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Commanders must do command-climate assessments

Jan. 6, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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The Army has ordered all commanders to conduct command climate assessments within six months, the latest step the Army is taking to combat sexual assault in the ranks. (Sgt. Kandi Huggins/ Army)
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All commanders, starting at company level, are ordered to assess the command climate in their units within six months.

The Army wants specific emphasis on handling sexual assaults.

Army Directive 2013-29, issued Dec. 23, tells commanders to conduct command climate assessments using the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Organizational Climate Survey. The DEOCS survey measures organizational, equal opportunity, equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment/assault response and prevention issues.

It’s the latest of the Army’s policies aimed at combating sexual assaults in the ranks. In late 2013, the Army made it mandatory for raters to record sexual assault incidents in officers’ and noncommissioned officers’ evaluations, and also began processing for discharge any soldier that has been convicted of a sex crime.

All commanders in the Army and Reserve must complete their command climate assessments using the DEOCS survey. If commanders have done a DEOCS survey in their command climate assessment within the past four months, they can use that survey to fulfill the requirement. If current commanders do not have a DEOCS survey, then they have six months from Dec. 23, the date the directive was issued, to conduct a survey. If commanders have a survey scheduled within three months of the new requirement, they can use that survey to fulfill the requirements of the directive.

All company commanders are directed to conduct a DEOCS survey in the next six months, unless they have already done one in the past four months. The requirement to conduct an initial survey within 30 days of taking command of a unit, at the six-month mark and every year after, while they are in command, continues.

Under the previous policy, commanders above the company level were not required to conduct a command climate survey. The new rules say that commanders at the battalion level, all the way to division and above, must conduct an initial unit climate assessment within 60 days of taking command. They are also now required to conduct another assessment at the year mark and annually for as long as they are in command. They must also fulfill the Army’s requirement to have an assessment within six months.

All Reserve commanders must conduct an assessment within 120 days of taking command. They are also required to conduct one at the year mark and yearly after. Reserve-component commanders must also have a DEOCS survey completed within six months of the directive, unless they have already done one in the last 120 days.

The deputy chief of staff for personnel, G-1, will analyze the results of all the DEOCS command climate surveys, as well as assess the efficacy of the DEOCS survey to see if it meets the Army’s goals “for assessing command responses to sexual harassment and sexual assault, but also for more broadly assessing a command’s efforts to establish and a maintain a professional, respectful and trust-promoting environment,” according to the directive. The results will be reported to the secretary of the Army, and any changes recommended as a result of this Army-wide assessment will be submitted by July 15. G-1 is also charged with publishing a revised version of Army Regulation 600-20, Army Command Policy, that incorporates the changes made by the directive.

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