Sexual assault is a serious issue affecting our Navy. It hurts our people, undermines trust, and impacts readiness. The Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program provides a valuable service to combat this problem. While response is a critical part of the program, it is far better to stop the event from occurring, hence the increased focus on prevention.
By analogy, in missile defense the military speaks in terms of “breaking the kill chain,” by engaging an entire threat system, starting with the sensors that make the initial detection, to the command-and-control process, and to the fire control systems that direct the weapon, working through all steps until the weapon hits the target. The goal is to break the kill chain as far “to the left” or as early as possible in the sequence of events, ideally defeating missiles before they are even launched.
The same preemptive mindset should be fully applied to the SAPR program. Two critical elements, though, are missing from the far left hand side of the SAPR program: screening and deterrence.