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'Positive steps' | Army chief of staff reports on Fort Hood progress

Gen. James McConville promised the Guillen family he'd help make change across the Army

FORT HOOD, Texas — The cries for Vanessa Guillen were heard by new Fort Hood Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. He promised change will come to the base.

"I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Guillen and I told her that we would take the lessons learned about what happened to Vanessa and we would implement them across Fort Hood and then implement them across the entire Army," he said.

McConville said they are keeping that promise with the ‘People First Initiative,’ a three-phase program that aims to expand trust between soldiers, families and surrounding communities.

When asked why it took an act of Congress to see change, General McConville said the Army has always been about people but reinforcing that is sometimes a priority.

"I think the time is now to focus on our people to make sure we are forming cohesive units where everyone takes care of each other and everyone treats everyone with respect," he said. "That unit cohesion leads to units that are ready, it leads to units that are ready to go to combat and fight. That's why it's about people first."

McConville has been to Fort Hood more than once since the initiative was instituted. He has seen it work first-hand and was asked if it was making progress.

"I see us making positive steps, I don't think we're where we need to be but I do see us moving in a positive direction," he said.

While the new initiative is in its infancy, McConville said it will always be a work in progress.

"We're going to learn as we go through it and when we find out things that aren't working, we'll going to change them or we're going to fix them and take the initiatives that are working," he said.

McConville also said the Army is open to feedback and criticism if it helps to raise the bar of excellence.

"We invite everyone to bring their ideas because at the end of the day we want to have the best military, the best Army that we can have," he said.

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