With every change of administration, some programs continue and new ones begin.
The Army continues to search for ways to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment and assault in the ranks.
Its latest effort is a newly released Rand Corp. study that says understanding the factors behind sexual harassment and assault are key to prevention. The study, which was commissioned by the Army, calls for the service to continue working to improve unit and command climate and investigate the differences between installations and commands that experience higher rates of harassment and assault.
There is no more important priority to the U.S.
Efforts to prevent sexual assault and harassment in the Army have fallen short, but changes are being made on several fronts, a senior official said.
“We are just not where we need to be with the program,” said James Helis, director of the Army Resilience Directorate. The December release of an independent review of the climate at Fort Hood, Texas, “caused us to take a hard look in the mirror at ourselves and our program.”
The director of the Army Resilience Directorate will speak April 8 during the Association of the U.S. Army’s Thought Leaders webinar.
James Helis, who has been in the job since March 2019, will discuss the Army’s efforts to prevent sexual assault and harassment in the ranks. He also will talk about how the Army works to provide professional, compassionate and comprehensive care and support to members of the Army team when sexual harassment or assault incidents occur.
In its ongoing fight against sexual assault and sexual harassment in the ranks, the Pentagon is standing up an independent commission that will have 90 days to provide recommendations to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Lynn Rosenthal, who served during the Obama administration as the first White House adviser on violence against women, will lead the commission, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Feb. 26. The commission, which will include members from inside and outside the military, will review DoD policies and processes, Kirby said.
In 2018, service academy cadets across the country participated in a Service Academy Gender Relations Survey conducted by DoD’s Office
Aided by statutes that strengthen the voice of sexual assault victims in the military judicial system, the Army is making progress in bringing cases to trial, the Army’s judge advocate general told Congress.
“Ten years ago, sexual assault offenses comprised 18% of Army trials. In 2018, 50% of trials in Army courtrooms were sexual assault trials. This is not a coincidence,” Lt. Gen. Charles N. Pede told the House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel.
Removing commanders from the military justice process could exacerbate the problem of sexual assault and harassment in the ranks, the Army’s former top lawyer recently told Congress.
The Army continues to focus on eradicating sexual harassment and assault from its ranks, and the service’s top leaders are calling on all soldiers to join the effort.
“We all have a responsibility to look out for one another—there can be no bystanders,” Army Secretary Mark T. Esper and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley wrote in a new message to the force.