believed and that's a lot of what you heard? >> it was two things. it was cases where there was either no resolution or an unsatisfactory resolution, which happens. and once it happens with one soldier, every soldier in the unit learns of what's happening, and for the other women in that unit, it became a sense that they didn't believe us, even if they served as a witness, we went believed. and then other women would say, because of what happened to this soldier, i wouldn't feel comfortable coming forward. so there was an overall sense that there is that reluctance to report, because who is going to believe us?
especially for a junior enlisted woman, and especially one who maybe isn't their star soldier at the moment. there's that reluctance and that feeling that we won't be believed. and there were soldiers who just didn't report, because they felt that. so just being able to talk one on one and to hear their very personal and sometimes very difficult stories, to be able to tell them -- it was a little bit cathartic for many of them because someone was listening and they felt that they were being heard. so it was important to me to say we heard you, and we believe you. >> let's go to the phone. carson frame, texas public radio, are you on the line and do you have a question? >> yes. thank you for taking my question. essentially it boils down to you have looked over the sharp program, and that criminal investigative response at ft. hood. how much would you say of these
issues are ft. hood specific versus enterprise wide and army problem? >> this is jack white. i'll start here. i'm sure that mr. swiker will follow me. i want to start with our charter. our charter was to look at ft. hood and that is what we did. but we're not oblivious to the fact that, you know, this is one army. and ft. hood is potentially emblematic of other things going on in the army. sharp is an army-wide program. so some of our observations, while we saw them at ft. hood, may very well be similar at other installations. a great number of our
recommendations are ft. hood specific, because that's where we were on the ground. and at ft. hood, our methodology permitted us to kick the tires on just about everything. at ft. hood. but some of our recommendations look beyond just ft. hood, because, as i said, the sharp program is an army wide program. some of our recommendations in other areas look beyond ft. hood, as well. chris? >> this is john harman. you know, i agree with what jack has described, and it became very apparent as we were going through the investigation, and then afterwards, that the army was going to take these and apply them broader. and you heard from the secretary and you heard from the chief,
and, you know, as jack indica indicated, our charter was just to ft. hood, but we have four of the five members on this panel that have served in the military, two of us at ft. hood. so we know what it's like. and so we were very pleased to hear from the secretary and the chief about using this army wide. so, again, our charter was focused solely on ft. hood, but as jack articulated, and, again, as the secretary and chief have said, they're going use this to make army wide changes, which we applaud. >> and just to add to that, those 49 research projects that we commissioned went deep and they made comparisons to other installations across the army. so we weren't -- as mentioned, we weren't oblivious to what was going on at other installations around the army. we made a lot of comparisons to how things were going at other
installations, and we also heard stories from soldiers who had served at other installations. so we did note, however, that in many cases, ft. hood was an outlier and things like awol, suicides are other issues in comparison to some of these other installations. so ft. hood was enough of an outlier that we felt like we really had to concentrate on what we had in front of us. >> sir? >> we're talking about the secretary saying he's going to take all of the accommodations. what is the role of this panel moving forward for accountability purposes to make sure the changes are implemented? >> so the people's first task force has been established. one of the colonels that we worked with very closely and supported us is the chief of staff for that task force. we'll be in touch with him and
he'll be in touch with us. and we will be, in some sense, not overseeing it directly, but watching the implementation of the 70 recommendations. we didn't expect, nor did we ever think that all 70 recommendations would be accepted. so that's a bit of a surprise. but i think it reflects a willingness on the part of the secretary, the undersecretary and the chief of staff to fix things. it was a risk to bring an independent review committee in. we recognize that. we could have gone anywhere and done anything. and we wanted to do this right, we wanted to do this fairly. and we're very -- we're very happy with the way the army has accepted these recommendations going forward. >> next question on the phone, alex horton, washington post. did you have a question? >> yes, i did. thank you. you guys have spent some time focusing on sexual harassment
and assault. were you looking at other kinds of violence at ft. hood to include, you know, other murders, other high profile incidents, including those who disappeared and later found dead. i was curious what you have found in terms of army culture of how, you know, the brand of awol and the brand of going missing contribute to a lack of interest in finding them? >> yes, i mean, that was a big focus of the review and the report. we looked at crime issues on the base, we looked at crime issues off the base. i think there was a perception really based on media stories that there was some sort of crime wave around the surrounding area of the base. what we found was that their crime rates in the areas surrounding the base were relatively low in comparison to other cities outside both major
army installations, but other comparable size cities. that's not to say there weren't soldier victims off the base and soldier subjects off the base, because there's a large population of active duty soldiers living off base, retired soldiers, separated soldiers and their families. so you're going to find victims off the base. but what we found, really, was that on the base, there was some high crime areas relatively high, sex crimes, drugs, felony assaults, positive drug tests were the highest in the army. so we found areas of crime on the installation that, if you compared them to civilian crime rates might be low. but this is a military installation. it's a gated community. there are a lot of tools that you can use to suppress crime. what we found was, there was no proactive efforts to suppress crime, to address the drug issues, to address violent
crimes. suicides were extremely high. what we found was, because cid was so inexperienced and taxed for resources, they really didn't dive deep on suicides to find out why. and what was happening that was the trigger for the suicide. the death cases. there aren't an anomalous number of death cases at ft. hood in terms of homicides. but the homicides that did occur got intense media attention. we looked very hard at those homicides. again, what we found was in the death cases, cid just needed more experience and more continuity inside the detachment there. and it may be systemic across cid that there isn't enough longevity at the post on the part of the investigators. so we made some recommendations regarding making sure there are experienced agents there, going to more civilian investigators,
something we asked them to look at. >> this is jack white. chris is speaking to some very valuable information on specific criminal -- the viewpoint from a criminal perspective. but something else that we did here is we looked at what is it that leads a soldier to behave in this type of manner? and in the process of looking at that, we looked -- one of the things that the report contains is looking at the other armed services, what they do well that might be able to be incorporated within what we do in the army, or what the army does. and one of the things that we found is that one of the