Fort Hood changed its post access program after military police detained a former soldier as the primary suspect in a shooting incident that occurred early Saturday morning.
No one was injured and no property was damaged in the incident, according to Fort Hood senior spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins.
Hours later, post officials announced that it was suspending it’s “Trusted Traveler” program for visitors and requiring “100 percent ID checks” for all personnel entering Fort Hood.
The program’s suspension, which went into effect 6 p.m. local time, was enacted “In order to enhance the security and public safety of the Fort Hood community,” according to the Fort Hood Facebook page.
All personnel entering Fort Hood must now present a valid Military ID, common access card, another federal personal identity verification card, or other DoD ID card, or a visitor pass to gain entry.
“The primary change at the gate is the DoD ID card holding driver can no longer vouch for passengers,” Caggins told Military Times. “All adult passengers must have ID or be registered at the visitor’s center.”
Fort Hood becomes the second U.S. military facility in a span of three days to suspend the access program designed to speed up gate traffic.
On Thursday, Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland, suspended its Trusted Traveler program after a man gained unauthorized access to the base and boarded a C-40 jet used to transport VIPs.
After the incident at JBA, home of Air Force One, Air Force officials announced a global review of its security procedures.
Incident in the parking lot
The suspected shooter was meeting with a group of current soldiers in a parking lot on base at around 12:50 a.m. when he discharged a handgun, according the Fort Hood media release.
The shooter was immediately disarmed and subdued by nearby on-duty soldiers who were not military police, Caggins told Military Times.
“We’re thankful for the swift and courageous actions of our soldiers who subdued the suspect and deescalated the situation until military police arrived,” said Caggins.
Military police responded within five minutes of the incident and apprehended the suspect, who is awaiting federal charges.
Continuing problems at Fort Hood
The Texas base saw 28 soldiers assigned to it die in 2020. The most prominent was Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s. Investigators say she was killed Apr. 22.
Guillen, a member of 3rd Cavalry Regiment, went missing that day, sparking an extensive search that came to an end June 30, when her remains were discovered near the Leon River. Prosecutors now say Guillen was killed by a fellow soldier in an armory on post. He died by suicide.
Guillen’s death also spotlighted issues with the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, or SHARP, and triggered the Government Accountability Office to review SHARP programs across the force this fall.
Guillen’s family alleged that she faced sexual harassment prior to her death, but did not report it for fear of reprisal. After those allegations came out, Army Forces Command sent a team to specifically review Fort Hood’s SHARP program.
An independent report on the installation’s command climate published in December 2020 led Army officials to relieve 14 leaders from command.
The report also exposed years of problems among the post’s criminal investigators, including understaffing and a lack of training and resources.
“In recent weeks, the III Corps commanding general initiated a review of installation access authorization — entering Fort Hood is a privilege not a right” said Caggins. “Also, a review of post access policy for former Soldiers who were separated for misconduct is underway. Our priority is the safety and security of the soldiers, families, civilians, and community members who work, live, and play at Fort Hood.”
In the wake of the new gate security checks, officials are urging personnel to plan for extra commute time during peak travel hours.
Harm Venhuizen is an editorial intern at Military Times. He is studying political science and philosophy at Calvin University, where he's also in the Army ROTC program.
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.