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tv   Natl Guard Officials Testify on Prosecuting Sexual Misconduct  CSPAN  January 20, 2022 4:40pm-6:00pm EST

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wow is there for our customers, speed, reliability, value and choice. now more than ever, it all starts with great internet. >> wow supports c-span as a public service along with these other television cup providers giving a front row to democracy. prosecuting sexual misconduct, before house armed services subcommittee, they talk about the process for investigating claims and how to improve accountability. this is one hour and 15 minutes.
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>> good afternoon, everyone. the hearing will now come to order, i want to welcome everyone to this hybrid hearing on the jurisdiction of investigation and prosecution sexual harassment and sexual assault in the national guard. we will have one panel today with general daniel, chief of the national guard bureau general charles walker from complex investigation. both will discuss jurisdiction of the national guard bureau, army national guard at the air force national guard over guardsmen in dairy statuses sexual harassment assault or other criminal acts and address services and benefits available to national guard personnel are victims of these regis crimes. walker will discuss complex investigations to their role in filling a gap for the state
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adjutant general when local law enforcement authorities and/or federal agencies are unable or unwilling to investigate. i'm looking forward to hearing from them their response to the findings of the independent review committee and how the national guard bureau intends to implement the irs recommendations. the readiness and every aspect of service is poison each time a servicemember is sexually assaulted or sexually harassed in our military. the national guard is no differentt. guard personnel have fought i will rock in afghanistan, aided countless civilians to natural disasters and providing essential health care andal support to fight the current covid pandemic. yet, they suffer from a convoluted understaffed system of sexual assault and sexual harassment prevention program, complex and cumbersome reporting process and lack of justice.
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the numbers are staggering yet the data is lacking according to the dod 2019 annual report on sexual assault in thehe militar, the number of reported sexual assault in the guard jumped wide from 173 in 2009 to 607 in 2019. more than a three 100% increase. beyond that, little data exists. i've been advocating for progress for more than ten years, the numbers don't tell even a fraction of the story. the individual stories of guard personnel caught in a web of confusingca bureaucracy are harrowing. stories like the west virginia army national guard officer then lieutenant teresa james was raped in her hotel room by superior officer, consistently disbelief and retaliated against until the national guard bureau investigators finally found the
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perpetrator used intimidation and fear to sexually assault her, resulting in nonconsensual intercourse. to make matters worse and because she reported superior officers for rate, the victim was given uncharacteristically low evaluation and retained in the guard for a year instead of the standard two years. three years later, the rd inspector general found the west virginia guard retaliated against her for reporting that she was raped. her perpetrator faced no charges and was allowed to go on to endanger other guardsmen. james waited years, we believe the man was medically discharged from the service for ptsd, resulting from or sexual trauma. stories like this are all too common across the national guard, extensive reporting by journalists uncovered problems
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of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the national guard in many states including florida, minnesota, pennsylvania,e vermont and wisconsin. many involving botched investigations and failure to report sex crimes. we are here to pull back the curtain that's a lot this insidious rock that threatens our national security and countless lives to go unchecked. in the worst cases, made the threat even more dire. no longer can the national guard hide behind their unique status. the national guard, the spotlight of congress is on you. take care of your soldiers, take care of your airmen, see about sexual harassment and assault. retaliation, we are watching. the soldiers and airmen of the national guard, we've not forgotten you. my pledge to the survivors of military sexual violence to
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those who reported and were ostracized to those who face retaliation to all those afraid to report me suffering alone. we are on your team. the national guard is on notice. sexual assault and harassment will not b tolerated. we pay your bills. we find you. the game is over. making member gallagher, who are recognized for your remarks. >> thank you from chair. our like to say i look forward to working with you through this upcoming cycle last year was a whirlwind but i hope we continue to attack our military personal challenges in a bipartisan fashion and i want to think the witnesses for joining us, i agree sexual assault and harassment are on our armed forces, active reserve or guard so it'soi an important hearing about the national guard bureau's effort to coordinate with state and bring federal
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resources to bear on cases. the national guard is in an interesting position which makes this a complex issue, guard members are in federal service status in the military justice system. at any time given -- unless they are activated under title ten quarters, they are in their communities during civilian jobs and subject to the same laws as everyone else suffer the overwhelming majority of guard members, legal distinctions never cause any issue but criminal conduct or conduct unbecoming a member of the armed forces does happen often entirely outside of any federal jurisdiction and guard members live under 54 territorial flaws. congress charged national guard bureau and complex investigations assisting general in cases where local law enforcement can or won't address guard with a crime since 2012, oci filled the gap between state and local law enforcement criminal investigation high standards we apply to service
