News / USA

Greater Vigilance Urged In Wake Of Fort Hood Attack

Multimedia

Audio

An internal Defense Department probe of last November's deadly shooting spree at Ford Hood, Texas, urges military commanders to do a better job of looking for potential threats within their own ranks.  Thirteen people died and more than 30 were wounded last November when U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan allegedly opened fire on a group of fellow soldiers. 

Major Hasan is currently awaiting trial in the military justice system and faces 13 specifications or counts of premeditated murder.

The Defense Department report released Friday outlines a number of shortcomings in how the Defense Department is able to identify and deal with external influences on members of the military that could lead to them becoming internal threats.

The report also noted that several officers failed to use what it called appropriate judgment and standards in monitoring Hasan during his military career, and it recommends their actions be investigated.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at the Pentagon that the new report raises serious questions about the department's ability to handle similar incidents in the future.

Gates said commanders have a particular responsibility to monitor the men and women serving under them and that they should be on the lookout for any behavioral signs that someone may become a threat. "I would ask all commanders and leaders at every level to make an effort to look beyond their day to day tasks and be attuned to personnel who may be at risk or pose a danger.  One of the core functions of leadership is assessing the performance and fitness of people honestly and openly.  Failure to do so or kicking the problem to the next unit or the next installation may lead to damaging, if not devastating, consequences," he said.

The report says there were discrepancies between Major Hasan's actual job performance and his personnel records, and Secretary Gates said it was important that commanders do a better job in the future of noting behavioral characteristics that could signify a problem.

The review did not consider whether the Fort Hood attack was an act of terrorism.  Nor did it cover allegations that Hasan was in contact with a radical Islamic cleric in Yemen.  Those issues are part of the criminal case now pending against Hasan in the military justice system.

However, Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did tell reporters that he has been increasingly concerned about soldiers falling prey to radical religious influences. "I think the issue of self-radicalization is one that we have really got to focus on because there is clearly more and more of that going on, and how much of it we have in the military is something that we ought to really understand," he said.

The investigation was led by former Army Secretary Togo West and retired Admiral Vernon Clark.

West said the report's findings suggest the Defense Department needs to adapt to the changing nature of threats in the 21st Century. "Yes, it is the role of our forces to protect the nation from external threats.  But our emerging concern is to protect the force against the internal threat.  We need to make sure we understand the forces that cause an individual to radicalize, to commit acts of violence and thereby to cause an internal vulnerability within our forces," he said.

The report found that the emergency response on base to the Fort Hood shootings was generally impressive, but that there was still room for improvement.

Togo West said the entire incident lasted about seven to eight minutes, from the first shot to the last, and he credited the quick response of military police in helping to prevent more bloodshed.

Secretary Gates expects a number of changes recommended by the report to be implemented in the next few months.
 

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More