Army officials hold an off-camera, on-the-record Media Roundtable on Army Diversity And Equity Initiatives

By Audricia HarrisJune 25, 2020

Presenters: Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy; Army Chief Of Staff General James C. McConville; Sergeant Major Of The Army Michael Grinston; Anselm Beach, Deputy Assistant Secretary Of The Army, Equity And Inclusion; Lieutenant Colonel Carl J. Wojtaszek, Director, Office Of Economic And Manpower Analysis


STAFF: Hi, everybody, how are you? We have enough chairs, or --


STAFF: All right, so we'll go ahead and get started (inaudible), there's always (inaudible) here today, so you're going to have the opportunity to (inaudible).

Today, we have the secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy; Chief of Staff of the Army General James McConville; Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston; and we have Mr. Anselm Beach from Equity and Inclusion, and we also have Colonel Wojtaszek on the phone, he is from the Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis, to talk a little more about what we're doing with regards to our diversity initiatives studies.

So what we'll do, I'll hand it over to Mr. McCarthy just for some very short opening statements -- opening comments, and then we'll open it up to Q&A, all right?

(UNKNOWN): I got the guidance last time.

SECRETARY OF THE ARMY RYAN D. MCCARTHY: Yeah, obviously, the last month -- month and a half -- really, last month has been an extraordinary time. Over and above the COVID-19 pandemic, and we, as a leadership team, recognize we need to take a harder look at ourselves and make sure that we're doing all that we can to have a holistic effort to listen to our soldiers, our civilians and our families to enact initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

We're calling it Project Inclusion, and it's a way for us to enact, among the range of initiatives that we have in play, to include the training to elevate unconscious bias awareness and mitigate its impacts. As we continue to update these -- these efforts and training of our professional military education for equal opportunity, we know we have to do more.

As a leadership team, we are all going to be traveling to our installations to meet with groups of soldiers in small venues, and have very hard uncomfortable conversations.

We're going to examine UCMJ disparities in the Army, General Chuck Pede and Lieutenant General Leslie Smith, our inspector general, will come back to us in 60 days with their initial findings, and to continue to look at whether or not there are UCMJ disparities, find those root causes and address them accordingly.

And also, effective in August, we will be taking off the DA photo from our promotion boards, and that will be effective for our commissioned officers, our warrant officers, and noncommissioned officers, going forward.

A lot has to be done to address the symbolic challenges that we face that could create divisiveness in our ranks, as well at the substantive to ensure that every man and woman has the opportunity to reach their maximum potential. And this will be an enduring effort for the Army until we get ourselves -- continue to improve ourselves and be the best values-based institution we can be.

Chief, do you have any comments?


MR. MCCARTHY: Okay. It's open to your questions.

STAFF: All right, Courtney, we'll start with you.

Q: Just one quick one on the photo. Does the promotion packet also include -- I (inaudible) don't really know what they look like, does it include a box that just says "race," to identify.

SMA Grinston: On the list, the SRB does have race.

Q: -- (so ?) (inaudible) it still will the reviewing board will still know the individual (race even ?) if there's not a photo up (there ?) (inaudible)?


Q: Okay. And then can you talk a little bit more about the (inaudible) the training to elevate unconscious bias? What will that look like? Is that going to be group training, how will you do that?  And how do you think you can address that?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY ANSELM BEACH: Yeah, so we know intuitively that there's a lot of literature that talks about unconscious bias. And the Army has always been at the forefront in terms of lead and training efforts subsequent to diversity and inclusion.

And with this training, what we really want to do is -- is shift more from the visual kind of diversity to a more values-based diversity, meaning that then we need to migrate the conversation to look at different levels and what that construct should look like, specific to the biases that we all have.

And -- and -- and so that training would be entry-level training, it would be mid-level training and at the senior levels, having more interactive conversations about the things that -- that that diversity brings to the Army.

STAFF: All right, Jeff?

Q: Thank you.

Following up on Courtney's question, why not get rid of the box that says what race you are in order to completely get rid of any indicators for promotion boards?

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Yeah, that's -- that's a -- in fact, I -- I've got to check on the officers' side, but first that should -- I was going to recommend as a follow-on is -- is Carl is a social scientist and -- and what was interesting -- we -- I think it would be helpful to him to talk about --


GEN. MCCONVILLE: -- you know, the -- the science that they actually -- so Carl, are you up? Can you hear the questions?