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members. these cases deal with complex legal issues oci has worked hard to find solutions over the last ten years. as always, is more we could do to improve accountability and integrity in armed forces and look forward to hearing from the witnesses what tools would actually improveut handling actl assault cases and how the guard bureau can better provide crime prevention resources states. thank you. [inaudible] >> forgive me, i'll start again. after general's remarks, each member will have the opportunity to question the witnesses for five minutes. we respectfully ask the witnesses to summarize their testimony five minutes pick up written comments and statements will be made part of the hearing record. let's begin and welcome our panel, generals daniel, chief of
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the national guard bureau brigadier general charles walker, the director of office of complex investigation. acute both for being here today and we look forward to hearing from you. please begin, general hawkinson. you may have to unmute yourself. can you hear us, general? give us a thumbs up if you can hear us. okay, we can't hear you. why don't we move on to brigadier generalea charles walr and maybe in the interim you can get your technology figured out,
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have someone on your staff help you. all right, brigadier general walker. >> making member gallagher english embers of the subcommittee, it is my pleasure to be here today and offer testimony with respect to what the office of investigations, it is a poison within our thanks and national guard at all levels committed to eradicating sexual violence against all service members. today help to testify about uniqueat particular aspects of national guard nervous which mas create gaps in our ability to handle criminal activity within our military service but also reinforce the fact that these matters are taken serious and the avenues available for military justice if i'll use that term of our military
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justice but the fact guardsmen and women serving in the nonfederal ice capacity are serving as an airman entitles the same protections as any other citizens in the community which is why local law enforcement and local prosecutors are handling criminal activity in the national guard. federal's opening statement covers activities and situations within the guard subject to this hearing and i hope will be on shortly to elaborate on those things. as director of the office of complex investigations is the appropriate time, i could go into detail about the office of complex investigation in the hopes that general hogan in the board will have the i opening statement to do exactly where the national guard is coming to you today on this issue but as
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already pointed out and ranking member gallagher's opening, the complex investigationrd and in 2012. if the direct outgrowth of the last timee congress was involved with the military and issues of sexual assault. in 2012, there were a number of cases and military members complained and rightly so about the handling of the investigations and lack of results of prosecutions related to the sexual assault cases. as a result, dod instruction dod guidance was promulgated which required commanders no longer use indigenous or organic resources to investigate sexual assault. all sexual assault allegation would be referred to military criminal investigative organizations such as office of special investigations on the active-duty air force or cid,
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criminal investigation for the army. mike active and reserve components under title ten, men and women do not have access to thativ tooth their service and nonfederal status such a fella cap, we created office of complex investigation which would help in instances where a law enforcement, which is our first line of defense against sexual violence allegations is either unwilling or unable to investigate thoroughly the allegations. those limited since this, office of complex investigation steps in and provides investigative tools for the 54 absent general. these investigations include only sexual assault allegations but we use the department of defense definition for sexual assault, brought an encompassing
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groping all the way, to sexual assault.de we are a centralized asset primarily phase out of the air force base, we provide investigative capacity which will allow us to providepr sustainability, inability to provide a fair report back to the general for administrative action and that's what i point out, we arere not a criminal investigative organization, we provide administrative investigation so that victims and the national guard will have the opportunity to address sexual violence against members and remove those three the perpetrators. it is administrative context for what we are not is criminal face which as you know in a criminal
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setting, there's sexual registries and other controls t our society appropriate for these crimes so oci is not the default for the national guard, is the avenue we resort to a law enforcement unwilling for a variety of circumstances to investigate sexual violence. at this time, i will and i statements in hopes general can you forward with his more broad opening statement which covers all aspects with the national guard is doing in respect eradicate sexual violence. >> thank you for general -- are you live now. >> can you hear me not but we can make outstanding. thank you. good afternoon honorable members
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of the subcommittee, thank you forr inviting general walker and i to testify before you today. i want to make it clear, there's no place for sexual assault orti sexual harassment in our nations armed forces or anywhere else for that matter. violating the trust and rubbing for anyone. serving in our formation from a raise your right hand, step forward and serve our communities in times of crisis. strong leadership at every level in the workplace free from the violence of assault and harassment. it is a serious problem if we recognize it as such. that's why shortly after becoming chief for national guard bureau in our team, despite all efforts we didn't
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seem to make any difference. as a result, i ordered formation, national guard bureau leaders and representatives 54 space territories in d.c. to focus on preventing sexual assault suicide within our rights. over the course of the next six months, as a result of a in-depth examination, 19 recommendations for carson's safety. these recommendations fall into six strategic areas, healthy culture, resource distribution and communication, partnerships, standardization of efforts and effective measurements. on review of recommendation from a i accept all.io together, they mean one thing above all, we need a greater. focus on prevention to eliminate sexual assault and harassment in our formation.
