Secretary of the Army, Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy, shown here in October 2019, released the names of the panelists who will conduct an independent review of the command culture at Fort Hood. Photo by Dana Clarke/U.S. Army
July 30 (UPI) -- Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy on Thursday released the names of five civilian experts who will lead an independent review of Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.
Panel members will lead a review to "determine whether the command climate and culture at Fort Hood, and the surrounding military community, reflects the Army's values, including safety, respect, inclusiveness, and a commitment to diversity, and workplaces and communities free from sexual harassment," the Army said.
On July 10, the Army announced it would conduct an independent review of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood, which came under scrutiny after the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
Guillen went missing in April and her remains were found earlier this month.
When the Army announced the review it acknowledged Guillen may have been sexually harassed. She had not filed a formal complaint but had told family and friends about the harassment.
The man suspected of killing her, Spc. Aaron David Robinson, died by suicide at Fort Hood in early July after being confronted by police.
Last week Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, was found unresponsive on Friday near Stillhouse Lake, about 15 miles southeast of Fort Hood, and in mid-June the remains of Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, who went missing in August 2019, were found on the base.
The panelists announced Thursday are Chris Swecker, Jonathan Harmon, Carrie Ricci, Queta Rodriguez and Jack White.
Except for Rodriguez, who runs FourBlock, a national nonprofit that helps veterans transition into civilian careers and is a director of veterans services for Bexar County, all the panelists are attorneys.
Swecker, the panel lead, is a North Carolina-based attorney who has conducted reviews of several North Carolina law enforcement agencies as well as Vogel Nuclear Power Plant.
"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 said in a statement.
"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," Swecker said.
According to the Army, the panel -- with assistance from a brigadier general and staff -- will "review historical data and conduct interviews with military members, civilians and members of the local community."
The results 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. McPherson and Martin will co-chair an implementation team to consider every recommendation and implement changes "as appropriate."