SAN DIEGO -- The director of the 21st Century Sailor Office began his weeklong fleet engagement visit in San Diego Jan. 13.
Rear Adm. Sean Buck, the Navy's sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) officer, kicked off the week by officially opening the SAPR Forum hosted by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).
The SAPR Forum includes a variety of Sailors, enlisted and officers, who have volunteered to be part of a collaborative research and analysis project with NPS to develop Fleet communication strategies and messages that will help accomplish the Navy's SAPR vision.
"Be honest with me here," Buck said. "Who feels as if they've been super-saturated with SAPR training?
A majority of the Sailors raised their hands.
"Before I came into this job, I felt that I had received a lot of SAPR training too," Buck continued. "Then I learned that training has a half-life of only 90 days. Therefore we need to continue coming up with new ways to train and keep the material fresh. I want to hear from the Fleet what you like and what you don't like about our training, how we should move forward with our training. What works? What do you want to hear and how do you want to hear it?"
This request for feedback from volunteers in the SAPR Forum was only the first of many requests for ideas from the Fleet.
Buck met with local Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) chapters to hear what the Sailors were planning for the coming year. Each chapter runs its own program to help Sailors choose alternative activities to drinking on their off-duty time in hopes of steering Sailors away from destructive decisions and actions.
Buck praised the Sailors for how they were helping their fellow shipmates make good and asked for their thoughts on how the Navy can do even more to help Sailors avoid destructive decisions.
"CSADD is a game-changer," Buck said. "Fleet Sailors are going to solve our sexual assault problem through peer pressure that can help change the culture of our society. CSADD Sailors can influence their fellow shipmates and that's what's going to help Sailors make the right choices in difficult situations."
After a question and answer session with the CSADD chapter members, Buck toured Pacific Beacon, an enlisted housing area aboard Naval Base San Diego.
"Sailors get to enjoy a quiet and friendly living environment here," said Terry Copeland, the community director of Pacific Beacon. "We provide amenities and activities that keep the Sailors happy and busy after their work day is over. We're all on a first name basis here at Pacific Beacon."
A new sexual assault prevention effort first went into effect at Pacific Beacon in the form of roving patrols. These patrols are designed to look after shipmates who may be in trouble. Since patrols began in early 2012, Pacific Beacon has seen liberty incidents decrease.
In the afternoon, Buck met with local commanding officers, executive officers and command master chiefs from all over the Southwest Region. Holding a command triad call, Buck stressed the importance of their leadership in creating an environment of dignity and respect in their units.
"This is the year of accountability," said Buck. "Commanding officers, executive officers, command master chiefs - you are responsible for your commands and the environment in which your Sailors work."
Later this week, Buck will meet with local Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) and Victim Advocates (VAs). He also plans to engage with Operational Stress Control Mobile Training Teams (OSC MTTs) which were recently established to provide training on managing stress and being resilient to deploying units, a new mandatory requirement instituted in 2013.
Buck will also hold E-6 and below, E-7 to O-6 and chaplains calls where he will talk about the importance of being an active bystander and ask for feedback from the fleet on how the Navy can work to make Sailors more resilient. Even on day one, Buck has solicited feedback from the Fleet and he says he's getting it.
Buck is the director, 21st Century Sailor Office, which is responsible for total Sailor fitness, resilience and readiness. The office is also the Navy lead on suicide prevention, sexual assault prevention and response, hazing prevention, fitness and nutrition, personal and family readiness, and the "Keep What You've Earned" campaign.