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we are strongly engaged in implementation review commission recommendation to help improve the national guard operating environment to enhance support. prevention starts with creating a culture of trust from apartment and families must have confidence in the chain of command confidence in efficacy and response service. confidence in the offices investigation sexual assault officefi and will be held accountable. we have toti burn fat profits by establishing and maintaining culture of trust in state and territory of d.c.de and every level of leadership. we are taking action on building that culture of trust preventing sexual assault and harassment. working on ways to help face
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with the guidance and resources and data that focuses on this factor is directly affect those risk factors. in addition to suicide attacks first from make changes to office of complex investigation for oci these changes include oci from under general counsel office and making it a separate standalone director. ... and help survivors get results. we are working with the integrators.
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these officers are responsible for assessing their sexual assault response program and properly trained professional is forced too focus on issues help bury her commitment to eliminating sexual assault and harassment in the national guard. they are improving prevention training for guardmembers at every levelur in our organizati. in addition to better training we are finding ways to hold them accountable for the culture they. fand oversee. it's been a challenging process the utmost importance. when we eliminate sexual assault and harassment we. a safe environment soldiers so they can focus on their job improve readiness and with it our ability to fight and win moving forward. her commitment to preventing sexual assault in the national guardo is fundamental and taking care of our soldiers and airmen
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and their families and it's a requirement of the national guard to keep its promise to be always ready and always there. members of the subcommittee thank you for your time and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you general. let me start off by asking you general hakanson what part of independent review recommendations have you not implemented? >> we have not implemented any at this time. we are working very closely with with the army and air force to implementation guidance and book will implement each of those. we have 80 recommendations so far and over 50 does apply to the national guard directly in many of those require resources we currently don't have to implement so we are working on
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implementing guidance for services for the army and air force to identify resources and we will implement them as soon as possible. >> let me ask you this. is there any process by which you are informed when the sexual harassment or a sexual assault case complaint has been filed within the state and national guard? >> yes, maam. if you look at the director of the army guard and army national guard they are required to be notified within 24 hours of the case in if i i could take a step back to look at what the unit commanders respond ability is. they have to be notified within the first 24 hours of the sexual assault within their organization and they immediately linked that individual up with the advocate to make sure they get the care
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in the help that they need. >> all right let me ask you this. would lieutenant colonel james who is raped why her superior in the west virginia guard she was retaliated against and the inspector general was able to determine that and she ended up leaving after one year and she had post-traumatic stress disorder. according to the ig report her assailant was never charged and continued to serve. do you know who this person is and is he still serving? >> i do not know that. i can get with their staff to make sure we get an account from not representative. >> so you are going to report back to the committee about the status of the and what happened there?
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>> yes, absolutely. >> let me asks secretary-general , you have seen an increase in the number of cases that have come to our attention recently. do you have enough staff to respond to those cases? >> thank you chair speier. every year it seems to be a moving target on the number cases. with the renewed an enhanced ability to actually look at cases we have seen seen a jump in cases particularly this year. we are running ahead of what we hadse a starkly in any year already. we do have enough staff to investigate these cases. >> how many staff members do have?
