What Army leadership should do besides reading the Fort Hood report

what-army-leadership-should-do-besides-reading-the-fort-hood-report

After the release of the independent report on the command climate at Fort Hood, Texas, service members, veterans and civilians with stake in the matter took to social media to discuss not only the findings but possible solutions to the issues of sexual abuse found in the investigation.

The report, which was released on Dec. 8, revealed longstanding issues with the criminal investigation detachment that became increasingly clear during the search for Spc. Vanessa Guillen. Eventually found to have been killed inside an armory after she went missing, Guillen’s disappearance led to the revelation that she had experienced sexual harassment, which her family brought forth before her body was discovered.

The report led to the dismissal or suspension of 14 leaders at Fort Hood, from the deputy commander through the squad level, and brought up questions about not only CID’s shortcomings, but the effectiveness of the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, known as SHARP.

Though social media users who identified as soldiers took to Twitter to confirm they had read the report, one user, @LethalityJane, challenged Army leadership to come forward and share what they might do to impact real change.

I would like to know what, as a male leader in the Army, you are actually doing to make your unit safer for women besides tweeting “read the report”.

— Lethality Jane (@LethalityJane) December 10, 2020

Her request elicited numerous responses with answers, as well as some damning critiques of past attempts the branch has made to tamp down on sexual misconduct among its ranks.

Military Times reached out for comment from @LethalityJane, but has not received a response at the time of this writing.

Some of the replies to her tweet highlighted the need to more specifically define the terms of abuse more clearly, while others added that the culture cannot be changed if abusers are continuously allowed to serve among the Army’s units.

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We have to normalize calling out misogynistic behaviors. Same with racist behaviors. We have to normalize removing from our formations those who don’t adhere to our values. We have to make it so those who are called out are the ones who are shamed, not the ones who call it out.

— RTK the SCO Emeritus (@CavRTK) December 10, 2020

One user pointed out that perhaps the solution was less talking and more listening.

Honestly most male leaders need to stop talking and simply listen to the women in our formations. Otherwise the solutions will probably include a leg-tuck challenge or high score on the ACFT competition.

— CAE Dave (@gamecockdave62) December 10, 2020

Another took it a step further, suggesting that placing equitable numbers of women in leadership roles helps.

Retired Army here, but in my last (O-5 level) command (I’m Infantry/Public Affairs, this was PA), I placed women in most leadership positions. Female XO, NCOIC, S3, Chief of MedRel, Chief of Production. Had the time of my life with awesome leaders who made the work easy.

— Arnold V. Strong (@arnoldvstrong) December 10, 2020

Others suggested that although the report was shocking, it won’t have nearly the impact needed to generate real change.

If “leaders” weren’t doing anything before then they’re not doing anything now…not until they see some heads roll. Sucks.

— J.R. (@JRMFFL531) December 10, 2020

About

Sarah Sicard is the Digital Editor of Military Times. She previously served as Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, Defense News, Fast Company, Business Insider and AdWeek.

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