The Army took a first step Friday in transforming its Criminal Investigation Division into a mostly civilian agency when it handed the reins to former Navy investigator Greg Ford, about eight months after a damning review looking at Spc. Vanessa Guillén's murder at Fort Hood, Texas.
Ford, who officially became director in a Pentagon ceremony, has been handed the task of restructuring the 50-year-old agency from the top down as the Army rethinks how it investigates murders and sexual assault and misconduct.
"I would encourage every member of CID to be a part of the change and actively contribute ideas to the discussion," Ford said in his first address to agency personnel.
An independent review of Guillén's murder in April 2020 and the subsequent investigation released in December found deep systemic problems with Fort Hood's CID that affect the wider global agency. It said uniformed military agents were inexperienced and over assigned, and investigations were too long and under-resourced.
Most of the enlisted and nearly half of officer agents at Fort Hood were fresh from training school at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and not fully accredited to handle investigations on their own, a five-member independent commission wrote in the review. Former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy ordered the review amid public outcry over Guillén's disappearance and murder by another soldier.
The military agents typically were reassigned after 26 months, which led to a "rolling cascade" of new, inexperienced personnel, according to the report.
The Army has had to address "tough questions" over the past nine months about its criminal division and its structure, composition, size and leadership, Christopher Lowman, who is performing the duties of Army undersecretary, said at a swearing in ceremony for Ford.
"The CID of the future is designed to be mostly civilian in composition," said Lowman, who called it a historic transition.
Ford spent 16 years at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and was the deputy director of operations before being tapped to lead the Army agency in August. He also investigated tax crimes for the Internal Revenue Service and worked for the FBI on a terrorism task force.
The Army announced the overhaul in May based on the Fort Hood review, which also resulted in more than a dozen current or former military leaders being disciplined.
A single uniformed military officer had served as both the CID commander and the Army provost marshal general. Brig. Gen. Duane Miller, who filled the dual-hatted role, was to be promoted Friday and to serve solely as provost marshal general.
-- Travis Tritten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Travis_Tritten.