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>> we have 29 dedicated investigators that are either resident at joint base entries or residing in their home states all of it home we go out and investigate any allegation that we receive from the adjective jude -- adjutant general. >> how many cases did you file last year? >> last year we had a total of 140, 145 cases that oci or that oci investigated. >> do you track serial offender's? >> we absolutelys, do. we try all perpetrators within our database so if we get indications of any repeat offenders we are able to identify those and report back to the state and do further analytics on why in fact someone
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would be a serial offender given our current system which allows us to investigate sexual assault at leastin administratively so e are tracking specifically -- >> how many serial predators do you have? >> my understanding is from news reports that the guard has undertaken a number of changes to address mishandling of incidents of sexual assault including better training, increased transparency and more emphasis on prevention rate among the changes to better support local units and hold leaders accountable the complex of investigations was jurgen eyes however they stick internet search for information on oci provides no publicly available information about the office, its purposes and how to contact oci officials so how does oci
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ensure that members the national guard including those involved in conducting investigations are where of the officeses existenc? >> chair speier they adjutant general who sparked an investigation -- >> we want to make sure the victims know they are somewhere to go and there is no place that they can google on the internet to find out about your office. >> again our office is not a primary focus. if a sexual assault allegation has been committed the first line of contact is with local law enforcement and that's one of those nuances, the investigation does not get involved with local law enforcement if they are unable to investigate them in the determinationes whether an oci
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investigation is appropriate is done with a request from the l adjutant general with the state and then they open a case for investigation. >> did you investigate the colonel's complaint? >> no, we did not. >> why not? >> i'm not sure that the office was available at that time as a resource so i can verify that. obviously i'm not aware at this time specifically of if her case was investigated by her office based on the fact that i've read some in the press about her investigation. the timing of her case may be outside of the oci window in which again we would only do an administrative investigation. no matter when that case was filed it would have been subject to a local criminal investigation and prosecution and outside of military so i can
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get all the akron information on that and get back to a public details the details. >> thank you. my time hase expired. you are recognized for an additional two minutes. >> general hokanson what is the day-to-day reality of your communication and cooperation with the adjutant's general on this issue? do you think most of them understand the importance of that? >> i would say all of our adjutant generals understand the importance of this across the entire formation in a communications with the adjutant general since i became the chief i follow up on every single case and previously some of those have done education and training and we were able to address that right away their personnel ranks
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and training. at thatt point every single case with threees times year we get together usually in person and have a conference and we get updates and part of that includes sexual assault and sexual harassment programs and in addition to that throughout thede year i go to specific regn so we can meet in smaller groups and have conversations about resources and anytime something likesp that we make sure we have representatives on sexual assault or sexual harassment issues. our staff are in constant communication with the states and territories and specifically ti respond by e-mail or phonecal within 24 hours to ensure there ista no delay in any support in
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any way we can provide support. >> thank you >> thank you. if they read your testimony i think the biggest theme or take away i have from it is that the emphasis on prevention and how prevention is key. just based on your experience with the issue what lines of effort oris prevention are most promising and where do you think would it be smart for us to invest more in terms of prevention activity? >> congressman and the best ways to make sure we have the resources and the trained personnel at the right level and train and work with our leadership at every level from the lowest level to the highest level and part of that is making sure that our training has an impact where we are not just talking to people but it's interactive on what that
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educationpa is intended to do ad frankly it's not just making sure we follow the rules for teaching others that we have to have an environment with dignity and respect and we have to encourage anyone whether the chain of command are not on intervention. everyone needsd to be aware of sexual assault and harassment of what it is and we want everyone to take action if they see it occur at any time. >> i appreciate that. a related question for general walker. we have the decade of experience withec oci. what is your resource and you feel like you have enough investigators to meet the demand right now? >> thank you and really the resource issue has ironically taking care of itself in recent
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commitments to the nba which historically oci operated with members on what in essence is temporary duty at oci which were limited in the number of years in which they can serve. we i just got relief from that d we now have members up to five years and we are implementing that his policy and waiting for service direction on that and that will go a long way to train investigators. the more trained investigator is the higher volume of cases they can investigate so obviously one of the things we hope to do as now we have resources so we have hired for full-time civilian investigators and plan to hire several more so we will have what i call that backbone of
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experience investigators that will bring continuity to our organization to train people to provide that leadership base that we need to rotate in and out with oci in the military side. for murray tours -- resource perspective in the last year we have made great strides in ensuring that this is sustainable without relying on volunteers from theri field fora limited period of time. with the caseload we have weekend meet the investigative burden that we have however that is a moving target depending on the number of cases we have and there could be a change in the volume. avif the two-day oci -- >> my timee has expired but it
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sounds like you are moving in the right direction. as of february 2017 the gao reports to 2018 the guard reported to congress in 2018 the gao report on oci timeliness came as an issue the timeliness of an investigation went nowhere we needed it to be so its important to make sure you have the resources you need to do these investigations in a timely matter and with that i -- in a timely manner and with that i go back to >> the gentlelady from pennsylvania's recognized. >> i will actually follow up on the questions about timeliness and general hokanson my question follow-up on the conversations we had yesterday. we went over serious concerns on the ongoing conversations of
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sexual harassment allegations. representative madeleine dean's district i have spoken about timeliness. after receiving out pouring of rightful concern for my constituents. their a bend delays in incomplete reporting that's been leaving many recruits that are being slow walk to the point where demand for any accountability disappears. i know that you share my commitment to eradicate sexual harassment and assault b in the national guard. i want to hear yourhe commitment as you look into the investigation and make sure there's proper oversight and investigationmi itself is concluded without any further delays. >> congresswoman i will reach out directly to the adjutant general from pennsylvania.
