During recent joint operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, our Army Reserve demonstrated exceptional competence, courage, adaptability, and resilience in supporting our Army, and in facing-down our adversaries.
Despite our success on the battlefield however, we must recognize that we are failing in our fundamental duty to provide every Soldier with the safety and respect that they are due.
We are speaking of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Their continuing presence in our ranks undermines the good-order and discipline of our military, and hampers our ability to work and fight as a cohesive unit.
These incidents must stop. They cannot - must not - and will not be tolerated.
It is up to every one of us to confront this challenge.
It is up to every leader, at every level, to ensure that his or her commanders, leaders and fellow Soldiers are providing everyone a safe and respectful environment in which to excel.
The Army Reserve is committed to the well-being of every one of its Soldiers and civilians, and each of their family members. We are an institution built on trust – trust between Soldiers and leaders who spare no effort to take care of each other – on the battlefield or at home. The existence of sexual predation represents a violation of that trust. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are contrary to our values. Every one of us is entitled to live our lives and perform our duties free of such predation.
It is the responsibility of every Soldier and civilian within the Army Reserve to ensure the proper reporting of inappropriate behavior that may constitute sexual assault or sexual harassment. We further charge every leader and responsible authority within our ranks to ensure a proper and thorough investigation of each such allegation. Soldiers and leaders, at every level, are responsible for establishing and maintaining a command climate of mutual respect, trust, and safety. They should also practice, and encourage, the open discussion of these issues among their peers and subordinates, and encourage the implementation of proactive measures to address them.
If you see something, say something. If you hear something, say something. If the infraction is against you, report it to as many individuals in your chain of command as necessary to generate corrective action. You can also call the DoD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247, Text* 55-247, or visit www.SafeHelpline.org
Sexual assault and harassment degrade the lives of our Soldiers, and dishonor their service; they have a negative impact on our unit cohesion and readiness. Our country entrusted us with ensuring the health and welfare of America’s sons and daughters. There is no higher calling … and there can be no bystanders. Our Army Reserve family, and the American people, are all counting on us to lead the way in eradicating these problems.
We remain …
Twice the Citizen, Army Strong!
JEFFREY W. TALLEY
Lieutenant General, USA
32nd Chief, Army Reserve/
U.S. Army Reserve Command
for a downloadable version of the letter.