By Joe Lacdan, Army News ServiceMarch 1, 2019
FORT MEADE, Md. -- The Army has recently expanded its Not in My Squad initiative as part of its ongoing fight against sexual assault, the Army's top enlisted leader told lawmakers Feb. 27.
Introduced in 2015, the program empowers junior leaders at the squad level to reduce sexual assault and violence by building cohesive units through shared and mutual trust.
According to written testimony provided to lawmakers by Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, the service has now spread the program to 27 ready and resilient campuses on Army installations.
In the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, Dailey testified that the service has also conducted 17 workshops that showed positive feedback.
Certified resiliency trainers have been embedded at the company level to train Soldiers on sustaining readiness and optimizing performance.
"The Army strives to provide an environment of dignity and respect for all service members and is fully committed to eliminating sexual assault," Dailey told lawmakers in Washington, D.C. "We recognize that regardless of the progress that we have made, more work still needs to be done."
Dailey spoke at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Armed Services' subcommittee on military personnel policies and military family readiness.
In addition to making the service a welcome place for all Soldiers, the Army has also seen progress in retention. Dailey cited a 90 percent retention rate in 2018 and said the service is on track for similar results this year.
To help improve retention, the Army has made quality of life a top priority.
Army senior leaders have worked to hasten civilian hiring times to provide quality childcare for Soldiers and their families. The service recently developed and implemented hiring tools to help childcare providers transition from one installation to another, such as not requiring them to go through the hiring and background check process again.
Dailey also wrote the service is exploring ways to maximize limited space at childcare centers.
At a family forum on Feb. 5, Army Secretary Mark T. Esper said he supported the idea of having more spouses run childcare businesses from home to reduce backlogs.
Army senior leaders also continue to work on improving the quality of military housing.
Earlier this week, leaders traveled to installations to speak with families living in military housing. The service is currently analyzing data from housing surveys completed by families last month.
Esper and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley even ordered an environmental hazard screening to be performed on Army-owned, -leased and -privatized homes.
By 2021, plans call for the Army to eliminate its lowest level of military housing, known as Q4. Only 190 families are currently living in Q4 housing, Dailey testified.
"We will regain the trust of our Soldiers and families through immediate and tangible actions that have already began," he wrote.
Dailey added there will be no reprisals for Soldiers and families who share their concerns about housing and quality of life.