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i will get back to your staff immediately. as >> i appreciate it. there is no longer a place for people ask questions of them. and can you also commit to me that you will review the investigation as well? >> yes, absolutely. >> thank you and my next question is related to adjutant general walker as well. i was listening to your opening statement a testimony about thee purposee of oci and the origins of oci and to the extent that you are able to share that like to understand a little bit more about the initiation of the investigation because in august of 2020 we send a request to oci to have them look into the complaint and the oci responded and said after doing a request
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they determine the most appropriate avenue in an investigation was the pennsylvania national guard even though they were high-ranking officers within the national guard who remained -- who named in these complaints. the oci did not offer as much detail and i was hoping you might be a lot tos offer and insight as to why. >> thank you congresswoman. oci has a limited portfolio. we deal with sexual assault cases and the information, i was not there and i did not read the initial request but it would be a request that would not be in our ability to investigate because we investigate sexual assault and the allegations were at the harassment type and just to back up under question about oci and how we can take in the
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process we as i said we only deal with sexual assault. if their other issues going on and oftentimes there are other areas of misconduct happening, the states often run concurrent investigations with oci. we handled the sexual assault suspect that if their other -- it started than the state so i think there was some confusion initially. oci is very limited. at that time the oci was a separate directory than one of the things that oci is credited with her comprehensive assessment such as what happened ina wisconsin that you may be aware of. >> if it's okay i might interrupt becausee i have limitd time and you anticipate that
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might be what was the qualifier then you mentioned in your remarks that oci is not investigative movement and its only for sexual assault rather than harassment. interestingly enough every time we talk about issues at this hearing me talk about assault and harassment together so is there an gap in coverage and i'm wondering there might be attempts to investigate whether wely should -- because it seemss though our training is all encompassing ofoa all that seems like there may be a gap in coverage there. >> congresswoman it's not a gap in coverage. historically harassment and assault in the caroly -- military art to separate tracks. harassment was never a criminal
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assault and harassment was issa criminal offense. you know that the force to ucmj is undergoing changes that will make harassment a criminal act as well. the national guard -- they met the gentleman's time has expired. >> i yield back. my time has expired that i look forward to having this conversation in thank you so much. >> righettii or general it was n the ndaa f and now isn't offense harassment.sexual the gentleman from texas is now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you chairwoman speier. i want to thank general hokanson and general walker for testifying. i believe this is the first hearing where did gentlewoman is
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announcing her retirement. i wish her all the best in our next endeavor. we are here to have an important discussion regarding response to sexual assaults in military. i have a bill the service safety improvement act signedee into lw as part of the foia and daa. incidents of sexual harassment are not necessarily isolated incidents and if not addressed they can lead to other serious and sometimes deadly outcomes and sometimes with the person going missing. can you address this issue by requiring military institution to require reporting servicemembers missing? this means partnering with local and federal law enforcement and information sharing to ensure all persons and organizations on a military installation are accountedpo for. general hokanson what area can i work with you to implement some of the best practices for information sharing with local
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and federal law enforcement in the national guard? i and daa as for our port on the feasibility of supplementing this legislation with regards to the national guard through what are your thoughts on implementing this legislation with respect to the national guard would expect this committee will receive this report? >> i strongly support that. any time any of our guardsmen and an obviously we see them in her annual training period and anytime we don't have accountability for any of them at -- anything we can do to have resources available to find out to help these individuals is something we would absolutely c do. >> thank you sir. i hope we get a report on that int their future and i look forward to rookie with you on that madam chairwoman i yield back. >> the gentleman> yields back or the gentleman from texas senator
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escobar is recognized. >> to our panelists i want to get some perspective on the question that has been asked. i'm a proud representative he here in congress and i'm also proud representative of a safe and secure community of el paso which is right on the u.s.-mexico border. this is the first hearing we've been able to have with the national guard since some really a alarming reports have been made publicpa and i know are sad subcommittees focus on the hearing is around sexual assault and sexual harassment and i'm very proud of the work that we have done under the chairwoman's leadership to place and prioritize the safety and welfare of our servicemembers
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and really making it paramount for this committee and it is with that same same perspective and minded like to ask her national guard leadership some questions about this because i know we are committed to the readiness of our servicemembers. there have been some deeply alarming reports coming out of texas. we have the deployment of texas national guard to an operation called operation lone star headed by texas governor greg abbott. i'm hoping for hearing around some of the really alarming reports about increased suicides and living conditions, a of pay etc. and it's my hope that this subcommittee and our committee as a whole approaches these issues in the same bipartisan manner that we have approved
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sexual harassment and sexual assaults. with that general hokanson and like to ask a couple of questions just to clarify, can you please describe the relationship that bureau in national guard of each state have and what way does that relationship tender the ability to exercise the full oversight investigations and prosecutions? >> congresswoman we work very closely with them on a regular basis to make sure that they have all the they service requirements of the army and air force. when we look at the states they are commanders of their national guard and what we do as we stay constant medication to help identify communications to see if we can help them address
