Army Nixes New Leadership Role for Fired Fort Hood Commander

Then Brigadier General Scott L. Efflandt
Then Brigadier General Scott L. Efflandt. (U.S. Army)

Army Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, who was fired as commander of Fort Hood, Texas, last year after a soldier's brutal murder, has been reassigned to U.S. Army North -- but not in the leadership job that was first announced.

The Army initially said Tuesday that Efflandt would be deputy commanding general of ARNORTH. But on Wednesday, Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith issued a follow-up statement saying he will instead be the special assistant to ARNORTH's commanding general, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson.

"This is a temporary reassignment pending final outcome of the AR 15-6 investigation," Smith said.

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Last September, the Army replaced Efflandt as Fort Hood's acting commander and launched a new investigation into the chain of command's actions relating to the murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillen.

Guillen, a 20-year-old soldier with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, was allegedly murdered and dismembered by Spc. Aaron Robinson in April 2020. Her remains were discovered and identified months later; Robinson took his own life July 1 when police approached him. A civilian from nearby Killeen, Texas, 22-year-old Cecily Aguilar, has been charged with allegedly helping Robinson dispose of Guillen's body.

The murder prompted widespread outrage at how the military had repeatedly failed to protect Guillen before her death and drew renewed attention to the broader problem of sexual assault and harassment in the military. Her family said she had been repeatedly sexually harassed in her workplace, but little was done to help her.

An independent review of Fort Hood's culture, released in December, found its leaders allowed a command climate to fester in which sexual assault and harassment were commonplace and victims were forced to slip into "survival mode."

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., introduced the "I am Vanessa Guillen Act" to reform how the military handles reports, investigations and prosecutions of sexual assault and harassment cases.

The Army fired 14 leaders at Fort Hood, as well as Guillen’s entire chain of command, including leaders at the squad, platoon, company and battalion level, as part of disciplinary actions following the release of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee report.

Efflandt had also previously been slated to take over leadership of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, which would have been a key command milestone in his career. However, that transfer was put on hold last summer as the investigation into systematic problems at the base continued.

-- Stephen Losey can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StephenLosey.

Related: Army Replaces Fort Hood CO, Names 4-Star to Lead Vanessa Guillen Murder Investigation

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