Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Speier, Gillibrand Renew Call for Investigation Into SPC Guillén’s Disappearance, Ft Hood Command Climate

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, sent a letter to Acting Department of Defense Inspector General Sean O’Donnell repeating their July 2, 2020, call for an investigation into the disappearance of Specialist (SPC) Vanessa Guillén.

Speier and Gillibrand noted that, despite the gravity of this particular case and the implications of the broader command climate at Fort Hood, the inspector general has failed to respond to their July 2 request for an investigation. Since then, significant developments have occurred: the prime suspect, SPC Aaron Robinson, is dead, and his alleged accomplice, Cecily Aguilar, is in custody. Additionally, Army Forces Command conducted an inspection of the command climate at SPC Guillén’s unit and Fort Hood more broadly, the U.S. Army named a five-person civilian panel that will review the culture at Fort Hood, and the Secretary of the Army indicated that the Army is reevaluating how it responds to cases of missing servicemembers after visiting Fort Hood. Additionally, Rep. Speier chaired a hearing of the Military Personnel subcommittee on sexual harassment and retaliation at Fort Hood and throughout the military.

“Since we originally requested an investigation, the reasons for a thorough review of the Army’s actions surrounding the tragic disappearance and killing of SPC Guillén, and broader issues of the command climate at Fort Hood, have increased substantially. The Army must still answer for its procedures for finding missing servicemembers, bringing perpetrators to justice, and ensuring that families of missing servicemembers are kept fully informed and treated with respect,” Chair Speier said. “It is unacceptable that Acting Inspector General O’Donnell has failed to respond to our July 2 letter. I – and the many servicemembers and other Americans united in grief and outrage over the death of SPC Guillén as well as the deaths of many other soldiers – demand that he immediately commence a transparent and fulsome investigation into these matters. We deserve answers and SPC Guillén deserves justice.”

A copy of the letter is attached to this release here.