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those. we work with all 54 and we try to share best practices across all organizations could so we can make the organizations better and learn from others. ultimately we make sure they do everything with respect to services in the system in any way we can on literally a daily basis. >> thank you so much general for the national guard troops deployed under governor greg abbott's lone star are acting on active duty status of my those reports of what is known are deeply alarming and i'm concerned about what is not yet known and what may not be public including concerned i have around conditions that might further sexual harassment and sexual assault as well. other mechanisms that the bureau
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can use to conduct investigations, oversight and prosecutions of these missions when our servicemembers have been subjected to alarming and shocking conditions such as those under operation lone star? >> congresswoman in this case when we hear reports like that we takee every single one very seriously and we reach out to the leadership within that state and ask if they need help with anything or if there are shortcomings. we do everything to support them is specifically i would like to add some potential legal implications on what they can do toto help. >> thank you sir. this is one of those issues where i think theit national guard, we have too be very specific in how and when the
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national guard into being to what level and that is a threshold issue that we run into every time there's an issue with guardsmen and how one what the bureau can do. with respect to sexual assault and sexual harassment we are constantly looking to inform the state and informed leadership on those things that are specifically triggering the environment which makes sexual assault most likely to happen and through analytics and basic information we are gleaning from our reports were passing that information on to the adjutant general. we can address those situations with leadership to remove those things from the environment so we can hopefully reduce and mitigate the factors that contribute to sexual assault. every time we have an incident we go to great pains to pull
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data to analyze the facts so we can replicate as practices and processes particularly in situations that are common to us such as deployment. >> the gentlewoman's time has expired. can you wrap up their comments rlplease? >> general my office will circle back with you. i want to sound the alarm madam chair to our panelists into my colleagues and it's my hope we can address all of this in the same bipartisan spirit that we have worked in the past and our subcommittee. thank you all so much and ii yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> i want to thank you all for being here today. as a member of this committee who is the national guard base it really saddens me that sexual assault is all too common in her nationalee guard and i want to ensure all of you and all of my colleagues onic this committee
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that i'm committed to rooting out this problem. we have to address this and put processes in place to do better. my question is general hokanson bolland dedicated to ensuring her national guard provides a safe and secure way to -- for victims to come forward which is critical so we can catch and prosecute the perpetrators of sexual violence, the one concern that i have is that we. , that we are not creating a system that is guilty until proven innocent so i want to be sure that the pendulum doesn't swing too far the other way. while i appreciate the end of an -- independent review committee's recommendations the recommendations seemed heavily focused on prevention rather than any actual processes on investigations off potential crimes. there is a very important piece
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in prevention yeses extremely important that we also have to have an actual process for an investigation. can you explain to me how the process for the queues will navigate through the system? >> congresswoman thank you and our process right now obviously we immediately go to law -- local law enforcement to determine whether or not they should prosecute and if it stays with local law enforcement it stays with them. if they for some reason did not take the case we provide an additional avenue for individuals to pursue a through oci. when i look at the victim obviously and i will take it from the role of the commanders to make sure it's reported
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within 24 hours. from there the commander has various tools that his or her disposal. we do an expedited transfer of the organization and there's a civilian or military protective order we also initiate a flag on the personnel file just so police -- just so everyone's alerted there's an ongoing investigation. we are very clear we want to make sure everyone is notified that this process and what i'd like to do is handed over to general walker to talk about the specifics of that. it's under his purview from there. >> so again the national guard without military criminal destinations to investigate we immediately preferred that to local law enforcement. after the local law enforcement
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investigation is complete and if it is appropriate we will do an administrative investigation and it's important, oftentimes we see in the media and other accounts where people are not happy with the results of an administrative investigation and we have very limited remedies for criminal activities. we can discharge members. there is no incarceration and none of the other institutional controls that our society needs for sexual crimes. >> can i go back for one second? when we turn it over to local enforcement there is, try to think of the word but it's escaping me. there is a four cause hearing, correct? >> itt depends on the jurist diction. the process again is unlike
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under a uniform process under the u.s. mj they determine exactly how that investigation ultimate prosecution of the case will happen. we have no visibility on what happens once we turn it over which is part of the intent on active duty to give it to commanders -- >> so it would follow the normal prosecution as a normal civilian would? >> correct. >> thank you sir. i have one second so i appreciate your time and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back the gentlewoman from california ms. jacobs is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you madam chairwoman and thank you to the witnesses
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for being here. general hokanson i wanted to follow-up on that report that recommended the chief of the national guard reassess r the office of administrative investigations timeliness to determine how to improve the processing of sexual assault involving members of the army national guard and to improve the timeliness of these investigations. has that assessment happened and what has been done to improve the speed investigations if so? it seems according to gao it remains with oci for fun -- for some time. >> congresswoman thank you. one of the first things i did
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was to sit down with their general counsel of oci and this goes back to my opening statement. we seem to put a lot of time and effortne into this but it never seems to move in a positive direction. when i spoke with the adjutant general initially i wanted them to understand home port of an issue this is did wemo have bob backlog and we need to address the backlog so that we can complete these investigations. working with them i was able to increase the number of investigators by 60% and that was with the adjutant general identifying folks that have the capability to serve as an investigator. the backlog is unacceptable. part of that we were able to resolve and general walker has doneklkl admirable work on that.
