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Task force visits Randolph, seeks information on sexual assault prevention, response

By Staff Sgt. Beth Del Vecchio | 12 Flying Training Wing Public Affairs | Jan. 14, 2009

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A defense task force visited Randolph Monday during a four-day trip to San Antonio to gather information for a congressional report on sexual assault response in the military.

The 12-person Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services was here seeking feedback on Team Randolph's prevention and response of sexual assault. The team sought out personnel involved in any part of the process of addressing sexual assault, from education as part of prevention to helping a victim after an assault has occurred.

Jacqueline Shiflet, Randolph Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, said the visit will help strengthen a program that is already very strong.

"Once the task force compiles all the data gathered throughout the trip, they will be able to give us feedback on our program and things that can be improved," Ms. Shiflet said. "I think the Air Force has taken the lead on this program and our structure is working, but it's good to have an outside source to identify improvements that can be made."

While at Randolph, the task force visited command leadership and first responders at the Air Education and Training Command, the 12th Flying Training Wing and 19th Air Force. They also met with Air Force Personnel Center leadership and those who manage the SARC program for the Air Force, Air Force Recruiting Center command leadership and a group of company grade officers in training.

Ms. Shiflet said one focus of the team was the training aspect of program.

"They targeted the curriculum involved with training Air Force members on sexual assault response and also as prevention," she said. "I think this feedback will be the key to future success and improvements in our program." 

Dr. Louis Iasiello, DTFSAMS co-chair, echoed Ms. Shiflet's observations.

"The AFPC program manager for sexual assault has been in charge of Air Force sexual assault training since the new program was initiated in 2005. They are the lynchpin between policy implementation and training Air Force-wide and can explain the current and future programs," Dr. Iasiello said. "It was important to hear their thoughts on how things are going, and their recommendations on where the Air Force, and DoD, need to go in the future."

The task force is made up of members of Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force, and includes an equal number of Department of Defense military and civilian personnel. There are also members from outside the DoD with expertise in sexual assault prevention and response.

According to officials, the task force will travel for a full year visiting military installations in order to get a sampling across DoD. They will also travel to overseas installations and bases in combat zones.

The team toured Lackland Air Force Base and Fort Sam Houston during itsvisit to San Antonio, taking time to talk to victims and witnesses of assaults, as well as leadership and those in training and education positions. They used formal focus groups and informal interviews to gather information. They also hosted meetings that were open to the public, in the hopes of soliciting any and all information available. 

Overall, Dr. Iasiello said the visit to Randolph was successful.

"We had a great exchange of ideas about critical issues of the Air Force program that can only be understood by speaking face-to-face with members of the command. From here, we will look at all the information provided to us in the broader context of trends we discover throughout the Air Force and DoD, both good and bad," he said. "We will identify what works well that can be standardized throughout DoD, and make recommendations for organizational design and process improvements that may be useful across DoD."

The results of the study will be consolidated into a report and submitted to the Secretary of Defense and the individual secretaries of each branch of the military. Once they have reviewed and evaluated the report, it will be forwarded to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and House of Representatives.

A final report will be available to the public once all inputs have been made. To view updates on the task force and their tour, visit www.dtic.mil/dtfsams.