Sgt. Maj. Boris B. Bolanos, senior enlisted advisor, Center for the Army Professional and Ethic, gives an introduction to the participants of the Sergeant Major of the Army Not In My Squad worshop Wednesday in Green Auditorium, Army Logistics University. The program focuses on building cohesive teams at a squad level. (Photo by Amy Perry, Fort Lee Public Affairs)

FORT LEE, Va. (April 27, 2017) -- An assortment of squad leaders from various Fort Lee units are attending the Sergeant Major of the Army Not In My Squad initiative.

Forty-eight Soldiers are participating in the four-day program that is neither a training nor sensing session, said Master Sgt. Verna Bellamy, the liaison noncommissioned officer for the event.

“These sessions are to create an environment in which squad leaders can share their day-to-day challenges and best practices – and make recommendations for empowering other squad leaders and improving unit climate across the force,” she said. “The squad leaders will certainly learn from one another during the workshop, but not in the way one typically thinks of training or taking a class. The participants will also develop professional relationships with other Soldiers assigned to units all across Fort Lee.”

These workshops are held Army-wide but not all installations are chosen to participate. Interested units have to submit requests and, typically only one post per month is selected for the unique opportunity.

In an introduction video to the Soldiers, SMA Daniel Dailey said “this is not another SHARP program. This is not chain teaching and this is not death by PowerPoint.

“Not In My Squad is a grass-roots initiative focused on building mutual trust and cohesion at the squad and team level,” he said. “Over the next few days, we are going to find out what issues you have and help you figure out how to solve them at your level or bring them to someone with the power to solve them.”

Bellamy said the workshop is designed to affect Army culture at the lowest level.

“SMA Dailey recognizes that squad leaders have the greatest impact on Soldiers and unit climate. No one is better suited to build positive unit climates, combat issues such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, bullying and hazing, and enhance unit morale and cohesion,” she said. “The primary focus of the NIMS initiative is to empower squad leaders to enhance mutual trust, build cohesion and take ownership of critical issues facing today’s Army. The workshop sessions are based on facilitated discussions designed to help them share challenges, best practices and make recommendations for empowering leaders to succeed at the squad-level.”