Senate panel is likely to OK the first female Secretary of the Army

Washington (AP) — A woman ready to become the Army’s first female secretary told Congress Thursday that the fight against sexual assault and harassment was a top priority, and when they saw it. Bad behavior by others, who said that greater prevention was needed, including more training to encourage soldiers to intervene.

Christine Worms, who headed President Joe Biden’s transition team in the Pentagon, received an overwhelmingly warm welcome from members of the Senate Military Committee. They proposed that her nomination be approved by the Senate.

Once confirmed, she will be one of the most powerful officials in a defense facility that has long been dominated by men, and the second woman to be nominated by Biden for the top role of the Pentagon. Deputy Secretary of Defense is Kathleen Hicks.

Worms addressed a variety of issues at hearings, but many of the questions focused on the climate issues of personnel and commands that have plagued service. Following the aftermath of a series of crimes, including murder and suicide in Fort Hood, Texas last year, the Army’s response to sexual assault and other violence is under serious scrutiny. The jury found that Post’s military leaders did not adequately deal with high rates of sexual assault and harassment and completely ignored the sexual assault prevention program.

Worms said he was “angry and dissatisfied” with his failure at Fort Hood. And she said the Army needed to “significantly focus” on improving the command environment to lower levels so that young soldiers could be safe and file complaints as needed. .. She added that she wants to not only “increase PowerPoint slides where people go to mental screen savers”, but also see what other workouts they can do.

One of them could be better bystander training for soldiers so they know when and how to intervene when they see something happening. ..

Mr. Warmas also said an evaluation team established by the Army leadership could help solve the problem.

The first directive after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin took office in January ordered senior leaders to investigate a sexual assault prevention program, and he established an independent committee to study this issue. .. The Commission recommended that the decision to prosecute military personnel for sexual assault be made by an independent authority rather than a commander, a major change that has been resisted by the military.

Other comments acknowledged the growing demand for Army National Guard over the past year as civilian soldiers responded to civilian anxiety, the need for COVID-19 testing and vaccination, natural disasters, and other deployments. She said.

In response to a question from Senator Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.), Worms, if confirmed, shows how the strain appears, including whether it affects recruitment and retention. I said I want to find out.

Worms has been involved in various national security issues at the Department of Defense for many years. She received strong support from a man who was recently confirmed in the Senate as Secretary of the Army.

Ryan McCarthy, who quit his job in January, said Worms “has the temperament, strategic thinking, and relationships that will enable the Army to succeed in the next decade.” He said her deep experience with the Pentagon and the National Security Council would be an irreplaceable asset for the sector and the Army.

Her recent work is RAND Corp, a federal-funded think tank. He was the director of the Center for International Security and Defense Policy. Prior to that, however, he was NSC’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Senior Director of Defense Policy under the Obama administration. He has held other Pentagon positions. She was previously the Assistant Secretary of Defense.