Guard Bureau Plan Targets Sexual Assaults

NGAUS Washington Report

(July 9, 2013) A comprehensive campaign aimed at helping National Guard units combat sexual assault has been launched by the National Guard Bureau in an effort to protect victims and eradicate the behavior from its ranks.

"We are helping the states with training and development of programs to address this problem at all levels," said Jane Lux, the National Guard Bureau's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program chief. “Core competencies and objectives are being established by the Department of Defense SAPR office for each level of command."

The campaign plan, part of a DoD-wide effort, has three phases beginning with implementation that focuses on the defense secretary’s five lines of effort: prevention, investigation, accountability, advocacy/victim assistance and assessment. The second phase is a sustainment campaign, while the third phase is aimed at improving the program through tracking, analysis, assessment and program adjustments.

The chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank J. Grass, outlined in guidance to the states that sexual assault is unacceptable and a force protection issue.

“The National Guard will instill a climate where dignity, trust and respect are core values it lives by, and defines how Guardsmen treat one another," he said.

As part of the first phase, NGB conducted mandatory training June 28 for its entire joint staff. Army and Air National Guard leaders also required training for their respective staffs.

Full-time sexual-assault response coordinators and victim advocates, Lux said, recently attended training designed to clearly outline their responsibilities. States and units are also reviewing background checks for these professionals, as well as ensuring that mandated ethics training is happening.