Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Fort Hood Report

  1. Feb 2, 2010 #1


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    On January 15, a report on the Novermber 5 Ft. Hood shooting was released by the DoD. The full text of the report can be found here: http://www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/DOD-ProtectingTheForce-Web_Security_HR_13Jan10.pdf

    The purpose of this thread is two-fold:
    1. Discuss the findings of the report.
    2. Contrast the reporting of the Ft. Hood shooting with the reporting of the Christmas day airline attack.

    Some excerpts (unfortunately, I can't seem to copy and paste from the report...):

    In other words, the DoD simply doesn't look for "internal threats". They monitor troops to see if they may be suicide risks or beat their wives, etc., but they don't have a methodology for identifying and dealing with people who might commit violence against the military, from within the military.

    Frankly, this is a shocking deficiency, existing on two separate levels:
    1. Just as individual commanders monitor their troops for signs of suicide or domestic abuse, they need to be able to deal with signs of potential violence against their comrades. It may not be common, but nor is Ft. Hood unique.

    2. The Ft. Hood incident was partially an intelligence failure. The FBI had information about Hasan's extremism, but didn't investigate enough.

    And obviously, the integration of these two levels is also key. If the commanders who were whitewashing Hasan's performace reviews were aware that he was contacting a known extremist Imam in Yemen, perhaps they would have reacted more strongly. If the FBI had known Hasan was giving off-topic presentations justifying terrorism in his med school classes, perhaps they would have taken the contacts with the Imam more seriously. From the report:
    An example of the first level is the killing of 5 troops at a Baghdad stress clinic in May of 2009. From an article on the incident:

    That incidnet was a soldier who was referred to a counseling center, but the counseling is where the issue stopped. The response to the threat itself was insufficient and not integrated up and down the chain of command.

    The second level is more difficult because it is a purely intelligence operation and essentially involves spying on our own troops. That makes a lot of people squeamish, but it doesn't make me squeamish as a civilian and for soldiers, your entire life is owned by the military. Monitoring and reporting needs to be done.

    The report dealt with the whitewashing of the performace reviews. That's both an individual failure on the part of the commanders who did it (and there will likely be consequences for them) and a cultural failure by the military. Frankly, it appears that the military is afraid of being honest about the threat due to the PC culture in the US. More on that in the second secion, though. For here, simply put, Hasan should have been deemed unfit for miltiary service and separated:
    That's from the executive summary - I'm having trouble finding more in-depth discussion of it. However, page 16 says that commanders need training in recognizing religious fanaticism or "self-radicalization" and differentiating it from "appropriate" religious practices.

    One criticism of the report was the lack of usage of the word "terrorism", Islam or Hasan's name:

    Reading the report, I'm less concerned than I initially was at hearing of the omissions: they aren't so much a flaw, just a limitation of the report. The report a good discussion of the flaws in military policy that caused Hasan's extremism to be missed, but it is not report about the Fort Hood shooting. Basically, it is a report about what the military did (a broad report, but a good one), not a report of what Hasan did. So we still need a report about what Hasan did. And that leads to the second section....
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

  4. Feb 2, 2010 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Part 2: Ft. Hood vs Christmas Day Attacks

    A few days after the Ft. Hood attacks, I started a thread criticizing the media's and the administration's reactions to the attack. The failure to take the Fort Hood attack seriously is evident in contrasting the government and media reactions to the two attacks.

    Obama's first reaction was inserted into an already pre-planned speech the same day and doesn't say much as not much was known. He later makes another such insert.