GEN. MCCONVILLE: Can you go ahead? Because you know, you did a pretty extensive study at -- at our direction. Just -- why don't you just talk about the study that you all did, the experimentation, what you found out, and I think that might be helpful.

So he's from West Point. He's a Ph.D., very, very smart -- got a great team, and -- and they did some pretty specific studies in this because, you know, my previous job was as a G-1 in the Army and we used to, after every board we would survey the board members to say, "Hey, did -- should you have a -- a picture? Did this count?" And quite frankly, a lot -- a lot of board members in an anecdotally would say, "Hey, both minority, female -- we think the pictures should be there." But we wanted to do a scientific study to get the data.

So Carl, if you could explain what you've been doing over the last year and a half, that would be helpful, I think.

COL. WOJTASZEK: Yes, sir. So sir, our -- our study began in October of 2018, and it sought to better understand the role of the Department of the Army's photo within our promotion system. To do this we -- we set up an experiment where we ran two identical boards, one with the presence of the Department of the Army photo and then one without. And then our experiment was simply then to measure the difference between these two board outcomes.

I mean, our -- our -- from taking a careful look at the data we collected from those experiments our study finds that when you remove the D.A. photo the voter scores became more precise. Voters took less time to cast the votes on each individual file, and then the outcomes for minorities and women improved,

Q: (inaudible) so question: Why not get rid of the bottom that says what -- what race?

SERGEANT MAJOR OF THE ARMY MICHAEL GRINSTON: So we haven't completely ruled it out, especially on the enlisted side, on what we -- you know, as we go forward, to blacken out. But the study that -- that we were shown is a visual, not as much a written discriminator.

So when I look at the records, it's words on a page and they're evaluated. And as I go out, I see something, you know, the unconscious bias is -- is the picture, not necessarily the words. And we haven't ruled it out, but I don't know if Carl (inaudible).


GEN. MCCONVILLE: On the officers' side on that is it -- D. -- D.C., could you talk about that since you're our A.G. professional?

STAFF: Yes, sir. For the -- good -- good afternoon, everyone. For the board, for the one-officer side -- excuse me, the one officer and the officers -- and we will check this, but I believe it's redacted for the race that is on -- on the officers' side, but we will actually -- and what I mean by "races are redacted" is that you don't see the race. (inaudible) --

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Which I -- that's what I believe it is, but I want to make sure. We'll -- we'll -- we will get that for you out -- you know, it may be different on the enlisted side, and the officers --

SECARMY Sir, the -- the -- the study was run for commissioned officers.

GEN. MCCONVILLE: We'll take that --

Q: But you also testified, sir, that -- Carl said the -- the ratings were more precise. Carl? Carl, I don't know if you can hear me, sir. You said they were more precise. What does that mean, more precise?



COL. WOJTASZEK: Sir, what that means is that both -- the boards are made up of a various number of members, usually anywhere between, you know, nine and 17, and what you find is that it is -- each voter, of course, when you look at each voter's score on every single packet there is a variance among that. When you remove the Department of the Army's photo the voters' -- voters' scores, there's less variance between voters on it, and part of this is because the photo is introducing more -- more noise than signal about the officer's talents. Over.


Q: (inaudible) I'd like to ask you, Secretary McCarthy, if you've had certain conversations in the last month or two that have surprised you about things with regards to race in the Army that you didn't know before. Are there any anecdotes you can share with us? And then I'd like to get your thoughts on the changing of the names of some of the bases that are named for Confederate generals. I know you would like the Hill to be involved in that, but what are you thinking, and what are you doing to prepare for eventually changing the names, if that is what is recommended? What are your thoughts? What is the Army -- where do you stand right now on that?

MR. MCCARTHY: It -- it's part of why we wanted the -- the listening tours, the -- is to get out and invest exponentially more time engaging with soldiers at every echelon about these unconscious biases that may exist, the uncomfortable kind of discussions that are required to learn more and how to better understand the challenges every day that -- that -- that ethnic minorities may face and the -- is are there systemic flaws with the promotion system, or is there other things that are -- may be of a symbolic nature that cause division within our ranks? So that's why the -- the desire to have deliberate conversations is there, and we're going to invest a lot of time in that in the coming weeks and months.

