Teammates:

I hope you enjoyed the interviews with Spc. Whitehead, 1st Sgt. Robles and Department of the Army civilian Dye.

My thanks goes to them again for their participation and for sharing their thoughts on the sergeant major of the Army's "Not in My Squad, Not in Our Army: We are Trusted Professionals" initiative.

The interviewees have some really great ideas and advice for our team, and I encourage everyone to take a look at the articles, if you have not had a chance.

Efforts must continue in building and sustaining climates in organizations where, trust, dignity, respect and readiness are owned by every leader and embraced by each of the Soldiers and civilians who comprise these organizations.

The SMA's initiative is aimed at empowering first-line leaders and the critical role our junior noncommissioned officers have in taking ownership and finding solutions to prevent and stop sexual assault, negative behavior and other areas of poor performance for those which they are responsible.

In an expanded role, all of our officers, senior noncommissioned officers and civilians must broaden this initiative beyond squads to all of our organizational structure in the Army.

"We are Trusted Professionals," reminds our Army team that wherever we are, we represent the American people.

Here at Fort Leonard Wood, I challenge our team to lead this effort and build cultures through positive and engaged leadership.

Each and every day, leaders are responsible for developing the right culture and climate within their organizations, so everyone can learn, grow, and develop in order to reach their fullest potential.

We cannot allow subcultures to exist, which feed acts of indiscipline and detract from our Army Values, impeding unit, Soldier and Family readiness.

It is not good enough to just teach these values and expect those same values to be instilled in people.

We must pursue a different path, understand the importance of these values being instilled in our team members, and commit to making sure this happens.

Violations and bad acts do not occur when standing in front of the chain of command. They mostly happen out of the presence of authority and at the point when a split-second decision is made between doing the right or wrong thing.

If you ask a Soldier what the standard is, or what they think is the right thing to do, they can rattle it off easily, because they've had the classes and training.

So why did the violation occur? To me it's simple; they they did not live up to these values and standards.

So, we have to get really smart -- really fast -- on how we get after this instilling piece. In return, doing the right thing is like a battle drill. You don't need to think through it; you just do it, because it is instilled in you.

At Fort Leonard Wood, we have many great examples of what right looks like, and I encourage leaders to promote those who are living up to these traits and qualities we expect of everyone.

Most people want to be a part of something great and bigger than themselves. This is the foundation in which to build upon, and it will spread faster and quicker than anything else.

During our upcoming junior leader symposiums scheduled for today and Sept. 2, we will focus on the role of the junior noncommissioned officer in leading and operating in a valued-based organization.

Our goal is to have open and honest dialogue, which will serve as a basis for understanding expectations, challenges, resource constraints, readiness and resilience.

Lastly, America has trusted our great institution with the care of their sons and daughters, Soldiers and civilians alike.

Our contract to the American people is that we will take care of their welfare and treat them with the utmost dignity and respect.

This is a trust that cannot be broken, and we must live up to this commitment.

(Editor's note: Ward is the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major.)