    Here is the text of the speech Obama gave on November 10, 5 days after the attack, at a memorial service: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/11/obama_fort_hood_speech_transcr.html [Broken]

    People have said how great this speech was, including this commentary by the Atlantic:

    Since it is at a memorial service, it is is of course almost entirly euolgizing and rightly so. And in that context, it really is a great speech. But despite what Ambinder says, except for one vague throwaway comment about 'no religion justifying such an act', it really doesn't address terrorism and Islam (it certainly doesn't use either word!) at all. It also doesn't talk about the government response to the shooting. Why is that a criticism? Looking back, aside from brief interjections into other speeches in the days after the shooting, Obama didn't give a "response" speech. (at least I didn't see one and I googled and searched a Washington Post database of Obama speeches: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/obama-speeches/ [Broken] )

    Contrast that with the Christmas day airline bombing attempt, where Obama gave the following speech on December 28: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/12/obama-remarks-on-airline-secur.html

    This speech is almost entirely content: it is a briefing. He lists facts and timelines and most importantly, tells us what he's going to do about it:
    This is a great speech - a 'what I'm going to do about it....' speech.

    Directed by the White House (it is labeled as a White House report), Homeland Security a 6 page preliminary report on the Christmas Day attack on January 28, detailing the failures that allowed the bomber to conduct the attack: http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/01/07/terror.report.findings/index.html

    Unlike the Ft. Hood report we received two weeks ago, this report is about the incident itself in addition to detailing the policy/procedure failings that allowed it to occur.

    Now presumably, there is a report discussing the Fort Hood incident itself, we just haven't seen it:
    So where is it?
    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/58470 [Broken]


    So where is this report? (reports?)

    Obama took a lot of flak for the frankly stupid initial reaction to the Christmas Day bombing attempt of one of his advisors, saying "the system worked" and for not responding fast enough himself. I'm willing to cut him some slack on that since it wasn't his statement and the attack failed. But maybe the backlash was a wake-up call because his speech and response after that has been great.

    But simply put, Obama didn't take Ft. Hood seriously. Whether he intended to take the Christmas Day attack seriously before he got kicked, I don't know, but since we're now 3 months past the Ft. Hood attack, he's unlikely to go back and correct the oversight because it will just highlight his failure.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Feb 3, 2010 #4
    After reading this I come away feeling you are biased against Obama and biased for 'American' nationalism, the 'get rid of everyone in our way immediately' sort of nationalism.

    I do not see how the incident on Christmas day is similar to the shooting at Fort Hood... so I do not think his reaction to both events should have been the same at all.

    In hindsight it's possible to claim both were motivated by terrorism but I do not see how our hindsight could have played a role in Obamas speech. Just because YOU were willing to call this man out does not mean the president should.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  6. Feb 3, 2010 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Certainly yes. I, like everyone else, have a opinions and biases and my opinion of his performance is negative and that leads to a build-up of a negative bias. Similarly, someone who predominantly posts positive things about Obama has a positive bias.

    However, I think I am better than average at looking past my personal biases and dealing in facts and logic. My posts above were not a rant - I put a lot of effort into research and presenting facts and logic.
    Not sure how you get that from anything I've written above.
    Both are national security threats, so both require responses by the President to the national security threat.
    Huh? Whether you call the Ft. Hood shooting "terrorism" or not, it still happened. Are you suggesting that if we don't call it terrorism, we don't need to try to prevent similar acts from happening again?
  7. Feb 3, 2010 #6
    Which the president has done... is this the only way they are comparable? I do not see why the Presidents reaction and response to these events should be similar...

    No that's not what I'm saying at all. Reading what you've written though it is kind of clear that a majority of your dislike with how Obama handled the situation is his lack of calling it a terrorist act and 'taking it seriously'.
    The attack at Ft. Hood was an isolated, individual event with no outside help and I do not think anyone should have jumped the gun on the situation.

    I do not see what is wrong with the report that was released by the DoD, it addresses the problems and shows they are intending to fix them. This is what this report was INTENDED to do... it's not a report ON Ft. Hood at all, it's a report on what should be fixed now that a situation like this has come to light. This report goes to show that the event IS being taken seriously...

    As well, obviously with this involving the military I would assume that there will be some important information we are not privy to, maybe ever. However there is plenty of information out there released by various organizations (including extremist muslims) on the shooting...

    Where exactly is your problem with everything... the only one I can see right now is the lack of the words 'terrorism, muslim, islam' etc..

