Shift Happens: Green Dot aims to change culture

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

Since it’s 2016 roll-out, Green Dot has been used by commands across the Air Force as part of a strategy to decrease interpersonal violence across the service. With the initial goal of teaching avenues of response, Green Dot has encouraged thousands to intervene and respond during high-risk situations.

Now to meet the initiatives of the Air Force Community Action Team, Green Dot is experiencing a foundational shift from a focus on intervene and response to response and prevention.

From March 13-14, the Green Dot program held a series of workshops to address many issues facing our communities and expand on bystander skills for sexual assault, harassment and suicide.

“While the previous Green Dot training was great at teaching individuals to overcome their personal barriers by finding a method best suited for them to intervene in conflict situations, the new focus is change of mind set from response to prevention,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Nathan Atkin, 25th Air Support Squadron Green Dot implementer. “A big part of the paradigm shift is focusing on things to influence and change the mindset of the community, to increase communication throughout the unit, and to bring people together.”

The new Green Dot focus builds upon the same tenets of the previous course of preventing suicide, sexual assault, family violence, abuse, stalking and other forms of violence by helping Airmen develop key skills that address the underlying common risks. While the previous course stressed the importance of recognizing and responding to concerning situations, the new course focuses on preventing those situations from starting by changing an organization’s culture.

With a new focus on developing strategies on prevention, commands across Oahu have taken notice.

Participants from the Army, Navy, and Coast Guard joined the Air Force in the Paradigm Shift workshop, with the goal of implementing the skills learned in their commands.

“Most Army units don’t have a holistic program like Green Dot,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew McMurray, U.S. Army Pacific Command sexual assault and response coordinator. “Green Dot does a great job at teaching individuals about themselves and how best to respond in situations.”

“While we are always finding different ways to track reaction and response, our commanders are also interested in the prevention aspect Green Dot offers,” added U.S. Amy Sgt. 1st Class Hannah Nunley, 728th Military Police Battalion sexual assault and response coordinator. “What this training gets down to, is people don’t take into consideration the second and third effects their actions or comments have. With its new focus, Green Dot is offering us and our commands another avenue for communication to ultimately alter the culture to one that is more inclusive.”

Green Dot empowers participants to actively intervene when issues arise. By recognizing the warning signs, understanding personal barriers, actively intervening, and now being aware of how a unit’s culture can result in ‘red dots,’ service members are better prepared to prevent violent situations.

For more information contact the Green Dot program at