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it's under the general counsel's office and i felt one way to show the entire national guard just how important it is is to create a stand-alone organization putting a general officer in charge and thankfully we have general walker who's also a federal judge to look at the entire process streamlined it and agreeable to investigate it regionally so it can travel quicker to these locations. i don't want to steal general walker's thunder. there has been a lot of great work you've done and it seems to have helped. >> the problem is what general hokanson has brought to the office of investigations and i will tell you i want us to think about the national guard and what we are doing.
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we have the force of 75 to 85% full-time -- part-time. we also depend on the council the defense counsel in the state to have the witnesses available to do an investigation oftentimes were limited. for the national guard given the availability for witnesses and for us to do an investigation. so our timelines mayee not match for active duty or elsewhere in the military because of the nature of the national guard service. we don't have control of individuals who need to question until we show up for drills so one of than factors will never be able to fully address is how long it takes for an investigation. secondarily those resources are
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limited as well. we have to coordinate all these other stakeholders with each investigation. it's not as easy as doing an investigation brits incredible what are investigators due to coordinate these trips and ♪♪ by the way were in a pandemic and their airline issues and for an investigation to go to start to finish as they compensated process so we are doing everything we can to address those complications were seeing a dramatic increase the timeliness that we will never be worry want to be just by nature of the national guard. spring senator walker my fiveam seconds remaining i just want to make a point that i don't believe national guard servicemembers at the state
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level -- in part because of thes limitations so i just want to make sure we are giving her national guard members the care they need. >> the gentle one yields back. you are next on the agenda if you're inclined to ask questions. you are recognized. >> thank you very much and it's very gracious of you. appreciate it. my question for the general hokanson how do you keep a stake of its military justice with ucmj? >> congressman barrett changes to the military justice and each state may or may not make changes as quickly so we really
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rely on our oci as they go out to investigate to really look at the state code of military justice and how it applies so we go back to administrative investigations in there some states that start potentially a court-martial but not all states are like that so we rely on when they go to a state to do an investigation and make sure they are aware of that state specific code so they know what options that they have once they receive the results of that investigation. >> i'm sorry for interrupting. [inaudible] >> congressman i'm not sure i can answer that specifically because of basically the way in which some of these change. for us if we have concerned and
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as mentioned previously been article comes up for an investigation we try to reach out to that state immediately to say hey is there anyway we can help or any resources that you need for guidance that you are lacking r to ensure we fill gaps in many areas? >> general i have another question. i want to make sure and i think your leadership is really helping dramatically address this problem and it's very much appreciated and my colleagues mentioned they want to ensure guard troops are not treated as second class i any regard. we do we can and that's why i supported the equity in hazard pay for national guard troops at another question row quickly there is a training required for national guard soldiers.
