FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Feb. 26, 2015) -- Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey spoke with students of the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program's, or SHARP's, baseline certification course at the SHARP Academy on Fort Leavenworth, Feb. 26.

For both members of the Army's most senior command team, this visit was their first since the Army relocated the baseline course at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center on Fort Leavenworth during October 2014.

Odierno spoke to the class about the importance trust plays in the Army's organization, and about the role each class member will play as graduates of the SHARP academy as they become key participants in the preservation of that trust.

"The reason that the sergeant major and I are here today is to tell you personally how important this program is to us," Odierno said. "Your job is to educate our Army and to create a program at your level that provides comfort and the necessary support to properly care for those who are victims."

Odierno believes that although the Army is making positive headway in the areas of sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention, there is still work to be done in changing the existing culture. He added that we must continue to focus on the inculcation of Army values and treating each other with dignity and respect at all times.

"How well we do in this mission [sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention] is fundamental to how well we do as an Army in the future," Odierno said. "It's that important to me."

For Dailey, this was not only his first visit to the SHARP Academy; it was his first visit to Fort Leavenworth since taking his new job.

As Dailey addressed class members, he emphasized a need to focus not only on the aftermath of sexual assault and sexual harassment, but to also highlight those leaders at all levels who are having a positive impact in the prevention of these acts.

"Where the Army has its greatest success are those programs where the Army's junior leaders take ownership," Dailey said. "This will never be a mission that will ever end, but it can and it will get better as we hold junior leaders accountable and empower them."

To emphasize this point, Dailey discussed the need for a "not in my squad" mentality in which leaders at all levels take responsibility for the elimination of these actions that go against our Army values.

Graduates, who complete the seven-week SHARP baseline course, will go on to serve as Army sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates. Upon graduation of the current class, Fort Leavenworth's academy will have certified more than 125 SHARP professionals.