“The military is committed to caring for our soldiers, civilians, families and lifelong soldiers. This independent review will examine the current command climate and culture at Fort Goody,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in a statement.
The announcement came the same day as Gillen’s mother, Gloria, and other relatives wept for President Donald Trump for justice during an Oval Office meeting.
The independent review aims to determine whether this climate and culture reflects “the values of the military, including security, respect, inclusiveness and commitment to diversity, as well as jobs and communities free of sexual harassment.”;
The commission, with the assistance of the brigadier general and staff, will study “historical data and conduct interviews with servicemen, civilians and members of the local community.”
Board members include Chris Sucker, Charlotte, North Carolina, a lawyer and former FBI assistant director; Jonathan Harmon, a lawyer who represented Fortune 500 nationwide; Carrie Ricci, Assistant Secretary General of the United States Department of Agriculture; Quetta Rodriguez, Bexar County, Texas, a resident and regional director of FourBlock, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans move into civilian careers; and Jack White, an attorney with experience in government investigations and claims of discrimination.
“I am committed to providing a complete and thorough overview of the team climate in Fort Goody and to follow the facts wherever they lead,” said Swecker, who will lead the group.
A small arms repairman was fatally hammered in the armory where she worked, and her killer’s body was transported from the facility, Havam said, citing details the family learned from military investigators.
Spc. Aaron Robinson, a 20-year-old soldier suspected of Gillen’s disappearance, killed himself after police clashed with him in Killin, Texas, earlier this month.
Tearful Gloria Gillen has asked the president to help the family investigate her daughter’s death and support a bill that would change the way sexual harassment and assault are reported in the military.
“The FBI and Home Office are now involved,” Trump told Gillen’s parents and two sisters in the Oval Office.
“We got them involved. And the people at Fort Goody, where it took place, are very involved. We didn’t want it to be swept under the rug, what could happen.”
Numerous inspections or investigations are currently underway into Fort Hood.
The Army Criminal Investigation Command and civilian law enforcement are investigating the death.
Fort Hood is investigating whether Gillen was sexually abused. Gillen’s family and their lawyer said she was sexually harassed in office.
And the Army Inspector General’s investigator is assessing whether the climate, which is supported by Fort Hood’s commanders, is favorable, to report cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
The conclusions and recommendations of the civilian board will be passed to Deputy Secretary of the Army James McPherson and General Joseph M. Martin, Deputy Chief of Staff, who will lead the team to implement change, the army said.
“I want justice for Vanessa and all the other vendors who died there,” Gloria Gillen told the president on Thursday.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of this big and maybe all of that,” Trump told the family.
Officials said 23 of the 36,500 soldiers killed in the post this year, about 60 miles from Austin, Texas.
According to Fort Hood officials, the deaths include seven accidents that did not work; seven suicides; one death related to combat; four murders, one of which was at the base; two natural causes; the one that was not determined before the autopsy; and one drowning.
CNN’s Dakin Andone and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.