USAF SAPR director visits McChord Field

By Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez on May 6, 2016

"I ask one question - do we have a problem with sexual assault?" said Maj. Gen. James Johnson, Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office director. Johnson asked this question, along with a number of similar questions, during the 2nd Annual McChord Field Sexual Assault Legal Workshop, April 26, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

During the workshop, Johnson said his goal was not only to inform airmen to changes in the Air Force's SAPR program, but also to get a better understanding of the culture of Team McChord airmen.

The general began his visit having breakfast with airmen from various JBLM units to discuss SAPR and answer their questions concerning SAPR.

Johnson asked airmen where they think the Air Force was today in regards to SAPR.

"I think it's definitely a lot better," said Staff Sgt. Josephine Suarez, 7th Airlift Squadron Aviation Resource Manager. "My squadron commander has a zero-tolerance policy towards unprofessional behavior."

In addition to discussing SAPR with airmen at breakfast, Johnson also provided airmen with career advice.

"What really matters is the work you do and the attitude you bring to your office," Johnson said. "People who are successful master these two things: their attitude and what they can contribute."

After spending the morning at breakfast with the airmen, Johnson thanked each of them for their service and proceeded to the McChord Chapel Support Center to attend the 2nd Annual McChord Field Sexual Assault Legal Workshop. He opened discussion at the workshop asking attendees to provide their perspectives and questions as they relate to SAPR.

"This is a big problem and people are not recognizing it for what it is," Johnson said. "It affects readiness. I think putting a face on sexual assault is key to our success."

Johnson also posed the question: "What is our tolerance?"

"We are a G-rated Air Force," said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "But as a service we are a product of our society."

Johnson went on to discuss the Air Force's plans for teaching airmen about SAPR early in their Air Force career.

"When we look at training, Air Force Basic Military Training is the beginning of a life cycle for an airman - they need to be told at BMT what sexual assault is," Johnson said. "Our military training instructors are discussing these things with them because this is the first place we want them to be able to define sexual assault. When they get to technical training, we want them to be able to identify real-world scenarios."

To highlight recent changes made to the Air Force's SAPR program, Johnson discussed reasons for the Air Force's recent implementation of the new Green Dot program. The nonprofit Green Dot organization is contracted by the Air Force to provide violence prevention tools to airmen across the Air Force.

"I gravitated to Green Dot because the evidence shows that it works," Johnson said.

"Green Dot shows airmen how to recognize their barriers and how to overcome them."

Noting the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention Strategy, Johnson discussed his efforts towards a comprehensive prevention approach and the importance of training airmen to prevent violence and sexual assault before it happens.

"We have to ensure consistency and standards for our airmen," Johnson said. "We can't have a ‘one size fits all' type of training. We have to develop better screening and intervention programs."

After speaking at the workshop, Johnson listened to feedback given by airmen in breakout sessions. Johnson then thanked the airmen for their participation in the event.

"It was a pleasure to spend time with you and see how important this issue is to you (here at McChord)," Johnson said. "We don't want to ring our hands with this. We want to learn from you and make sure we maximize the work you do."