The Pentagon is conducting its largest-ever report of sexual assault in the military this year, with over half a million active-duty troops being called on to submit responses.
The report, to be conducted this year, will be issued online to all 200,000 active-duty servicewomen and 300,000 servicemen.
The Pentagon hired professional Rand Corp to create and distribute the poll in the hopes of getting more responses than ever before. “Rand’s survey methodology will allow the department to accurately compate data among all previous surveys so that we can semlessly asses progress the department is making in preventing and responding to the crime of sexual assault,” says Army Major James Brindle, a spokesperson for the Pentagon.
“Great care was taken to obtain a representative sample,” says Rand Corps spokesperson Jeffrey Hiday, who added that the survey will not exclusively be about sexual assault.
The US military faced massive criticism in 2013 in the wake of a report on sexual assault which revealed an increase of unreported sexual assaults from 19,000 in 2010 to over 26,000 in 2013. A separate report released at the same time showed an increase of 6 percent in reported sexual assault cases. The 2013 report sparked outrage on Capitol Hill, where President Obama held a conference to urge officials to take charge and assigned Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to “step up our game exponentially” in both preventing sexual assault in the military and charging those responsible.
The Rand report is part of a requirement made by President Obama in 2013 for a full-scale report on progress made to eradicate military sexual assault by December of this year. The President has fought to end military sexual assault throughout his term, most recently in January when he signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, which expanded efforts for sexual assault prevention and strengthened victim protections. Efforts to curb the military sexual assault epidemic have floundered in Congress, where legislators remain split about whether or not to remove prosecution of sexually violent crimes from the chain of command.