WEST POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 12, 2013) -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh spent today at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he met with cadets, faculty and staff during a series of forums that covered issues such as sexual assault prevention, cyber and national security.
Cadet Havana Schmidt and her colleagues met with McHugh to discuss the initiative they developed to help in the prevention of sexual assaults. Schmidt is the leader for the group Cadets Against Sexual Harassment/Assault, which is a grassroots initiative spearheaded by the cadets. The group discussed the origins of the new program, lessons learned to date, and their goals as they move into the second semester.
Schmidt said their main goal is to act as peer advisers and trainers to assist tactical and cadet leadership with the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, program.
McHugh recently released a list of priorities; a number of strategic issues and areas where he is currently focusing much of his time and effort. At the top of that list was sexual assault prevention.
"The CASH/A program is a good example of the initiative we both admire and expect from our future officers," McHugh said. "Not only is it a step in the right direction toward the prevention of sexual assault, one of my top priorities, it is also teaching them valuable lessons they will use down the road as leaders in the Army."
McHugh also cited cyber security as a focus area, and last fall directed the establishment of the Army Cyber Center at West Point.
Col. Greg Conti, the Army Cyber Center director, provided McHugh with an update of the center's progress and accomplishments. McHugh also met with members of the Cadet Competitive Cyber Team.
"West Point plays a vital role in helping the Army support the national cyber mission," McHugh said. "Programs like the Competitive Cyber Team provide cadets with opportunities to help develop innovative solutions to complex cyber security problems."
McHugh attended the Army Spirit Luncheon at the West Point Club where the Cadet Spirit Band and Rabble Rousers cheer team set the tone for a lively affair. Army Football Coach Rich Ellerson and the team captains addressed the crowd, promising to deliver their best against Navy Saturday in Philadelphia.
"December is always an exciting time at West Point," McHugh said. "I am glad I could make it out before the Army-Navy Game and am looking forward to an Army win on Saturday."
While at West Point, McHugh, as a guest lecturer, provided a dozen cadets in the National Security Seminar with insights on the importance of working together with Congress. McHugh, who was a member of the House of Representatives for 17 years, provided a unique perspective that intrigued cadets who asked many questions.