Q: And the -- to the changing of the names of the bases and what your thinking is on that right now.

MR. MCCARTHY: Obviously, the -- the commander-in-chief put out specific guidance related to bases. There's a lot of discussion up in the Congress about this effort of a -- of a, potentially, a bipartisan panel that would go through this conversation.

In the Department of Defense Secretary Esper wants us to look at all of these challenges that potentially are in front of us and -- and have deliberate conversations so we can provide the best recommendations possible.

Q: Have you started having those conversations, though, about bases? Are you hearing from people in the Army who say they're not comfortable with the names of these bases?

MR. MCCARTHY: We -- you know, we've had some discussions here in the building, and we're going to have more at our installations. Yes?

Q: You talk about symbolic challenges, Confederate flags.  What are you going to do about the Confederate flag?

MR. MCCARTHY: We have talked about this with the secretary of defense, and then looking at, what is the uniform policy for Confederate symbols? We're working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense on a policy related to that.

Q: So how long before there is a policy on Confederate flags and other symbols or other -- you must already have instructions banning a lot of hate symbols. So -- but the Confederate flag is the one that gets the most attention. How long before you think there'll be a policy?

MR. MCCARTHY: Yeah, we're having --

Q: And why is it so hard?

MR. MCCARTHY: I'm sorry?

Q: Why is it so hard to come up with a policy on the Confederate flag?

MR. MCCARTHY: We've made recommendations at this point, and we're working with the secretary of defense to get an outcome.

Q: But other -- one other service has done it on its own. Why don't you just do it on your own?

MR. MCCARTHY: Secretary of defense wants to make a uniform decision for the policy for the department.

Q: That will apply to all services, is what you're saying?

MR. MCCARTHY: It depends on the outcome, but it would be a -- a uniformed policy for the Department of Defense.

Q: Could that policy be overturned -- what the other branches have already done?

MR. MCCARTHY: I'm not going to imply anything.

Q: Well a uniformed policy would mean all of the service branches would have to follow it, correct?

MR. MCCARTHY: In whatever direction --

Q: The direction -- yeah. Okay, that's right.

MR. MCCARTHY: Did you want to add something? I'm sorry.

MR. BEACH: If I may, so the (inaudible) -- the -- the -- you know, the -- they have a conversation around Confederate symbols. There's also an Army regulation 620 that just talks about symbols that are not conducive to good order and discipline and commanders at local levels already enforce policy that looks at issues that challenge good order and discipline.

And -- and so why don't the Confederate flag maybe a topic -- and -- and it is a relevant topic, given the -- the -- the issue. There's already existing Army policy that looks at that. In addition to what's -- the Secretary said about these conversations, you know, you -- this period of time really provided the Army with a -- with a moment to be a little bit more introspective because we already do these sessions but we wanted to ensure that we provide a time for these -- for this very difficult -- difficult conversation within two -- two very important constructs.

One is ensuring that -- their psychological safety. So -- so because these subjects are very uncomfortable, we could -- we could go out and we could do that and there is leadership dedicated to doing that. The other aspect of that is mission readiness. So it provides us with an opportunity to really get to these conversations, get these uncomfortable subjects out that we can -- so we can talk about the things that we already do in the Army, which is be ready to defend this nation.

And -- and so soldiers at all levels, we are empowering them to be able to have this conversation in a manner that doesn't allow us to fluctuate up and down but to have a more steady state because we that there will be more challenges in the future.

Reporter:  Yeah, I would -- anyone who's ever been in the Army knows that there is -- there -- there's always classes you have to do on a variety of subjects. How are you going to make -- and – and for a lot of people. I mean, I was a platoon leader myself, it was kind of an annoyance cause I want to go back and train. How do you -- or how are you going to ensure that this diversity training is actually something that's more than just an obligation to -- to punch a box on the training schedule for the week?

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Yeah, I -- I -- I'm going to (inaudible),  turn to the SMA maybe but I want to say something up front, though -- is, you know, what makes us the world's greatest Army is -- is the unit cohesion and -- and -- and it's almost like the secret sauce, it's what makes soldiers run through withering fire when -- there's soldiers being carried away by the Taliban.

So Sergeant Major is -- is -- is working This Is My Squad but this all comes together. So as we talked about, anything that breaks down good order and discipline that makes people don't feel that they're a valued member of the team is something we have to go after.

And Sergeant Major, you want to talk about where we're going on that with This Is My Squad and some of the things we've put into place?

SGT. MAJ. GRINSTON: About a year ago, we talked about, you know, This Is My Squad and what it was. It's not focused in on one element, it just focuses in -- or one program or stovepipe, it's about how you change the culture that looks at the leader in the middle but makes an effect with all of the other things that are around it.

So if I have a fit, disciplined, well trained leader that is inclusive, all these -- these other things tend to be better. And how do we measure that? Do they have good PT tests? Do we need to look at how they're trained? And it's not a check the block.

So this is trying to change the culture where it shows ownership, where, you know, the personal pronoun of "my," meaning that's my leader and those are my soldiers, where it's inclusive and we protect it. So that's the premise of This Is My Squad, it's about the leadership and about showing ownership for all of those that are in your -- in your small group. And it's not about (inaudible) squad, it's about -- and I'd say you may have a couple of the squads.

So my squad is really cool. I got the Chief of Staff, I've got the Secretary and the Vice but I also have a family squad -- my wife, my kids. And those know me and they're close to me and we take care of each other, we know if something's bad and we include them, we talk to them.

So we're trying to get that inculcated even more -- we've done this for years -- but really drive that culture of inclusiveness and personal ownership of those below us and the subordinates have an obligation to the leader too.

And I think that opens up the conversations. When you have that trust I think in the small unit leaders and we have these difficult topics to talk about, you're going to actually hear the true stories. So we've been working on this for a year, we're teaching that in the professional military education for NCOs at the basic leader course, we're having conversations -- and I just did one on Fort Bragg with Staff Sergeant two days ago. So that's how we're trying to change that culture.

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Yeah, I'd -- I'd just add too is, you know, we're right now meeting with all of the four stars and in fact, I just took a break to come down here and talk to you all but, you know, what is the profession above? And -- and that conversation's going on at the highest levels.

And, you know, Jennifer asked, you know, what -- what have you learned during these discussions? One of the takeaways -- I've always been a -- a -- a aggressive proponent of diversity but it's really more inclusion. You know, it's making people feel like they're -- it's not just about percentages, it's not about numbers, it's not about -- it's really making feel -- people feel that they're a valued member of the team and you recognize the importance of having different perspectives.

And, you know, the -- the takeaway from Carl's study was it -- it -- you know, somebody go "is it racism, is it bias?" It's just that people, if they don't think about it, they tend to want to be around people that look and think and act like them and -- and when you get to a higher level, you start to realize you want diversity because you want to -- you want different perspectives, you want people from all walks of life, from different ethnicities, different races, different genders, different branches all to come together and give you a picture of things that you may not see.

And -- and -- and that's where we're going with this -- this whole projection inclusion part. It's -- it's much more -- and this is not something that just happened over the last month or two, this has been going on for quite a while. That study was -- was commissioned about 18 months ago.

You know, the team has put together 20 initiatives to drive, you know, diversity. I mean, there's a lot of things going on and it -- it really gets down to the whole talent management program where we are competing for talent and we'll keep competing for the best and brightest across the diversity of the United States.

And it -- it's -- it's about doing the right thing but -- but -- but that's what we need to do to remain -- to maintain the best Army in the world, we have to do that and we will.

STAFF: Robin?

Q: General McConville, one (in audible) question if I might then back to the -- the -- on the (in audible) question. Just curious whether you've heard yet from any base commanders about their thinking about what they might want to do differently to deal with the uptick in coronavirus in key states, such as Texas?

So could I ask you that first --

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Yeah, you can. In fact, I -- I shared my little graph here -- you can't see it but we track by base and we've had a --

Q: (inaudible) heard anything from any of them?

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Yeah, well we have. Well I actually put out something yesterday, just to kind of reinforce what's going -- you know, we're not really seeing -- we've had a couple of upticks, we've talked about this. We heard one at Fort Benning, we went and had Fort Jackson. We're doing -- you know, when we bring in the -- the new young men and -- and women, it's -- we're finding a lot they all, almost to a person, they come in with no symptoms --


Q: -- Texas where the (inaudible) --

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Yeah, but we -- we -- I mean, I'm very concerned because I'm watching the same news that you watch, and I'm seeing it -- the numbers right now don't show us having an uptick in a cluster at any of our bases. But, again, I put out something yesterday just because I'm watching what's going on.

