By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (March 25, 2015) -- Since the Army first began its effort to eliminate sexual assault in the ranks, the agenda, the training, and the delivery has been driven by Army senior leadership. Junior Soldiers will soon be given an opportunity to provide input as well.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey will soon kick off a new program, "Not in My Squad, Not in Our Army," that will offer Soldiers at the lowest levels in the Army an opportunity to take ownership of both the problem of sexual assault in the ranks, as well as the solution.
Part of that initiative will bring Soldiers from around the force - leaders at team and squad level - to Washington, D.C., to meet with Army leaders and experts within the Army's sexual harassment/assault response and prevention, or SHARP, program and G-1, to wargame their own solutions to sexual assault that they feel might better resonate with the Soldiers they lead worldwide.
Dailey said the idea is "a bottom-up approach to sexual assault and sexual harassment prevention. But not only that, it's also about everything in regard to the Army profession, and getting our subordinate leaders - those first line-level leaders who have direct influence over their Soldiers every day, to take ownership of this problem - sexual assault."
Dailey said he is confident that Soldiers know what the Army's stance is on sexual assault. But he said he has heard from Soldiers that he has talked to that they feel the delivery of the message could be done better. That is why, he said, he feels it would be better to have Soldiers themselves develop a solution.
"We don't want to design this," Dailey said. "We want those small unit-level leaders to design this."
Included will be staff sergeants from around the Army, from different divisions, corps, and theaters. Guiding discussion will be SHARP experts and personnel from the Army's G-1. But it will be Soldiers themselves who are finding the solutions, and who will make recommendations to Army leadership about those solutions.
"We will present them with problems, challenges associated with sexual assault, and they will engage with our civil leaders here, and then brief myself and the chief of staff of the Army and the vice chief of staff of the Army on how they are going to build this concept of taking this back to the force," Dailey said. "For them to truly embrace this concept, to truly embrace this initiative, they have to be empowered, and they have to feel like it's their initiative."
Dailey's concept is similar to what the Army began doing last year with captains during what it calls a "solarium." During the solarium's events, captains are placed in groups and are assigned various problems that face the Army today, and they work together to develop possible solutions to those problems. Afterward, the captains brief the Army's chief of staff on their proposed solution.
"I am excited to see what our creative young leaders will come up with and what their approach will be to get at this problem," Dailey said. "And I think we have to be brave enough to institute some of the recommendations they come up with."
Soldiers participating in this "Not in My Squad, Not in Our Army" event will also tackle challenges regarding the Army profession in addition to the problems involving sexual assault.
"We have done a lot of work to communicate the Army profession across our force," he said. "If you want something to happen, it requires leadership. And if you want something to happen from the lowest level up, it requires leadership at the first-line leader. They have the clearest understanding of the issues, the challenges associated with what our Soldiers are facing every day, the stressors of life of being a young Soldier and young Family member throughout our force. I think they are well postured to inform us on those challenges."
No time or date has yet been set for when Soldiers will come to Washington, D.C., to participate in the event, nor have the Soldiers who will participate been identified.
Additionally, Dailey said, the "Not in My Squad, Not in Our Army" initiative is broader than just one event and one topic. The broader effort is meant to highlight the critical role the non-commissioned officer corps plays in leading and sustaining a values-based organization such as the Army.