Military Campaign Office takes all-hands-on-deck approach to eliminating sexual assaults from Coast Guard

WASHINGTON — The members of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office document the office’s establishment with a team portrait, May 30, 2013.  Pictured are, from left to right, (back row), Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, Public Affairs Officer, Cmdr. Ben Smith, DOD SAPRO Liaison, Lt. Cmdr. Dan Rogers, Program Analyst, and (front row) Lt. Cmdr. Leanne Lusk, Deputy Director, Shawn Wren, Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Manager, Master Chief Petty Officer Bobbie Sisto, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Chief Petty Officer Tina Claflin, Project Manager, and Capt. Robert Smith, Director.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Tamargo)

The members of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office document the office’s establishment with a team portrait, May 30, 2013. Pictured are, from left to right, (back row), Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, Public Affairs Officer, Cmdr. Ben Smith, DOD SAPRO Liaison, Lt. Cmdr. Dan Rogers, Program Analyst, and (front row) Lt. Cmdr. Leanne Lusk, Deputy Director, Shawn Wren, Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Manager, Master Chief Petty Officer Bobbie Sisto, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Chief Petty Officer Tina Claflin, Project Manager, and Capt. Robert Smith, Director. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Tamargo)

Written by Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, Public Affairs Officer, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office

Military members generally associate the term military campaign with large scale, long duration and strategically planned military operations such as the American Revolution, World War I and World War II, Kosovo, Desert Storm, and the War on Terrorism, among others. These campaigns are marked by the massive and highly visible movement of weapons systems, personnel and other war fighting capabilities to an area of operation to engage the enemy and achieve a strategic objective. Overseeing these operations are campaign staffs, who ensure the right resources are applied to the right task in order to achieve victory.

The Coast Guard’s most recent campaign may not involve the deployment of cutters, aircraft, boats and personnel, but the challenges are no less complex, the cause no less righteous and the need to achieve the objective is no less imperative. While the Coast Guard’s efforts in this campaign are primarily focused internally, the role of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office is just as critical as those campaign staffs that supported combat operations.

Faced with the daunting challenge of implementing the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Strategic Plan 2013-2017 and the recommendations of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Task Force, the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, Vice Adm. Manson Brown, established the Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office on May 20.

The sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office is a strategically focused office responsible to rapidly operationalize and implement the Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Strategic Plan. The office is responsible for the rapid implementation of near-term strategies that will create the processes, training regimens, measurements and support system integrity that will best position the service to achieve the ultimate goal of eliminating sexual assault from the service.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck mission for our Coast Guard, and there are many elements within the organization that will play a role in reaching the stated ultimate goal,” said Capt. Robert Smith, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office. “The military campaign office helps to coordinate between the field, programs, and staffs to accomplish the desired outcome.”

Given the office’s short history in the Coast Guard, it’s not surprising that personnel who have heard of the office, or, who are aware of its work, remain confused as to where the office fits in the organization.

U.S. Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response governance model. U.S. Coast Guard graphic by Martina Harris.

U.S. Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response governance model. U.S. Coast Guard graphic by Martina Harris.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office reports to the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support and collaborates with the Sexual Assault Prevention Council, its subcommittees and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Office. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Office remains the point of contact for day-to-day management of the Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. The SAPC and its subcommittees are responsible for establishing and implementing the long-term strategies to eliminate sexual assault from the Coast Guard.

The Sexual Assault Prevention Council is a cross-directorate council tasked with coordinating service-wide efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the Coast Guard. The Sexual Assault Prevention Council‘s efforts align with the lines of effort included in the May 2012 Strategic Direction to the Joint Force on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. The Sexual Assault Prevention Council prioritizes and oversees the implementation of recommendations from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Task Force, provides advice to CG-111 for Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program development and through its subcommittees oversees development and implementation of measures necessary to achieve the goals and objectives of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Strategic Plan.

The subcommittees exist for the purpose of assessing specific Sexual Assault Prevention and Reseponse issues and developing proposed courses of action to implement recommendations of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Task Force and action items contained in the plan of action and milestones.

The standing subcommittees of the Sexual Assault Prevention Council include:
• The Prevention and Advocacy Standing Committee
• The Assessment Standing Committee
• The Investigation and Accountability Standing Committee

“The MCO’s role of coordinating near term strategies between Sexual Assault Prevention Council, Sub-Committees, program, and the field is key to the successful implementation of the Strategic Plan,” said Smith. “These groups provide a specified level of subject matter expertise, and field experience which has already proven valuable in our mission execution to date.”

While the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office has completed a great deal of work, including conducting focus groups, in a fairly short amount of time, the work of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office staff, like campaign staffs before them, is just beginning.

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