Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention (SHARP) program

This information is subject to change based on updated policies and regulations. Please refer to the appropriate regulations, DODIs and Army Policies on SHARP procedures.

It is imperative that we get the right people in these vital positions. I understand that for commands in remote areas, getting good talent is difficult. What can HQDA SHARP offer to help with this?

The following human resource flexibilities are available to assist commands in recruiting and retaining a highly qualified civilian workforce. The use of these flexibilities is subject to local funding availability, eligibility requirements and current delegated approval authorities. Work with your local Civilian Personnel Advisory Center.

  • Superior qualifications and special-needs pay-setting authority: This discretionary authority, often referred to as an advanced-in-hire rate, allows hiring officials to set a newly appointed employee’s basic pay at a rate above the minimum rate of the appropriate General Schedule (GS) grade because the professional has superior qualifications or the agency has a special need for their services. Hiring officials may use the superior qualifications and special-needs pay-setting authority to set the rate of basic pay for an employee upon their first appointment as a civilian employee of the federal government or their reappointment to a GS position after a 90-day break in service.
  • Recruitment, retention and relocation incentives: Commonly referred to as the 3 R’s, these incentives are intended to attract new employees, retain current ones or relocate those with unusually high or unique qualifications for unique or hard-to-fill positions. Total incentive payments may not exceed 25 percent of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay in effect at the beginning of the service period multiplied by the years of obligated service. The employee must agree to enter into a service agreement for a specified period for all authorized incentives. The agreement must be accepted by the employee and approved by the authorizing official before the employee’s entrance on duty (for new hires) or the effective date of the incentive (for current employees).
Will Soldiers continue to serve in the SHARP program?

Yes. Soldiers serve a vital role in SHARP, and those who have completed the career course and are credentialed will continue to serve in the program. Transition to Civilian roles will take time, certain locations may have difficulty filling positions, and a decision regarding collateral-duty positions will not be made until fiscal year 2024.

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What are the cutoff dates for each of the phases outlined in EXORD 358-23?

The phases of the SHARP restructure are not strictly time based. Phases are generally conditions based, yet there are a few OSD directed timelines, as outlined in the Tier 1-4 Implementation Guidance, such as the elimination of collateral duty NLT FY25 and deadline for consolidating installation personnel before Q3FY24. Some installations may proceed to actions under subsequent phases sooner than other installations due to differences in local conditions. For example, a location that doesn’t require the hiring of any supervisory personnel can begin consolidation immediately, while larger installations will have to navigate hiring processes before consolidation. The Secretary of the Army has asked we lean forward with IRC implementation, where possible, so we expect installations to continue moving forward with restructure actions. Below are the triggers for the beginning and end of the phases of the restructure.

  • Phase I is complete. Phase I included initial hiring actions for most Lead SARC positions, as well as personnel at the operational level.
  • Phase II began with issuance of EXORD 358-23 and ends when supervisory positions are hired and on board.
  • Phase III begins when supervisory positions are on board and ends when all SHARP personnel are consolidated under installation Lead SARC, NLT March 30, 2024. During this phase, all current SHARP personnel are moved to standardized position descriptions.
  • Phase IV begins NLT March 30, 2024 and ends once USAMAA completes the manpower study to inform adjustments to the workforce (o/a Q4FY25). During this phase, collateral duty SHARP positions are eliminated.
The EXORD requires installation senior commanders to conduct a SHARP restructure brief NLT December 31, 2023. Does HQDA have any guidance or templates for commands to use when developing their briefs?

A slide deck with baseline content has been created by HQDA to assist commands with providing an informational brief on the new SHARP structure and to outline local transition plans. Installation Lead SARCs, local HR professionals, and supporting staff offices must develop local implementation plans with their senior commander’s guidance in order to provide this brief to key stakeholders across the installation. The HQDA slides are posted on the HQDA SHARP website, linked here.

Will HQDA publish policy that supersedes AR 600-20, para 7-5u(6) that provides ACOM/ASCC/DRU Commanders the authority to mandate Collateral Duty SHARP personnel?

HQDA will not be issuing any interim policy changes concerning the elimination of collateral duty. Current draft DOD policy will withhold all command authority to appoint collateral duty SHARP personnel. The SHARP Regulation will mirror DOD policy when it is released.

Why are these changes being made to the SHARP Program and its structure?

On Feb. 23, 2021, the Secretary of Defense (SD) established a 90-day Independent Review Commission (IRC) on Sexual Assault in the Military to review DOD policies and processes, as directed by the President. The IRC focused on four lines of effort: accountability, prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support. The IRC report delivered 82 recommendations. The SD approved the implementation roadmap on Sept. 22, 2021 using a tiered approach. The Army is engaged in transformational efforts to rebuild trust in the SHARP program by establishing a comprehensive approach to professionalizing, strengthening, and resourcing the SHARP workforce at all echelons. These changes are being made to facilitate victim centered care which capitalizes on multidisciplinary support from the installation.