    EDIT: As well I'm just trying to keep this within your points of the thread
    1. Discuss the report.
    2. Contrast the reporting of the Ft. Hood shooting with the reporting of the Christmas day airline attack.

    Point 1 I think we're both in agreement with the report as far as it's purpose goes (outlining the problems and solutions brought to light by the Ft. Hood shooting) in saying that the report does it's job well.

    Point 2 I think we disagree because you see the report given by the DoD as a report ON Ft. Hood, which it is not. The only thing I can see being compared between the airline attack and Ft. Hood is the Presidents reaction and response, which I have addressed.
    I feel these 2 points however are seperate issues...
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  8. Feb 3, 2010 #7
    I think I've found why you think the DoD report is the 'report on the Ft. Hood incident. After searching 'fort hood report' in google I went to msnbc which was the first link. In this article was the following:


    Which brings you to the DoD report. However I think it's misleading calling it the Fort Hood report, it's more like a review of practices. This is made clear in the report as well:

    pg.1 of the DoD report.

    So from this it is clear that the report was to be made more of a review of the DoD's programs, policies, processes and procedures. As well as a review of how the Army carried out it's programs, policies, processes and procedures with regard to Hasan... nothing more nothing less. This was not a review on the actual incident, which would imply it is reporting what occured why did he do it, did he have help etc.. It was a 'what went wrong with our system and how do we fix it.'
  9. Feb 3, 2010 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Interesting to see that "whitewashing" performance reports has become the norm - once again.

    When I first joined the Air Force, enlisted personnel were rated on a 9 point scale - except you practically needed a minor criminal act to get an 8 and a major criminal act to get a 7. You'd probably get kicked out of the military if you did anything serious enough to warrant a 6.

    About 20 years ago, they finally changed the rating system completely, using a 5 point scale where 5's actually meant something. Only a few top performers got 5's and a person barely skating by could get a 3 - even without doing something serious enough to require law enforcement personnel to get involved.

    Now, slowly but surely, the system has drifted back to the point where no one wants to be able to analyze ratings by race, gender, etc to see who gets most of the top ratings and who gets most of the bottom ratings.

    Finding 2.9 is a little disturbing:
    It's tough to convince personnel that revealing any stress related problems about themselves won't have an adverse affect on their careers. In fact, it's tough to get some personnel to reveal temporary physical problems if it will cost them a few days flight pay. Military personnel aren't any different than the average person - they're intensely suspicious of having authority figures pry into their private lives and using that info to screw with them.

    To say they should be disciplined enough to accept that as one of the conditions they agreed to makes a nice rhetorical statement. The reality is that members will hide problems as long as possible instead of getting counselling and/or treatment. The fact that military members on flight status will hide ailments the member sees as too minor to give up his flight pay for, to the point they'd rather fork out money at civilian pharmacies for medication they could get for free on base, shows how well that idea works.

    Military members will probably reveal personal problems to civilian religious leaders, might reveal personal problems to military chaplains, and will be likely to hide personal problems from healthcare providers and/or supervisors - especially if anything revealed becomes part of their permanent record.

    It takes a visible commitment to protecting individual members' privacy in order to encourage military members to get help for combat related stress. At what point does the risk of a terrorist become great enough to compromise the effort to help troops returning from combat?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  10. Feb 7, 2010 #9
    Are you certain of this?

    Would you agree it MIGHT be a good idea to find out if anyone else serving in the military is acting in a similar manner or associating with the same persons?
  11. Feb 7, 2010 #10
    Yeah it is a good idea, that's why the FBI and the DoD looked into it. Their conclussion they came to through various methods was that the attack at Ft. Hood was an individual event related to no group. There are plenty of reports on this just search for Fort Hood in google.
  12. Feb 7, 2010 #11
    Let me try this again. Are you sure their investigation was thorough - that NOBODY else serving in the military has exhibited similar behavior?


