KILLEEN, Texas - On Thursday, Fort Hood hosted Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy who held a press conference to discuss the Army's efforts to address the recent events at Fort Hood.
Officials said McCarthy is visiting Ft. Hood in order to engage with local civilian and military leadership and to conduct sensing sessions with enlisted soldiers and junior officers.
"We have to address the challenges and barriers that soldiers endure. The murder of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen has become a catalyst highlighting sexual harassment and sexual assault within the military," Mccarthy stated during Thursday's press conference.
McCarthy also stated that the Army takes sexual assault allegations seriously, saying that "there is clearly more that must be done" before he revealed that he has directed an independent review of the command climate at Fort Hood.
"Ultimately the results, findings, and recommendations will fuel an implementation team chaired by the Under Secretary of the Army and the Vice Cheif os staff of the Army," McCarthy said.
The findings of the internal review will also be shared with the press and with Congress.
While fielding questions from the press, McCarthy also shared that Fort Hood has some of the highest numbers of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and murders for the entire formation within the army.
"We are sending down an independent group of investigators to understand the root causes associated with the rise of felonies, violent acts; to better understand why this is happening at this installation [Fort Hood]," McCarthy stated.
McCarthy also addressed the recent outcry to close Fort Hood, saying that he understands the "anger and frustrations" surrounding Guillen's death. However, he says that the "amazing contributions" being made at the installment must continue.
Army investigations were originally launched after Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen's murder. Guillen was killed by a fellow soldier while on base.
Guillen was last seen on the morning of April 22 in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood and had not been heard from since. Her remains were found in two separate locations on June 30 and July 1.
McCarthy stated during the press conference that the internal investigation is still determining whether Guillen reported any sexual harassment claims before her murder in April.