By Stephen P. Kretsinger Sr., PQC contractor with the U.S. Army Combined Arms CenterJuly 25, 2016
It's been a made clear in a plethora of venues that the number one priority of Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley is readiness -- a word that means much more than just Soldiers being equipped and trained for battle. Merriam-Webster defines readiness as being "prepared mentally or physically for some experience or action," and "likely to do something indicated." Top brass in the Army believe this includes being able to trust the person working to the left and right of those service members.
"The Army's strength comes from the care and respect we show each other," said Eric Fanning, secretary of the Army. "Our Army must continue to be an institution that rewards merit, while placing equal value on diversity of our ideas, experiences, and backgrounds. We will support both Soldiers and Families while they are deployed, and take care of them when they return home. This means invigorating efforts to eradicate the cancer of sexual assault and harassment, doing more to recognize the warning signs and stressors associated with suicides in our ranks, and in particular, advance our understanding of, and care for, those with mental health issues."
The U.S. Army Combined Arms Center is doing its part of ensure the total Army is equipped with trained professionals to help reduce incidents of sexual harassment and assault, train the force about these sad realities and respond in the most effective manner to those who find themselves victims of these heinous acts.
"Trust is a key component of the Mission Command concept and readiness; sexual assault and harassment are contrary to both," said Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy, commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center. "As with the Center for the Army Profession and Ethics (CAPE), the SHARP Academy -- here at the Combined Arms Center -- integrates the Army Profession, Army Ethic and Character Development into training, professional military and civilian education, and operations."
The U.S. Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Academy -- under the command of the Combined Arms Center -- was created by the U.S. Army with the intent of helping these trained professionals guide new recruits and career-long personnel equally in recognizing the harm these acts can cause to readiness.
"The Army assesses 90,000 new Soldiers every year into Active Army, National Guard, and Reserves -- from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, experiences, religious, ethnic, and racial environments -- not all of their values and beliefs are compatible with the Army's values," said Col. Geoffrey Catlett, director of the SHARP Academy. "While America is a nation built on high moral values -- often popular culture falls far short of our shared aspirations -- it perpetuates a 'sexist culture' in which persons are valued by their sexual attraction and not their intrinsic value as a human being."
The U.S. Army SHARP Academy educates, trains, and supports highly competent and effective SHARP professionals across all components of the Army; develops and implements effective training and education for all Soldiers, Department of Army Civilians and Family Members; and, functions as a leader in the Army's efforts to build a culture of dignity and respect based on the Army Ethic.
With support of everyone in the Total Army, the U.S. Army SHARP Academy hopes to ensure our most valued assets -- our American Solider -- will never be sent into harm's way with any fear that the person to their right a left is nothing less than a trusted battle buddy who's got their back.