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DoD Urges Participation in Active-Duty Workplace, Gender-Relations Survey

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2016 — More than 750,000 service members have the opportunity to shape what the Defense Department knows about sexual assault in its ranks by taking the 2016 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey, Defense Department spokesman Eric Pahon said today.

The selected active-duty service members have until Sept. 28 to take the online or paper survey and its results will inform the Defense Department’s future prevention and response efforts, Pahon continued.

The survey is conducted by the Defense Manpower Data Center as part of a biennial cycle of health and resilience surveys outlined in Title 10 USC 481, and its results will provide information on service members’ experiences of unwanted, gender-related behavior.

Results from the congressionally mandated survey also will be briefed to service leadership, DoD leadership, the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office and Congress, Pahon said.

Make a Difference

"We know everyone gets a lot of requests to take surveys, but this is one that makes a very big difference. The secretary of defense, the service secretaries, Congress -- and even the president himself -- see the overall results of this survey,” Dr. Nate Galbreath from the DoD-SAPRO Office told DoD News.

“Much of the legislation that Congress has passed over the past few years to address sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military has grown out of the feedback that people share with us,” Galbreath added. “If there is ever a survey that lets your voice be heard, it's this one.”

The survey has gone through approvals at all levels of leadership, including service leadership coordination, and has been reviewed and approved by the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office and the DoD Human Protections Office, and is licensed by the Washington Headquarters Service, Pahon said.

The final report will be released as part of the 2016 SAPRO Annual Report in spring 2017.

The survey’s content is similar to the RAND Military Workplace Survey, or RMWS, that was conducted in 2014. The 2016 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of selected active-duty service members incorporates modifications based on recommendations from RAND, DMDC, the services and DoD-SAPRO, the spokesman said.

One of the primary changes is an expanded section on professional retaliation and ostracism or maltreatment, and increased emphasis on leadership climate. Items in this section are behaviorally based and were created with input from DoD-SAPRO, the services, the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Inspector General. They also align with updated DoD policies and regulations, according to SAPRO documents.

The 2016 WGRA was fielded in mid-summer and will continue through Sept. 28. It includes 735,329 active-duty service members -- 158,893 women and 576,436 men -- as part of a scientifically designed sample. It’s the largest survey fielded on this topic for active-duty members, the documents say.

Scope, Context

"For over a decade this survey has been used by the service chiefs and the department to understand the scope and context of the unwanted behaviors of sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Dr. Elizabeth Van Winkle of the Defense Manpower Data Center said.

“As a result of this survey, policies have changed and resources have been bolstered,” she added. “We also have learned a great deal about where we need to do better. For the 2016 survey, we need to hear from as many people as possible in order to fully understand gender relations in the military, and to ensure the department continues to stay on the forefront of this issue."

The sample size is scientifically constructed to provide reliable results regarding gender-related behaviors among active-duty members while minimizing the burden on the force. The survey is voluntary, according to SAPRO documents.

The survey is completely confidential, and DoD is promising confidentiality to those who were selected to participate in this important survey, the documents say.

Active-duty service members can check to see if they’ve been chosen to participate in the survey at the following ticket look-up site .

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)

Distribution channels: Military