Army

June 14, 2013

McHugh creates greater oversight, screening of those who aid victims

Secretary of the Army John McHugh speaks during the 6th Annual I. A.M. Strong Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention Summit, held on Joint Base Andrews, Md., Tuesday. The SHARP program is the Army’s principal program to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assaults. The goal is to eliminate incidents of sexual harassment and assault through a comprehensive program that centers on awareness and prevention, training and education, reporting options, timely responses, and victim support services and accountability. The purpose of the summit is to provide forums for commanders to learn best practices from each other, as well as engage the commanders in an open discussion about the strategic future direction of the SHARP Program and how to meet Army goals.

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. – Secretary of the Army John McHugh Tuesday detailed a new directive that will make the Army the first military branch to require behavioral health screenings for those who counsel sexual assault victims.

During remarks at the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, conference, held at Joint Base Andrews, Md., McHugh also said that he has directed Army leaders to devise a plan to incentivize and reward those who serve as counselors and victim advocates, creating more effective means to identify and acknowledge the best qualified Soldiers and civilians to serve in those positions.

“These are positions of intense, personal trust, and we need to make certain that those selected have the right tools and skills needed to carry them out effectively,” he told Army leaders attending Tuesday’s conference. “Moreover, these jobs are often stressful, and we owe it to those who serve in them the means to better ensure their own continued behavioral health and well-being. This new system will benefit both victims and their advocates alike.”

In addition to the screening, McHugh wants Army personnel officials to devise a plan that would incentivize service as a sexual assault response coordinator, or SARCs, or sexual assault prevention and response victim advocates, or SAPR VAs.

“Under our current design, there really is no reward for Soldiers who do their job well, no recognition as there are in other fields and occupations in the Army for taking these assignments and doing them well, something to help them advance their careers,” McHugh said. “As in other fields, we have to incentivize this mission, not just to encourage commanders to pick their best, but to ensure that Soldiers who serve honorably and do what we expect of them will be duly recognized in appropriate ways as well.”

McHugh said he first raised the idea of incentivizing SARC and VA positions during a recent White House meeting where service secretaries and chiefs of staff discussed their respective plans to combat sexual assault. Afterward, President Barack Obama offered public support for the concept.

“I think Secretary of the Army McHugh made a very good point, which is I’m not sure we’ve incentivized some of our top people to understand this is as core to our mission as anything else,” said Obama, May 16, “and we’ve got to reward them, not think of this as a sideline for anything else that they do, but incentivize ambitious folks in the ranks to make sure that they understand this is important. So that’s part of accountability.”

McHugh’s directive also places new restrictions on who can hire SARCs and SAPR VAs, those whom the Army secretary called “front-line forces” in the fight against sexual assault. McHugh is limiting the ability to appoint SARCS to the first general officer or civilian equivalent, a member of the Senior Executive Service, within the chain command. Only brigade commanders, or their equivalent-level commander or civilian supervisor, may appoint SAPR VAs. Hiring authorities may not be delegated.

“It will not only help to better ensure we select the very best people for these posts, but that the chain of command knows what we expect of them, and how important that work is to the Army,” he said. “In short, I believe elevating the appointment authority within the chain of command will increase responsibility, accountability as well as oversight.”

McHugh stressed that his action is not a reflection on the nearly 10,000 Soldiers and civilians currently serving in those positions.

“We have committed, dedicated and well-trained people currently serving across the Army, who work with victims compassionately, responsibly and effectively,” McHugh said. “But we believe we can do more to make the system better, and are committed to doing so.”

McHugh first outlined details of the directive during testimony before the Senate’s Defense Appropriations subcommittee, May 22. It comes amid a DOD-wide requirement to re-train, re-credential, and re-screen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters prompted by a number of high profile sexual assault and abuse cases in the military.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Gabrielle Kuholski

Antiterrorism Exercise assesses installation readiness, reinforces important relationships

Gabrielle Kuholski First responders with the Fort Huachuca and Whetstone Fire Departments work together to get a wounded Soldier into an ambulance during the full scale exercise, Apache Warrior 2013, Tuesday. These first respon...
 
 

Labor Day Safety Message

Labor Day marks the traditional end of the summer season and celebrates the American worker and the contributions they make to our great country. I want to commend you on your efforts to control heat injuries through another hot summer. Your diligence and care for teammates contributed to an overall 20-percent decrease in accident fatalities...
 
 
Gabrielle Kuholski

VA clinical psychologist raises military sexual trauma awareness

Gabrielle Kuholski Michael Moore, Ph.D., military sexual trauma coordinator at the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Tucson, presents a session on military sexual trauma, or MST, in the Murr Community Cent...
 

 

Glass recycling now available in Sierra Vista

SIERRA VISTA – Clean glass bottles and jars can be dropped off for recycling at the new Sierra Vista Glass Recycling Depot as part of the city’s trial glass recycling project. The Glass Recycling Depot, located in the parking lot of the Pedro Castro Government Maintenance Center, is a glass collection point that is separate...
 
 
Maranda Flynn

FH Community Spouses’ Club accepting new members, shares plans for coming year

Maranda Flynn Fort Huachuca Community Spouses’ Club board members, Katrina LaDue and Lesley Hocker, (left foreground and background), assist new club members, Dana Edwards and Sandi Weishaupt, (right foreground and background...
 
 

Retiree Council shares news, notes Did you forget to care for your Family?

No one forgets to care for his or her Family on purpose. It just happens – more often than one might think when it comes to the military Survivor Benefit Plan, or SBP. Most often, retired Soldiers don’t know the federal law and the time limits it imposes on maintaining their SBP elections. If a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin