FORT HOOD, Texas (Jan. 15, 2014) -- Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. Campbell visited with leaders and Soldiers, including a select group of female troops from across the installation here, Jan. 6.

Campbell met with the groups to conduct sensing sessions and discuss hot topics that are currently affecting the Army.

He said one important topic for Army leaders and Congress is the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.

"What I see as I go out to posts, camps or stations is a greater emphasis on everything related to SHARP," Campbell said. "Picking the right SHARP representatives, improving the training for SHARP representatives. So I'm starting to see that culture change that we need."

Sexual harassment and assault isn't just an issue for the Army, Campbell said.

"This is a national problem, it's not just in the military," Campbell said. "I feel very good now that it's starting to get embedded and operationalized in all the posts, camps and installations.

"We've had a lot of initiatives that will be dictated from Congress in the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), many of those we worked hand in hand with Congress," Campbell said. "Whether it's adjustments to the UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice), adjustments of Article 32, (or) how we treat reporting, we're really starting to see some improvements."

Incident reporting numbers have increased, but what does Campbell thinks this signifies?

"In the last quarter the number of reports probably doubled," Campbell said. "We're seeing that indicates, to me anyway, that maybe (there are) not more incidents, but more people are reporting because they have more trust and confidence in their chain of command.

"Actually, many of those reports are coming from folks that it happened to them before they even came in the Army, or it happened years ago and they feel more comfortable in their chain of command and that somebody will do something, so they're reporting it more. That's a good thing," he added.

Another topic the vice chief discussed was the impact of the budget to the Army. Back in June 2013, Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army chief of staff, announced the Army would be cutting its budget by $170 billion, and reducing its force strength from 570,000 to 490,000, by the end of 2017.

"The bottom line is that under the budget that we have, if we do nothing or if we go along a route we're going to end up cutting out hundreds of aircraft, and they may not be the right ones," Campbell said of how cuts could affect Army aviation. "And we want to control our destiny and make sure that we only take out the aircraft that makes sense.

"We're probably going down from seven types to only three or four types, and then we can continue to modernize our aircraft. And if we don't, then our aviation for the future is going to in the hole," he added.

Campbell also touched how the Army is looking into the capabilities of a brigade, while still cutting its manning from 4,500 to 3,000. The answer may be in technological advances.

"With technology," Campbell said. "Robotics, can that help us? Do we need a nine-person vehicle or can we get a six-person?

"What we're trying to do now is make sure over the next several years we keep our S and T (science and technology) budget up and put research in there so we can help ourselves down in 2025," Campbell said. "Right now, everybody's worried about right here, (but) what the chief has to do is look out 15-20 years and make sure the Army's ready there."

As the Army continues to restructure and equip itself as a future force, the vice chief said the total number of troops in the force will most likely go below the 490,000 mandated by sequestration.

"With full sequestration, were going to go below 490[,000]," Campbell said. "There's no doubt in my mind we'll go below 490[,000]. Four-hundred-fifty (thousand) is the number that the chief and our analysis tells us is the lowest that we can go and still meet the defense strategic guidance that we have to get after.

"(The) budget," Campbell added, "is going to drive this thing."