“The Army has already implemented 63 of the 70 Fort Hood recommendations and four of the six priority IRC recommendations assigned to the Army, including ensuring that survivors can get the help they need,” Camarillo said.
The U.S. Army has established its own Office of the Special Trial Counsel, which reports directly to the secretary of the Army, Camarillo said. The Office of the Special Prosecution Counsel was a reform created in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 that removes commanders from “decisions related to the prosecution of covered crimes,” including rape and sexual assault.
The U.S. Army has certified and operates 29 special trial attorneys, Camarillo told lawmakers.
“We are implementing fundamental changes in our response system that directly respond to the loss of trust of survivors of these crimes. The Army has established its Office of the Special Trial Counsel, which will prosecute sexual assault and other violent offenses directly under the Secretary of the Army,” he added. says Camarillo.
The Fort Hood investigation and resulting report were ordered after the 2020 deaths of Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old soldier, and several others at the base. The report found that the Army investigators tasked with looking into the complex crimes at Fort Hood were vastly understaffed. inexperienced, overworked and understaffed, resulting in failures to protect service members and their families.
Camarillo called Fort Hood “an Army frontier.”
“Our efforts to respond to these crimes and enforce related policies have shifted from a narrow focus on prevention, building positive governance environments, and detecting and acting on warning signs before harmful actions occur.”
When Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin took control of the department in January 2021, the IRC issued about 80 recommendations to the department to make recommendations. The Pentagon set out a plan to take them all in September 2021.
Although the U.S. Army has adopted most of the Fort Hood report’s recommendations and some of the IRC’s key recommendations, sexual assault reports in the Army have increased by 25.6% from fiscal year 2020 to 2021, according to sexual assault data. He was released by the military at the beginning of the month.
“The Army has made a serious commitment to change, but we’re not done yet,” Camarillo added.