Col. James Kinkade (left), commander of the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Ferdinand, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, are pro-actively addressing the Army's sexual assault/harassment issues with the goal of eliminating them within the brigade and its three battalions. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Annette Simon, 402nd AFSB Public Affairs)

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- The SHARP program -- the Army's Sexual Harassment Assault / Response and Prevention program -- is not only the top stated priority for the Army's top leadership, but is also top priority for Col. James Kinkade, commander of the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Ferdinand.

Kinkade, who took command this summer, takes every opportunity to inform those under his command that sexual harassment and sexual assault will not be tolerated and that everyone must work together to eliminate this problem.

Recently, Kinkade and Ferdinand held a training forum for the brigade's Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and all SHARP Victim Advocates (VA).

This was the first of such forums that will take place on a monthly basis. At this forum, all VAs within the 402nd, to include the Army Field Support Battalion-Qatar -- who attended via video teleconference -- listened to Kinkade as he reiterated his intent.

The brigade has a total of three battalions and is one of seven brigades within the Army Sustainment Command headquartered at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. ASC supports Army and joint forces in support of the combat commanders around the world.

During the forum attendees were able to ask questions and share ideas on how unit personnel can do their part in helping to not only bring awareness, but to eliminate the problem.

Kinkade said there is an "insider threat" problem within the U.S. Armed Forces. This means sexual assault or harassment is committed by someone we serve side-by-side with.

He also shared expressed his willingness to take ideas and suggestions to make the program more interesting, viable and unified. Kinkade said he agrees that the brigade has achieved the point of awareness with photographs and posters across the 402nd's footprint informing personnel of who their SARC/VA's are and how to contact them. The 402nd AFSB will continue to build the program, he said.

"Common sense is not common; we must get others to think like us. We know what's right," Kinkade said.

Kinkade also announced a brigade policy that ensures he and Ferdinand speak to new brigade personnel within the first 24 to 48 hours of their arrival. It is very imperative that everyone is fully aware that sexual harassment and sexual assault will not tolerated, he said.

Ferdinand expressed that retainability is important to keep the SHARP program viable.

He said that he will ensure that the SARC/VA positions in the brigade and battalion are properly staffed at all times.

"This is not just a 'check the block' thing where we are just putting someone in just to fill a position," said Ferdinand. The SHARP program is consistently and constantly being discussed, he said.

The 402nd AFSB will definitely not only support the program, but will also quickly address any incidents that may lead up to sexual harassment or assault, he said.

Page last updated Tue November 5th, 2013 at 12:59