US Army announces 5 civilian experts to lead independent review of Fort Hood amid soldier deaths

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FORT HOOD, Texas – The Secretary of the Army announced Thursday the five civilian experts will lead an independent review of Fort Hood.

The purpose of the review is to determine whether the climate and culture at Fort Hood and surrounding military community “reflect the Army’s values, including safety, respect, inclusiveness, and a commitment to diversity, and workplaces and communities free from sexual harassment,” a release said.

The panel members that will lead the review are Chris Swecker, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Jonathan Harmon, chairman of McGuireWoods LLP, Carrie Ricci, an assistant general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Queta Rodriguez, a regional director for veteran career readiness organization FourBlock, and Jack White, a partner at Fluet Huber + Hoang, has broad expertise in government investigations.

The panel is expected to review historical data and conduct interviews with military members, civilians and members of the local community.

“Thank you to the members of the panel who have agreed to take time from their lives to support our independent review,” Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said. “The Army is committed to taking care of our soldiers, civilians, families, and soldiers for life, and this independent review will explore the current command climate and culture at Fort Hood.”

“It’s an honor for me to support our men and women, our sons and daughters in uniform, to ensure they live and work in environments where they feel safe and respected,” Swecker, the panel lead, said. “As a representative of the panel, I commit to providing a complete and thorough review of the command climate at Fort Hood and to follow the facts wherever they lead.”

According to a news release, the results, including the findings and recommendations of the review, will be submitted to James E. McPherson, Under Secretary of the Army, and Gen. Joseph M. Martin, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, who will co-chair an implementation team to consider every recommendation and implement changes, as appropriate.

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