|Story & photo by J.D. Leipold, Army News Service
WASHINGTON — Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said the Army
needs a cultural change in order to eliminate sexual assault and
harassment from its ranks.
Speaking before the fourth Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and
Prevention (SHARP) summit titled "Achieving Cultural Change" March 29,
Casey asked the audience to ponder just what it was going to take to
generate the necessary cultural change.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F.
Chandler III takes a question at the fourth annual Sexual
Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention summit.
"I can't believe that a force as good as we are, that's fought
together, that's cried together, that's mourned together, that's bled
together, that's liberated 50 million people from tyranny in the last
decade — I can't believe that this combat-seasoned band of brothers and
sisters can't stop this scourge," he said.
Even though SHARP has come a long way in putting the realities of sexual
harassment and the violence of sexual assault to the forefront of
leadership at all levels, the perception by and large, according to the
chief, is that sexual harassment/assault aren't viewed by Soldiers as
Armywide problems — it's "not my problem, but somebody else's” attitude.
"I agree with the folks in here that we haven't gotten an Armywide
conviction to come out and stop this scourge, so the question is how do
we change the culture to get us there — what is it we need to do? I
don't think we've cracked that yet," he said.
"First of all, I think it's going to take sunshine, and by that I mean
shining the light on it, talking about it, not sweeping it under the
rug," he said. "One of the things I tried to do as chief was to create a
culture in the Army that accepted the fact that the only way something
is going to get better is if you put some sunshine on it ... which means
leaders have to talk about it, think about it, talk to their
subordinates about it and put it up in front of everybody ... top down,
bottom up approach."
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, who spoke following
Casey, agreed that the key to fixing the culture or "atmosphere" will be
to continuously engage leadership at all levels. He said noncommissioned
officers in particular must reflect on what's happening in their
organizations, because NCOs enforce standards and set discipline.
"Do you foster an environment or an atmosphere in your unit to
intervene, act and motivate? Are you the consummate professional, always
living and upholding the Army values in our warriors? Would you put a
stop to sexual harassment or assault if it involved one of your good
friends or peers?" he asked the audience.
Chandler said it was up to all leaders to have the courage to not only
look down the chain, but to the left, right and up the chain as well,
and to be an agent for cultural change in the Army by upholding the
Army's value system.
The objective of the five-day summit was to give Army leaders, program
managers and coordinators the opportunity to exchange and share
strategic guidance and best practices.
The conference kicked off phase 3 of a four-phased "I. A.M. Strong"
campaign to end sexual assault and harassment. Phase four is slated for