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Sex-assault incidents will be documented on every NCOER, OER

Oct. 26, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
JBLM stands up to sexual harassment, assault
Soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., attend a presentation on the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program. All evaluation reports will include reported incidents involving sexual harassment or assault, as well as assessments of soldiers' efforts regarding SHARP. (Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda/Army)
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Will recording sexual assault incidents in performance evaluations help stop sexual assault in the Army? Or will it deter leadership from reporting sexual assaults if they know incidents will be on their NCOER or OER? Send us your thoughts at armylet@armytimes.com. Include your rank and duty station, and your view could be included as a letter to the editor in a future print edition of Army Times.

The Army will use soldiers’ professional evaluations to hold them accountable for preventing sexual assault in the service.

Raters must assess all soldiers on their efforts to foster a climate intolerant of sexual assault and harassment in all Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Reports and Officer Evaluation Reports for rating periods that begin after Sept. 27, according to a memo issued in late September. Soldier counselings, typically done monthly or quarterly, must include the soldier’s “goals and objectives” for combating sexual assault and harassment in their unit, states the directive from Army Secretary John McHugh.

“Leaders must be committed to - and will be held accountable for – fostering a climate of dignity and respect. As a formal part of their evaluation, it will create an even greater incentive to do it well,” said Maj. Chris Kasker, a spokesman for McHugh, in a statement.

OERs and NCOERs will include comments from the raters about the efforts of the officer or NCO being rated to “foster a climate of dignity and respect” and to follow the Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response and Prevention Program.

The memo states that raters should identify “significant actions or contributions” the soldier made to adhere to SHARP values, as well as any failures to do so.

Raters must document in the evaluations any incident of a rated soldier committing a sexual assault or sexually harassing another person, failing to report a sexual harassment or an assault, failing to respond to a report of sexual harassment or assault and retaliating against a person who reported sexual harassment or a sexual assault.

The recorded incidents must come from a “substantiated finding” by a military investigation or inquiry, the directive states. Soldiers with these “substantiated” incidents will receive a mark of “No” in the “Respect” portion of their OER or “Respect/EO/EEO” portion of their NCOER.

SHARP incidents in a soldier’s unit will also be recorded. The directive states that if there were any “substantiated” incidents of sexual assault or harassment in the officer’s or NCO’s unit, the incidents will be documented in their NCOER or OER and the evaluation must explain how the soldier handled the incident.

Soldier’s counselings will also include a SHARP component. Typically in a counseling form, soldiers come up with plans or goals for professional improvement. NCO and Officer counseling forms, completed after Sept. 27, will include soldiers’ plans for ending sexual assault and harassment and promoting “dignity and respect” in their unit.

Raters will use the “Leadership” section (Part IV, block “d” in DA Form 2166-8) of the NCOER, or the “Performance and Potential Evaluation” section (Part V, block “b” in DA Form 67-9) of an OER, to note the soldier’s efforts in creating an environment that reinforces SHARP values, according to the directive.

For soldiers who receive a “No” in the “Respect” portion of their evaluation, their raters must explain why in Part V, block “b” of the OER or Part IV, block “a” of the NCOER.

More instructions on how NCOERs and OERs will be filled out will be published soon, said Paul Prince, a spokesman with the Army’s personnel office.

Tell us

Will recording sexual assault incidents in performance evaluations help stop sexual assault in the Army? Or will it deter leadership from reporting sexual assaults if they know incidents will be on their NCOER or OER? Send us your thoughts at armylet@armytimes.com. Include your rank and duty station, and your view could be included as a letter to the editor in a future print edition of Army Times.

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