SHARP Program Restructuring Enhances Victim Support

By Chester Curtis, Directorate of Prevention, Resilience and ReadinessMay 2, 2024

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

As we approach the end of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month 2024, keeping this year’s theme in mind, Change Through Unity: Empower. Protect. Prevent., will remain relevant throughout the year as the SHARP program restructure proceeds. The Army’s SHARP program restructure signals the branch's commitment to taking steps to address sexual assault and sexual harassment by enhancing both prevention and response capabilities.

The goal of the SHARP program is to protect Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians and Family members by fostering a culture free of sexual harassment, sexual assault and associated retaliatory behaviors through prevention, education and training, response capability, victim support, reporting procedures and appropriate accountability.

“The Army is making structural changes to the SHARP program to strengthen our capacity to provide compassionate, victim-centric services to our Army Family,” says Jill Londagin, Program Director.

As part of the restructure, the Army is taking steps to reduce dependence on borrowed military personnel and will eliminate most collateral-duty positions within its workforce but expand full-time SHARP workforce positions.

“We will increase the number of full-time sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates who are thoroughly trained and have the requisite knowledge, skills and experience to effectively support victims of sexual harassment and assault,” Londagin says.

SHARP is also building a prevention capability to work with commanders and other prevention teammates to include installations' Integrated Prevention Advisory Groups to partner in primary prevention initiatives to promote protective factors and address risk factors that lead to harmful behaviors such as sexual harassment and sexual assault.

One of the directives was to remove SARCs and VAs from the unit command reporting structure and realign the SHARP program’s reporting under the lead SARC.

“We are moving to an installation-based model where everyone, regardless of command alignment or branch of service, will receive SHARP services as a support function of the military installation closest to the victim,” Londagin says.

Londagin says that SARCs and VAs will be consolidated at the SHARP Program Office but will remain embedded in their units to provide direct support to commands and victims. SARCs and VAs on the installation will be supervised by the installation’s lead SARC.

“Not only will this result in an independent reporting structure for SHARP professionals, it will also enable SHARP professionals to provide a more victim-centric response and advocate for victims more effectively,” Londagin says.

SHARP is also moving to a Civilian workforce except for the new victim support specialist role and some collateral-duty VAs at remote installations.

Civilian hires will assist the transition of the program from commander oversight to a more technically driven oversight to improve overall compliance with regulatory requirements.

“The new SHARP restructure will have a positive impact in supporting victims,” says Kimberly Green, Lead SARC at Fort Liberty, North Carolina.

“Under the new structure, it provides victims more of an opportunity to select an advocate outside their organization,” Green says. “They won’t have the feeling that they must report within their assigned brigade.” Green adds, “Here at Fort Liberty, the supervisory SARCs have/are establishing relationships within all their assigned brigades. The end state being our SHARP professionals providing undistracted victim advocate support, and our ability to cross-level cases alleviating one advocate having an abundance of cases whereas another having little to none.”

This transition is planned to occur before the end of FY24, with ongoing collaboration with Army leadership and DOD for timeline and resourcing, according to Londagin.

“Remote and isolated installations—as designated by Congress—will be allowed to keep a limited number of collateral-duty personnel. These approved collateral-duty personnel will be aligned to a SHARP Program Office and will be supervised/ rated by the lead SARC to ensure professional oversight of victim care,” she says.

The timeline for the SHARP restructure is driven primarily by conditions, rather than by strict time frames.

Some installations may progress through subsequent phases earlier than others due to variations in local conditions. For instance, locations that don’t need to hire supervisory personnel can initiate consolidation immediately, but larger installations must navigate hiring processes before proceeding.

Phase I of the restructure is complete. This included initial hiring actions for most lead SARC positions as well as for personnel at the operational level.

“In Phase I, we established the infrastructure needed to transform the program,” Londagin says. “Lead SARCs were designated or hired to manage and oversee the SHARP program at the installation—tactical—level. They are responsible to ensure that all tenant units are provided SARC/ VA coverage, regardless of command or branch of service.”

She continues: “In Phase II, which is ongoing, the supervisory structure for the workforce is being established. One hundred sixty-nine new hires willbe onboarded as part of Phase II. The Army has hired 136 of the 360 personnel required in the new model—Phase I and II—to date.”

Phase III begins when those in supervisory positions are on board and ends when all SHARP personnel are consolidated at the installation’s SHARP Program Office under the lead SARCs. During this phase, all current SHARP personnel will be moved to standardized position descriptions.

In Phase IV, after the new SHARP structure is executed, the United States Army Manpower Analysis Agency, or USAMAA, will conduct a full staffing study to determine if adequate human resource levels were established. Phase IV will begin June 30, and end once USAMAA completes the study to inform adjustments to the workforce. During this phase, collateral SHARP positions will be eliminated.

“Transition is welcoming for most, as they see the opportunity for professional growth,” Green says. “Some are territorial and seem reluctant in having to report to someone outside their chain of command; this is due to having no program oversight by their command.”

Green says she continues to point out to her SHARP professionals that with the restructure they’ll have more time for advocate responsibilities, professional growth, program continuity and the ability to provide self-care to avoid burnout.

HQDA will publish a new SHARP regulation with policy guidance for executing the new program requirements (prevention and response).

“The SHARP Program restructure will improve professional oversight of the program’s activities,” Londagin says, "and ensure proper, consistent delivery of services and expand our ability to provide compassionate, victim-centric care to the force.”

For more information, go to