Partner Jack White Testifies Before House Subcommittee on Fort Hood Report

The Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (FHIRC) appeared before the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel on Wednesday, Dec. 9, to testify on the committee’s final report of the cultural climate at Texas base Fort Hood. 

Jack White, a member of the FHIRC and partner at FH+H law firm, discussed the report’s findings and recommendations with House representatives, along with the other four civilian members of the committee.

“The committee determined that during the time period covered by the review, the command climate relative to sexual harassment [and] assault response and prevention at Fort Hood was ineffective, to the extent that there was a permissive environment for sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Chris Swecker, chair of the FHIRC, said during his opening statement. 

Throughout the over-two-hour hearing, House representatives from both parties examined the methodologies, findings, and recommendations used in the review and explored potential legislative changes to improve policies and foster a healthier culture for members of the military. 

The review process, which began in July, came in the wake of the disappearance and death of SPC Vanessa Guillen and her family’s allegations of sexual misconduct at the base.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas, who represents the Guillen family’s district, criticized that protocols are often oversimplified into checklists and asked for recommendations on the proper means of communication with families in the event of a missing soldier. 

“There needs to be a greater human touch,” Mr. White said. “The lack of human touch impeded the ability to communicate exactly what the Army was doing and the level of concern that actually existed.” 

Mr. White said it is important to note the word “culture” resonates throughout the report. He later gave an example of the cultural dissonance that occurred during Fort Hood’s handling of SPC Guillen’s case.

“There were specific events that transpired where the Army thought that it was doing something charitable,” Mr. White said, recalling his interaction with the Gullien family. “Mrs. Gullien said to me, ‘I didn’t want charity, I wanted my daughter.’”  

The hearing came a day after the Army released the FHIRC’s redacted report to the public and disciplined 14 officers and enlisted soldiers in promising a broader change within the organization. 

To contact Mr. White, please email FH+H Marketing Manager vmoses [at] (Victoria Moses). Watch the full hearing here

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