During the restructure, will SHARP Professional authorizations cross Components (RA, AR, NG)? For example, would active-duty SHARP professionals authorized under 2nd BDE, USACC (ROTC) be realigned under the CG, 99th RD at Fort Dix, NJ?

Active-duty personnel authorized at an Army Reserve commanded installation will be aligned under the Reserve commander to support the installation’s response capabilities. Army Reserve assets supporting the USARC regional model, even if located at an active-duty installation, will remain under the control of their respective USARC regional SHARP structure. Examples:

  • 81st Readiness Division SHARP personnel at Ft. Jackson will not be under the oversight of the Ft. Jackson Lead SARC. They will support the 81st RD area of responsibility under the 81st RD Lead SARC.
  • 2nd ROTC brigade SHARP authorizations at JBMDL will be aligned under the 99th Readiness Division as the senior Army element at JBMDL under the new model.
When can we expect year of execution transfers for funding of positions identified within EXORD 358-23?

HQDA Resource Managers are working on release of FY24 funding as soon as possible. Release of funds has been delayed to incorporate changes across all commands to account for timing of restructure actions.

Will Cyber Excepted Service (CES), GG, or similar position descriptions be added to the approved HQDA standardized PDS?

The new SHARP Program will move SHARP assets from all commands to work directly for the Installation Lead SARC, who works directly for a SHARP Program Manager, as GS employees. Much like the workforces of the Criminal Investigation Division and the Office of Special Trial Counsel (OSTC), SHARP Professionals support installations or areas of responsibility, but their leadership/supervisor is a higher-level Special Agent or Regional OSTC office.

What is the mix of SARC/VA positions on new TDA and what is HQDA plan for moving everyone to the Installation SHARP Program TDA with the current lingering mixed positions?

A SARC and VA pair was allocated for every brigade or equivalent organization with approximately 1,000 authorizations or more. Simply put, if an installation has 15 brigades, they are authorized 15 SARCs and 15 VAs. All positions will be consolidated under the installation Lead SARC, regardless of their current command/unit affiliation. For example, a SARC or VA currently assigned to the installation’s hospital will report to the installation Lead SARC by March 30, 2024. The Lead SARC will then use the pool of authorized personnel to provide SHARP coverage for the hospital and the rest of the installation’s tenant units. The force management processes to realign SHARP positions under the installation-based program TDAs is underway and updated authorizations are expected to be reflected on FY25 documentation.

What is the rating chain going to be?

The Services were recently informed that the new DODI 6495.02, Vol 1 (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedure) and DOD SAPR Workforce Guidance 3.0 are expected to be released in Q1FY24. In these documents, DOD outlines prescriptive guidance regarding the reporting and rating chains of SHARP professionals.

How will the Army provide for SHARP coverage for rotational forces and deployed environments?

The SHARP Director is pursuing approval to retain the existing military authorizations for use as Victim Support Specialist (VSS) in a deployed environment and Program Support Specialist (PSS) in a garrison environment. In this way, the Lead SARC will ensure that rotational forces deploy with SHARP personnel, meaning within the senior commander footprint and not necessarily unit specific. Should there be no assets available locally, coordination is needed between Lead SARCs and operational planners early in the deployment planning process to ensure coverage. The Services were recently informed that the new DODI 6495.02, Vol 1 (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedure) and DOD SAPR Workforce Guidance 3.0 are expected to be released in Q1FY24. In these documents, DOD has provided prescriptive guidance on combatant command support requirements.

EXORD 358-23 states that approved ETPs to retain collateral duty only apply for remote installations. What are the requirements for a command to request an ETP to retain collateral duty and what guidance is there for any ETP processes for geographically dispersed units that are not near or on an installation, such as recruiting stations?

In order to implement the changes directed by DOD and supported by Army leadership, only those installations identified as remote, and approved by the U.S. Congress, are authorized to retain collateral duty personnel. Commands seeking ETPs to DOD policies must first be approved by Army Senior Leaders and then submitted to OSD for approval/disapproval. Under the installation-based SHARP program, much like the Family Advocacy Program, eligible personnel will receive support from their nearest installation. This approach aligns with the delivery of other sexual assault response services, such as criminal investigations and legal support.

Will the future staffing of the SHARP program be all Department of the Army Civilians?

In alignment with OSD guidance, the Army is moving to a 100% civilian workforce, except for the new Victim Support Specialist (VSS) role and some collateral duty SARCs/VAs at remote installations. Any military personnel, VSS or collateral duty, still require the supervision of a Lead SARC. The Army’s current military SARC and VA authorizations will become VSS positions. HQDA SHARP is working with Army Leadership and DOD SAPRO on the timeline and resourcing for this transition before the end of FY27. For now, military will continue to serve in their current roles.

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