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TEC joins forces to address sexual assault

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Tammie Smeltzer, sexual assault prevention and response coordinator from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, speaks with members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing here and with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for an ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Tammie Smeltzer, sexual assault prevention and response coordinator from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, speaks with members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing here and with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for an ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Tammie Smeltzer, sexual assault prevention and response coordinator from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, speaks with members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing here and with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for an ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Tammie Smeltzer, sexual assault prevention and response coordinator from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, speaks with members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing here and with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for an ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Air National Guard members from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing here join with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for their ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Air National Guard members from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing here join with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for their ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Air National Guard members from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing here join with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for their ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Air National Guard members from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing here join with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for their ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- Air National Guard members from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the 134th Air Refueling Wing here joined with area sexual assault program managers July 17 for their ongoing effort to help eliminate sexual assault from the armed forces.

"The TEC takes the Secretary of Defense's commitment to eliminate sexual assault extremely seriously," said Tammie Smeltzer, TEC's sexual assault prevention and response coordinator. "Community outreach is just one of the many tools we use to do that."

Smeltzer and base SARCs here met with Becki Garland, clinical director of the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee and Dana Thompson, with the same organization.

The group had lunch and shared their thoughts and unique approaches and differences between military and civilian sexual assault prevention and response efforts, including investigations and advocacy/victim assistance and assessment.

The group also planned future efforts for education and prevention on the base and in the community that could involve interactive discussions and guest speakers.

The East Tennessee nonprofit group supports 15 counties, and their efforts include regular visits with students at area colleges.

"This [TEC] is kind of like a college campus," Garland told the group.

In the military, the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, recently implemented the 2013 DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Strategic Plan, with a deadline for all service component plans to align with it by July 31, 2013.

The services are also implementing other measures set by the Secretary that address accountability, command climate and victim advocacy and well as enhancements to the administration of military justice.

"Every effort, no matter to how far down the chain it is, supports that vision - to serve, free of sexual assault," said Smeltzer.