And we've been pretty successful in doing some very difficult things because we've kind of held to the standards of wearing a mask, doing the testing, doing the screening and very disciplined about it.

But there's many parts of the country, as we see, where they're not -- you go outside the gates, and you -- people think there's no longer a threat to corona-- I think there is, and I think we need to take it seriously and that's the guidance that we've put out to our unit commanders, is we have to take it seriously.

Q: So, I'm sorry --


Q: -- I do have a question about diversity, but could you consider giving the media a copy of whatever you put out yesterday? Can we have it?

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Sure, absolutely. We'll give you that. You saw my statement, absolutely, yeah.

Q: Okay, thank you.

Back on the diversity question --


Q: -- so, you know, the commandant, back in April, banned Confederate flag and --


Q: -- Confederate flag symbols. We know the Army was working on something, the Navy, the Air Force. So the Joint Chiefs clearly, separate from the politics of the situation, the --


Q: -- Joint Chiefs clearly had a military view that this was a divisive symbol.


Q: So how do we conclude -- why didn't the -- why didn't the Army move ahead and do it? Did you get stopped by the politics of the situation, did you get stopped by -- it seemed like you were headed in that direction. Correct me, please, but it seems like the U.S. Military already knows the flag is seen as divisive to many, and so you don't want divisive symbols.

The names are seen as divisive --


Q: -- to many, not all. But you don't want those divisive symbols. So --


GEN. MCCONVILLE: Yeah, and I think as you know, the roles of the chairman, the chief of staff of the Army, some people don't. You all know this, but we're advisers and what we do is, we give best military advice and we pass that best military advice to our -- our civilian leaders, and -- and they are working through that and trying to come up with a long-term and enduring policy, quite frankly, that -- what we're looking for is to bring people together.

And I can certainly give -- you know, the secretary and I have talked about that, the chairman and I have talked about that, the chiefs have talked about that. We certainly have some ideas on the best way to do this, whether it's -- it's the symbology of certain things or it's taking a look at what the names of certain posts should be. And there's certainly room to take a look at it.

I mean, we have renamed -- there's a place called Fort Myer over here, that many of you have been to. Before, it used to be called Fort Whipple. You know, so it's not -- you know, I mean, again, as we go through the process, you know, there's some value in bringing people together around decisions that are going to -- we're looking to improve good order and discipline and make people feel that they're valued members. And that's my best military advice.

Q: So it's hard to conclude anything but your best military advise is that the flag and the names are divisive to the U.S. Army?

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Well, I think I'd defer to the secretary on that one, it's --



Q: I'd like your -- what do -- you've --

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Well, I think we need to take a look at all those (type ?) type of things, absolutely. That's my) best military advice.

Q: But you're not yet ready to commit to saying it's divisive?

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Well, I think we need -- what we need is, we need a long-term, enduring solution to bring all people together that are concerned about those issues. And you know, we've done other type of studies on things, and I think the discussion that's going on right now is really important, and I think we need to consider that, so.

STAFF: (inaudible) Tom, you'll have the last question.

Q: Yes, I'm Terace Garnier with Newsy. I actually have two questions for Secretary McCarthy. The first one will be on your topic, and the other one will be off-topic.

Is there any sort of training that you're doing -- I know you said you're doing a lot of training for inclusion, but is there any sort of training that you're doing for African-American soldiers? For instance -- I'm going to give you an example, why I'm asking this -- that have to deal with police and being pulled over.

I'm going to tell you why I'm asking that. My father, master gunnery sergeant, retired, was pulled over by a cop and had a gun drawn on him, and he did nothing wrong. And they called him "Boy," so they used a racist term.

Are you training your soldiers what to do to handle those kinds of situations? Can they go to a chaplain? What do they do in those sorts of situations? He was a master gunnery sergeant, and they backed off after he explained that, but it was the fact that he even had to go through that to begin with.

So what are you doing to help your soldiers -- black soldiers -- to prepare for any of those instances that may happen?

MR. MCCARTHY: I'm sorry for that. Was actually an NCO in my immediate office that had a very similar experience in New York City, a couple years ago. And I mean, it's awful, I'm sorry.

With respect to the specific types of training with that, I think SMA is probably the best person to talk about that, how we -- how we train the soldiers on that. But a lot of that is just the cool -- the -- talking to soldiers and having them calm, cool, collected in that environment, which is very difficult to do.

But I mean, I don't know specifically, like a particular professional military education regimen, but they are the types of things -- we talk to soldiers when they -- before they go out on weekends, and give safety briefings about how to carry themselves.

Q: So are you considering making some sort of unified-type training that could go over those things, especially with the climate that we're dealing with right now?

MR. MCCARTHY: Yes, absolutely.

Q: Okay. And then my second question -- this is off-topic -- you know, there's a lot of anxiousness going around, and there's a lot of people who want to express themselves freely by protesting. There's expected to be protests coming up this weekend.  I'm assuming that's why the Guard was activated, I'm assuming.

But my question for you is, I know that the helicopter situation is under investigation. However, what can you say to people to make them feel that they can come out freely and voice their concerns without the fear that the military might be used against them?

MR. MCCARTHY: So with respect to guardsmen supporting law enforcement for -- to secure federal property or buildings, we are in a support function. They go out unarmed, and that we -- our preference, of course, would be law enforcement to conduct these types of operations in American cities. It shows the level of concern, when you put uniformed personnel on city streets.

We have been -- we're very proud of, in particular here in the capital, that our soldiers did not put a hand on a civilian, even though we had seven soldiers hit in the head with bricks and were -- had to get medical treatment for that.

Things did become very violent for several days here in the city, north of 430 arrests in three days. So there -- it was of concern. But we are doing the best we can to de-escalate and keep this with the law enforcement community. The soldiers that you referenced, that were activated to support a tasking of 130 personnel for the Park Police, we -- the last two nights that these soldiers have been activated, they have not left the armory.

It is our preference that they maintaining in the reserve posture, and if necessary, to support operations.

Q: And so you're saying that the incidents with the helicopter, we should -- will not happen again.


Q: That incident, it will not happen again.

MR. MCCARTHY: It's under investigation. We'll understand more specifics, but we -- we'll -- we'll know more then.

Q: And I'm sorry, my last question -- what are you doing to protect your Guardsmen? Because there was an incident where two Guardsmen had ordered pizzas while they were here from South Carolina, and they found glass in their pizzas. So what are you doing to make sure that you're protecting those Guardsmen who are here to make sure that they're not being retaliated against for helping the people in their own community?

MR. MCCARTHY: I was unaware of the that incident with the pizzas, and I'll -- I'll talk with General Walker to ensure the appropriate measures are in place. But thank you for bringing that to my attention.

STAFF: All right, and to our last question, Tom?

Q: Hi. Just wanted to follow up, sir. You mentioned with Section 600 that gives local commanders the ability to remove materials that are -- could be divisive within the squad. You've mentioned --

MR. MCCARTHY: SMA: 600-S20 is -- I think that's the Army Command policy.


Q: That's just (inaudible) who try to fight. There could be white supremists or any type of --

MR. MCCARTHY SMA: Yeah. It's the Army Command policy.

Q: All right, thanks. You know, regarding the white supremist incident in Europe with the ambush, what -- could you bring us up to date on that, please, and what's happening, and how -- how that was uncovered, if you can share, and -- and what's happening now with that. (inaudible). You know what I'm referring to, right?

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Yeah, I do, I do. I'm just -- I'm just trying to think about what we, you know --


GEN. MCCONVILLE: What -- I mean -- I mean, there's -- there is a criminal investigation ongoing. The -- you know, we -- right now we -- you know, we're -- we're certainly looking throughout the force. We -- we we have certain things that come into extremism that we will not tolerate in the military, and some of these are criminal matters; some of these are more administrative-type of matters. And what we can say is we have the appropriate people doing an investigation and -- and -- and they're going to hold those people accountable that -- under a law that allows -- and I -- and I -- I don't think I can go too much more into that because --

Q: Is it fair to characterize this as a pretty serious incident?

GEN. MCCONVILLE: Well, I think we have to wait to see. There's been allegations made. I think we need to let the -- the justice system work, and then we can characterize just how serious that was.

Q: Okay, thank you.

Q: Mr. -- Mr. Secretary, if you don't mind --


Q: Are you seeing a rise in white nationalism and white nationalist events in the Army? Is that a fair characterization?

(UNKNOWN): (inaudible) based on (inaudible) --

Q: And if so, why?

Q: Do you -- do you track that from --

MR. BEACH: So -- so we -- we track some -- some data sets, and I'll have to go back and look at that data. But as of now I don't think we have seen a specific rise, but we would need to clarify that.

Q: Okay.


STAFF: (inaudible) ladies and gentlemen.

MR. MCCARTHY: We'll get all the data to you all.


STAFF: Sergeant Major, did you have something?

SGT. MAJ. GRINSTON: I do want to -- very quickly, you talk about what training we would do in the -- in event that a soldier was treated poorly off the installation. First of all, we have plenty of places that they'd talk to their leaders, (inaudible), behavioral health, chaplains. But my frustration would be we're -- you're talking about how we would act as a soldier under a condition that shouldn't happen. So I would like to say our soldiers are disciplined, well-trained in what they do. But we -- you know, we shouldn't be putting them in that situation. That -- that situation should not happen, to do training.

We have not implemented training on that, but that is something that we as a nation need to get better, as opposed to train our soldiers on -- on a -- how to act in a situation we shouldn't be put in at all. That's -- that's my experience. We are well-disciplined, well-trained, but I -- I think the -- in my -- when I hear this, the root cause is, let's not put our soldiers in those situations.


MR. MCCARTHY: Sure, Barbara.

Q: I want to ask you, do you look at what happened in Washington, D.C. and the use of National Guard and all these other federal law enforcement agencies, does it concern you, or are you thinking about the profile that the public saw was militarized -- militarized uniforms, gear -- whoever the people were, the enforcement personnel, the public doesn't really often, and can't really be expected to know exactly who is who at a given point on the street. Is there a concern that just, it's all getting too militarized-looking? The National Guard, but it still might say "U.S. Army" on the pocket. Is -- does this -- is this something that needs to be thought about as you look at the whole picture?

MR. MCCARTHY: Yeah, you've asked a bunch of questions there, and I'll address all of them. I -- I've probably talk to 75 or 100 members of Congress in the last month, and every single one of them had to ask, were those your guys here or there?" And I said, "No, we didn't put a hand on a civilian."

But to your point, because of multiple law enforcement agencies and uniforms and how the people look, you know, in -- in an iPhone, on the street, somebody taking a video, it looked like it. So it -- we've had to explain to a lot of, in particular, legislators and the media about that. So it did -- it would -- it added to the complexity. There were several -- I mean, probably a dozen law enforcement agencies that had sent agents to support the civil unrest here in the Capitol.

And then to your point about the perception for U.S. soldiers on city streets, we don't want them on the streets unless it's an absolutely, the most extreme case. And I -- and it's the one thing that, you know, the chief and I talk about. That was a long week, and we did everything we could to de-escalate it as quickly as possible, and we were successful. But we wanted to make sure that we get this back in law enforcement hands, settle things down in the Capitol and enable peaceful demonstration.

So it is of concern, and so we watch very closely and we're working real hard to continue to de-escalate. And it's as much of enabling peaceful protests, but also having these kinds of conversations and taking action, and we're prepared to do that.

Q: Were you satisfied with the command -- commanding troops (inaudible) command and control you saw the -- those first couple of nights, or do you think there needs to be, because there was so much complexity, because there were so many different agencies participating?

MR. MCCARTHY: A couple things. It's an incredibly dynamic -- it was incredibly dynamic. So the -- in particular, you had thousands of people that were just there talking the -- you know, having this very difficult conversational anger, frustration about George Floyd, about Breonna Taylor, about Ahmaud Arbery. But then there were a lot of people that exploited it, and it's very hard to know about these groups. Even the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, how -- how little they know about some of these extremist groups. How do you collect intelligence on these domestic groups that are going to do bad things? So that made it very hard and very dynamic. But yes, it's a very complex command-and-control architecture because you shift your weight downtown in someone else's jurisdiction. So we had to establish a -- a combined headquarters for everybody to work out of and talk to each other -- with Metro P.D., with -- and the Capitol Police, Park Police. So it was very, very complex, so a lot of people had to put their trust in each other that didn't know each other, and you know we were fortunate to get through that week.

Q: Thank you.