January’s AUSA Corner

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The Association of the U.S. Army Notes

1. Fort Hood Critical Plan

Army leaders are taking action after an independent review at Fort Hood, Texas, found several command climate and culture issues and deficiencies in the installation’s sexual assault and harassment prevention program. The review results from the April murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, who was stationed at the Texas post. “The challenges at Fort Hood forced us to take a critical look at our systems, our policies and ourselves,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said. He added that the review extends beyond one installation. “This report, without a doubt, will cause the Army to change our culture.”

The Army is standing up a task force to address the recommendations in the report, McCarthy said. The goal is to begin implementing changes by March. In addition, 14 commanders and other leaders at Fort Hood have been relieved or suspended as the Army works to rebuild soldiers’ trust. “We will fix this,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said.

2. 3rd Cav Cancels NTC Rotation

In the wake of the results from Fort Hood’s review, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment has canceled this month’s rotation to the National Training Center and Fort Irwin. New command staff, Col. Kevin D. Bradley and Command Sgt. Maj. Shade Munday made the announcement saying, “We as a team need the time and focus to address these very real problems and rebuild trust. This unprecedented decision by Army leaders is a statement that people really do come first.”

3. Army Captures CIF Trophy

The coronavirus hasn’t stopped the annual football rivalry between the services. Army beat Navy on Dec. 12 by a 15-0 score in a historic game at West Point’s Michie Stadium. This was the first time since 1943 that the Army-Navy game was played at the U.S. Military Academy.

And one week after defeating the Navy Midshipmen, the Army Black Knights beat the Air Force Falcons by a 10-7 score. The win means Army captured the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the ninth time in the trophy’s 49-year history.

4. Austin’s Historic Nomination

President-elect Joe Biden has announced a history-making nomination, selecting retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to be his defense secretary. Austin would be the first Black American to head the Pentagon but not the first retired general to hold the office. General of the Army George Marshall and Marine Gen. Jim Mattis both served as defense secretary after retiring from the military. The 67-year-old Austin retired from the Army in 2016 after serving as the 33rd Army vice chief of staff and the 12th U.S. Central Command commanding general.

5. Policy Bill Advances

After a yearlong debate, the House and Senate have passed the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, a $733.7 billion policymaking measure that sets troop levels, approves new starts or major changes in various programs, and includes hundreds of provisions reflecting congressional direction. This is the 60th consecutive year Congress has approved the bill. President Trump vetoed the bill, but both the Senate and House voted to override the veto by more than the two-thirds majority necessary.

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