    "Poor performance evaluation
    U.S. officials said Hasan was an Army psychiatrist, NBC News reported. Defense officials said Hasan, 39, arrived at Fort Hood in July after practicing for six years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, which included a fellowship in disaster and preventive psychiatry.

    At Walter Reed, Hasan received a poor performance evaluation, according to an official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

    There was no official word on motive. But Hasan was scheduled to be deployed overseas on Nov. 28, officials said. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said military officials had told her that Hasan was “pretty upset” about his deployment, which she said was to be to Iraq.

    Image: Nidal Malik Hassan
    Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan was described as ‘upset’ about his pending deployment to Iraq.
    The Associated Press, quoting federal law enforcement officials, said Hasan had come to their attention at least six months ago because of Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats. The officials said they were still trying to confirm that he was the author.

    Medical records on file in Virginia, where Hasan was born and was registered to practice, and Maryland, where he received his medical degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, revealed no disciplinary actions or formal complaints. "
  13. Feb 7, 2010 #12
    Well how can I say that no other people in the military feel the same thing or want to do the same things? I think it's clear that there are problems with the way that the military had perceived things in the past, but it's clear in this DoD report that they are attempting to correct the situation.
    Whether or not other people in the military feel or wish to act the same way has no bearing on whether or not this attack was an individual, isolated event. The fact that he discussed suicide bombings etc. has no bearing on the fact either. He had gone off and done this on his OWN as an INDIVIDUAL. AFAIK only one person has 'praised' his actions... even some of the most extremist groups have said his attack was unnecessary and that he is making big problems... that's to say they condemned the attack. I would link to this but the website has been taken down. (maybe because of it's connection to the attack or something who knows...)
  14. Feb 8, 2010 #13
    There is a major difference between "feelings" and observed behavior and associations. A soldier has no expectation of privacy when national security is concerned.
  15. Feb 8, 2010 #14
    uhhhh.... ok? I don't see how this changes anything, I never said anywhere that a soldier has expectations of privacy when national security is concerned and this doesn't change the fact that this attack was an isolated event. This man went and did this on HIS OWN for HIS OWN reasons.

    As well your point isn't really that great, that feelings are different from behaviour and associations. I believe you are trying to argue that the military should only base their knowledge off of the observed behaviou and associations to come to conclude there may be problems... This is problematic in itself with this situation because this man was a psychiatrist the FBI and DoD were monitoring his actions and connections, AKA 'observing his behaviour and associations' but they felt that he was ONLY carrying out pschiatric work on various individuals. (You do know that military psychiatrist are not ONLY used for military personel right? They do observe and possible treat the enemy too.) ... He was researching from the Walter Reed Medical Centre, his research was on radical beliefs, if you were interested.

    Of course the problem here is they couldn't truly see what his feelings and intentions were.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  16. Feb 8, 2010 #15


    "A senior U.S counter-terrorism official said Thursday night that the Army and FBI were looking into whether Hasan, who is Muslim, had previously come to the attention of federal law enforcement officials as the suspected author of inflammatory Internet comments likening suicide bombers to heroic soldiers who give their lives to save others.

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, said that authorities would examine Hasan's actions in the months leading up to the rampage in part to determine whether authorities had missed warning signs. "This is going to be a long and convoluted and messy investigation," the official said."

    You apparently don't think the investigation ended rather quickly?
  17. Feb 8, 2010 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Are you going to make a point soon, or are you going to continue to build up the suspense?

    I have no idea what you're getting at, so if zomgwtf is baffled by your comments, he's not alone.
  18. Feb 8, 2010 #17
    I was thinking the same thing, I just didn't bother to post anything... I honestly have no idea what he's getting at anymore.
  19. Feb 9, 2010 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    That's bizarre. The report also does not mention Yemen, jihad, or Muslim either. Perhaps that has something to do with the pending court case against Hasan, which resurfaces the issue of allowing judicial priorities to get in the way of military affairs.
  20. Feb 22, 2010 #19


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

  21. Feb 22, 2010 #20
    This article says:
    I'm curious to know what legal class of statements are not legally protected by the 1st amendment.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook