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Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has yet to personally call and offer condolences to the family of Spc. Vanessa Guillén, a 20-year-old soldier murdered in April at Fort Hood, the family’s lawyer told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

“The Secretary of the Army has not even called this family, and it’s been well over three months since Vanessa went missing,” said the family’s attorney Natalie Khawam.

Meanwhile, she said, “The President of the United States of America found the time in his very busy schedule to not only call the Guillén family but also invited this beautiful family to his home. He was hospitable with us, very generous with his time, compassionate and empathetic with the family and me in the Oval Office of the White House.”

She added that McCarthy has scheduled a press conference for Thursday with media at Fort Hood, Texas, but has not even contacted the Guillén family to let them know it was happening. The press conference is “to discuss the Army’s efforts to address the recent events at Fort Hood,” according to a press release.

“President Trump even found time to meet and speak with this family and yet McCarthy is still doing press conferences without a single call to this poor family whose daughter they sent to serve in his Army,” Khawam added.

Guillén’s family, along with Khawam, met with Trump in the Oval Office on Thursday. Trump said he would help her family with funeral expenses and directed the Justice Department and the FBI to investigate what happened to Guillen.

Guillén’s murder has become a rallying cry for women veterans and service members who have faced sexual assault and harassment in their military careers. Guillén told her family before she went missing that she had been sexually harassed by fellow soldiers, including by Spc. Aaron David Robinson, 20, who had allegedly walked in on Guillen while she was showering in a locker room and watched.

She was reported missing in April but her remains were not found until July.

After police issued a “Be On the Lookout” (BOLO) alert for Robinson in July, Robinson fled and killed himself as police approached. Police arrested his girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, who told police that Robinson had killed Guillén with a hammer in an armory room on base and enlisted her help to bury her body in April.

McCarthy first tweeted about Guillén in late June — two months after her disappearance, and after Guillén’s murder began gathering national awareness.


We are doing everything in our power to get her back and will not stop until we do.

— SecArmy (@SecArmy) June 29, 2020

After the Army found her remains and confirmed her death on July 6, McCarthy still did not call Guillén’s family, but tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers” were with them.

My thoughts and prayers are with Vanessa’s family and all of her loved ones, and our focus is turned to supporting her family and honoring her legacy.

— SecArmy (@SecArmy) July 6, 2020

McCarthy on July 10 announced after meeting with members of Congress and the activist group League of United Latin American Citizens that he has directed an “independent, comprehensive review of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood, as well as the surrounding military community.”

The family has called repeatedly for a congressional investigation, not an Army-directed investigation, however.

Lupe Guillén, 16, slammed McCarthy at a press conference last week after meeting with the president for not inviting her to the July 10 meeting.

“We keep demanding a congressional investigation! Where is it? Secretary of the Army — where is it?” she said. “I wasn’t there, they didn’t tell me! You know how frustrating it was for me to not be there? Because I’m family! No one else is family for Vanessa! I’m her family! I need to know every single step of this issue! Every single step!”

“Instead of Governor [of Texas Greg] Abbott, instead of the secretary of the Army, it is the president who is talking to me. I am not nervous to talk with him because this needs to stop,” she said.

Lupe Guillen, the sister of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, said she has not heard from Governor Abbott or the Secretary of the Army following the death of her sister. She says she has only heard from President Trump.#JusticeForVanessaGuillen

— 25NewsKXXV (@25NewsKXXV) July 30, 2020

A spokesperson for McCarthy confirmed to Breitbart News that he had not contacted the family:

“Yes that’s correct. Although — he has always been open to meet with the Guillén family. The Chief of Staff of the Army recently met with the Guillén family.”

Khawam said she contacted McCarthy’s office in June, but has not received a call back yet.

“I’m troubled by his lack of compassion to the family and sincerity about meeting with the family,” she said.


Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook.

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Army improves Abrams tank gun system with upgraded fire control

The Army has been upgrading and augmenting the attack system for its Abrams tank to ensure a clearer view for gunners looking to find, engage and destroy targets. 

The effort involves upgrading and modifying Kongsberg’s Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station, a combat-tested technology that lets soldiers control and fire a vehicle weapon from beneath the protection of armor by virtue of looking at a video screen and leveraging advanced fire-control technology.

Kongsberg took 300 systems and manufactured the smaller, lower profile systems the Army wanted to change as a way to help modify the weapons system for more efficient use. Low Profile Crew Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) remain in production for the Abrams and various U.S. allied systems. Kongsberg is the sole provider for Remote Weapons Systems throughout the Defense Department and, company developers say, has worked to sustain combat-tested systems and also adapt to a new, fast-changing threat environment through innovations. 

“Low Profile CROWS is a shorter version of CROWS. It is built with a 10-inch reduction to build a shorter system because requirements from the Abrams community included not having any field of view obstruction,” Scott Burk, vice president, Kongsberg Defense, told The National Interest in an interview. 


CROWS continues to be upgraded with new fire-control technology, AI and higher-fidelity long-range sensors. 

An M1A2 Abrams tanks assigned to 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, fires a 120mm Sabot tank round at a target during Gunnery Live Fire Qualifications at the Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait, April 26, 2015 - file photo. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Shaun Manley, 3rd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div., Public Affairs Officer)

The systems not only arm the Abrams tank but are essentially integrated across multiple fleets in the Army, including Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, Strykers and even Humvees. Attacking or tracking targets while under armor is, it goes without saying, a huge priority for land war tacticians because it lets soldiers operate while less vulnerable to enemy fire. 

Improvements to range and resolution of targeting sensors – and added integration with vehicle-mounted radar and EW [Electronic Warfare] antennas – can greatly optimize under-armor attack possibilities, enabling various kinds of otherwise impossible armored attack maneuvers.

Newer CROWS are increasingly engineered for what Burk called “commonality” across the fleet, meaning they are designed with a technical infrastructure that allows them to accommodate new weapons and threat-specific software upgrades as needed.


Burk called the upgrade effort a “tech refresh,” explaining that the upgrades bring new, previously unavailable attack technology to tactical warfare. 

“We’ve always had the ability to do 'slew to cue,' taking data from one sensor, and now we are able to do that with many sensors at one time,” Burk said. 


This new modification introduces some interesting tactical possibilities and lends itself to higher-speed, AI-enabled information processing of otherwise disparate pools of combat-critical sensor data. Perhaps one sensor sees enemy armored vehicles at relevant ranges closing in to contact, while yet another system discerns air targets or terrain obstacles. A single, integrated system can massively expedite sensor-to-shooter time and help contribute to the Army’s sought-after “kill web” intended to connect any sensor to any shooter in real time. 

-- Kris Osborn is the Managing Editor of Warrior Maven and The Defense Editor of The National Interest --

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