In January, a new National Defense Strategy was released, which provides an update from our previous, 10-year-old NDS. It is a critical document that outlines our strategy to restore America’s competitive military advantage to deter Russia, China and other destabilizing forces and rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea.
As leaders and members of America’s fighting force, it is imperative that we understand America’s strategic objectives in order to carry out our missions to the best of our ability when tasked. I would urge each of you to read and understand the NDS and to focus what we do in the West Virginia National Guard on accomplishing the objectives outlined in that document.
The missions we have can be difficult, dangerous and complex. This demands an organizational culture that maintains the highest standards and values! As I stated in my message to the force at the beginning of the year, the values we hold in the military are the backbone of our organization. Maintaining a culture of dignity and respect goes hand in hand with the expectation that the Soldiers and Airmen in the West Virginia National Guard will hold themselves and others to a higher standard of conduct. Any degradation of these norms and values is detrimental to our ability to be a lethal fighting force capable of carrying out our missions on behalf of this great State and Nation.
As we move forward and turn our focus to sexual assault prevention this month, I want to remind each and every one of you that this IS NOT a monthly observance to be forgotten once April is over! Sexual harassment of any type will not be tolerated in the West Virginia National Guard.
We will continue to dedicate time and effort into educating our force on proper conduct, bystander intervention, and prevention efforts as well as resources, information and services available to military members on behalf of the Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention and Response (SHARP/SAPR) programs in the Army and Air National Guard. We will treat each other as we would want our family to be treated!