Dec 4, 2014
In early 2014, the Department of Defense (DoD) Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) asked the RAND National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) to conduct an independent assessment of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination in the military — an assessment last conducted in 2012 by the department itself with the Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Personnel (WGRA). This report provides initial top-line estimates from the resulting study, the RAND Military Workplace Study (RMWS), which included a survey of 560,000 U.S. service members fielded in August and September of 2014.
Compared to the prior DoD studies, the RMWS takes a new approach to counting individuals in the military who experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or gender discrimination. Our measurement of sexual assault aligns closely with the definitions and criteria in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for Article 120 crimes. The survey measures of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, which together we refer to as sex-based military equal opportunity (MEO) violations, use criteria drawn directly from DoD Directive 1350.2. Compared with past surveys that were designed to measure a climate of sexual misconduct associated with illegal behavior, the approach used in the RMWS offers greater precision in estimating the number of crimes and MEO violations that have occurred. However, recognizing that DoD is also interested in trends in sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination, RAND fielded a portion of the 2014 surveys using the same questions as previous DoD surveys on this topic.