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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs