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  1. Victoria Sanders
    July 7, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

    I agree with your points but my question is why those people? I know on a few but would like to know a little about what sending this message to those specific people will do.


  2. Don Shapiro
    July 8, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    Great question Victoria. I did a lot of research on this and noted those individuals in Washington who were actively involved in this issue. It is a very select list.

    The top military brass are the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretaries of each military service that report to Secretary Hagel. They were all called before the Senate Hearings on Military Sexual Assault. Secretary Hagel has asked each of them to submit a plan to him by July 1st. It rest on each military service to be directly involved in fixing this and those are the top people that Secretary Hagel is looking to do this. The other military people are all connected to Sexual Assault and Prevention Response Offices (SAPRO) of the various services. They are also key players in addressing this issue. Secretary Hagel has also asked them for new plans.

    All the members of the Senate and House of Representatives have either sponsored bills to address this issue or are the heads of the Armed Services Committee in each house. They have all been involved in the hearings and meetings on this.

    The five individuals from the White House were a part of a meeting held with individuals from the Pentagon and Congress about this issue. So they are directly involved in monitoring this and reporting back to the President and First Lady about developments as well as conveying the White House’s position. They are the White House staff assigned to this issue.

    Secretary Hagel is the point person for this entire effort. He is the one taking orders from the President then turning around and directing the Pentagon’s efforts to resolve this. He comes from a private industry background so I have a lot of faith in him. It’s just that he’s relying too much on the Pentagon to figure out solutions.

    The Pentagon has proven they can’t solve this problem. In 1989, Navy Secretary Garrett first used the term “zero tolerance” concerning sexual assault in the military. That was three years before Tailhook! Every head of the military has made this statement repeatedly during the last 24 years. There have been hundreds of studies done. The SAPRO’s were first created to address this issue in 2005 which is 8 years ago. So the military has been talking about zero tolerance for 24 years while the problem keeps getting worse.

    This is a deep cultural issue within the military that cannot be solved by adding new elements to training programs, telling engagement commanders what to do and say and creating new posters to place in the barracks. I’ve worked with organizations in over 30 different industries. For the most part, senior officers can’t fix their own cultures. The Pentagon can’t order everyone to change and expect it to happen. 24 years of failure proves that.

    Those of us from the private sector have successfully dealt with these types of difficult cultural changes involving organizations that have been around for a long time. If Secretary Hagel really wants to fix this for good, he needs to bring in a diverse private sector team who can help develop a plan that can actually change the culture. It can’t come just from the top or just through formal programs.

    I have not heard from anyone I sent that letter to. I guess this is to be expected. They don’t know me and probably receive a lot of mail. I deliberately created that CC: to hopefully get their staffs to show them the letter. I also have sent this electronic version to 480 journalist including every top political editor, analyst and correspondent involved in Washington.

    As I expected, I’m going to have to do this the old fashioned way. Today, I will start making calls to Secretary Hagel and everyone else on that list to schedule a phone conversation. If I can just get a few key ones on the phone to talk about this, I may be able to help them see what’s missing here.

    What can you and others do right now to push this forward so we actually solve this once and for all? The simplest thing is to send emails and snail mail letters to key people (Secretary Hagel, Valarie Jarrett, Senator Gillibrand and others if time permits) asking them the following: What are their thoughts about Don Shapiro’s letter? Have they talked to Don Shapiro yet to discover what they are missing in addressing this issue? How do they propose to actually change the culture of the military since the Pentagon has failed to do so for 24 years?

    In addition, I would suggest getting as many people as possible to write journalist with these same questions. If I only had one to pick I would suggest George Stephanopoulos (ABC News Chief Political Correspondent and Anchor for Good Morning America)and key producers at ABC News(I have their email addresses if anyone actually wants to do this). Of course, key producers and analyst at any of the top networks would be good. We need to get a discussion started in Washington that goes beyond everything they are currently doing and shares the truth about why previous efforts have failed and current efforts still don’t address the way that successful change efforts are done. I can use all the help that’s out there and then some. Together, we can make a difference!


    Don Shapiro


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