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how do we ensure that this is -- instead of the check the box kind of thing? say thank you for that question because one of the things we came up with is a lot of the training they receive is really focused on title x that almost all of our work is done under title iii and that's where we get involved in what we have been trying to do is look at ways to create their own course of the national guard at our professional training center in arkansas. i saw yesterday the six-day program and they do want to tailor that trending so it's universal for army and air guard and addresses the characteristics into your point to make sure they --
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>> with the time i have remaining can you give us some examples of best practices that you've seen from states addressing the sexual assault problem? >> yes congressman. when i look at the state of result ofthis was a issues identified there a few years ago. one thing that would did was set up a roadmap in coordination with the state on key indicators for things that they could do to get to the point where they have addressed all of those and looking at a risk assessment of individual -- something came up from another state as well a risk assessment at any time
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alcohol -- and all the things in place to help identify day-to-day the potential sexual assault their sexual-harassment when it occurs. in the army national guard one of our proposals is to share that with their national guard as well. it really provides an anonymous ability for input and identify things that they may see as risk factors. the mac thank you general and madam chairwoman i yield. >> the john yields back read a follow-up on that question general hokanson when it comes to the national guard they have 33 sexual assault cases and those were chosen not to be undertaken by the local attorney
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and no action was taken an investigation within wisconsin found that the victims didn't get any resources in wisconsin has not updated it stayed military law as it was expected to do. the u.s. government provides $26 billion a year to national guard across this country, $26 billion. my understanding is that your authority is one of encouraging, cajoling and suddenly hoping they will do the right thing. outside of giving them money you don't have any cook to get them to do what they should do so as the case in wisconsin where they have even change their military
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post when they are required to do so and her 33 cases over the course of five or six years and some very current there were not pursued and oci has this kind of bizarre function and there is not accountability. what should we do?on it doesn't sound like you have anything. her suasion on your side. at what point do we freeze the money and say you need to follow the ucmj or you won't get the money? >> congresswoman speier when you look at the accusations were made wisconsin the governor mae
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changes identified within organization and provided assistance team from wisconsin to take a look at every aspect -- >> i'm asking you a very specific question. do you have any power? >> i think i have all the authority i need to make sure they follow the service guidance. if they don't it's up to the governor and in the state of wisconsin. for the journalists who brought these cases to the attention of the public i don't know that anything would be done and all of us here want to make sure that our national guard servicemembers have the same protections under the law and inthey have become federalized n a time of war or when needed so i really think we have more work
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to do here. let me ask you about the issue with alcohol. i guess there's no prohibition in using alcohol on those exercise weekends, is that right? >> these would be unit functions after hours. >> all right. how do you ensure that each state is harper lee investigating sexual harassment and sexual assaults? >> they would actually not be able to do the investigation and use their resources do that so they are reliant on law enforcement to do those investigations and as we mentioned before if law enforcement decides for some
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reason not to do that than oci the administrative abilityin we have supports them. tonight. if it doesn't get tagged it doesn't get investigated, is that correct? >> yes, maam. >> so this is the problem here and in many respects what's going on in the national guard is what went on in the military when it was up to the chain of command to make a determination as to whether or not to pursue a sexual assault case and we found out that for a number of reasons they chose not to do that and a tag who has a number of sexual assault cases that occur under their command who is loathe to report them were speak to oci for fear of might reflect poorly on them. sometimes they are the assaults are. i have some serious concerns.
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it's $26 billion illegal out every year to the state and we have no control and no authority to protect those national guard servicemembers if they choose not to. i now yield to mr. gallagher for further questions. >> i have no further questions. >> let's see who is next? ms. houlahan is no longer here, ms. escobar. >> thank you madam chair. i would like to circle back to general walker because general hokanson had general walker respond to what legal options the national guard bureau would have in cases such as those that
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outlined under operation lone star in those cases that the chair has outlined as a sample. if there is a governor who continues to ignore a the health, safety and welfare of theut national guard specificaly and has not rectified the situation and i'm talking about lots of different offenses that we have seen in texas to general walker what are the legal options available to the national guard bureau? >> so congresswoman let me start with addressing what happens when a sexual assault is reported. spamming general walker let me interrupt you my apologies. i'm not talking about sexual assault and sexual harassment in particular.. this is a much more general question.es
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>> congressmen to address that general question within the scope of wine here today can tell you in order for the national guard to have control over the state and non-federalized and this is an ongoing issue of debate and as you've seen in other areas that are going on right now it's under litigation is what the national authorities are and the is we work with the states whera we can to address issues when they are brought to her attention and as someone who came from the field i was in the guard bureau for a year in this role. as a state guardsmen of the leadership in the state and i can tell you the intent always is combined with service
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directors and work in the role of assistance in order to meet those requirements. the actual legalities of what we can do her questions well above my scope here. i can tell you the issues when they arrived we sit down and we work with the states to find solutions to these hard problems. again everything we address starts with anan impartial investigation at oci and it we provide that information to the state and they use it. i know we have promised that i know their issues. the working relationship is quite positive and other general hokanson's leadership it's that's the best that it's been a
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long time so these problems require collaboration and working through these problems by authorities cooperate with each other because we all intend to solve these problems. >> general walker and i have one last question for you. before my time expires. the office aware of the condition of the guardsmen deployed at our southern border? >> congresswoman that would be beyond their scope. we only come into play when it adjutants general request an investigation. we don't actively seek information outside that world of investigating a specific agency. >> thank you madam chairwoman i yield back. said the gentlelady yields back. are there any further questions click seeing noneti we thank general hokanson and secretary-general walker for your time and attention today. they are a number of requests we
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have made and we look forward to receiving your answers in due time. thank you. the committee is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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