The Department of Defense today released the report of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies.
The report is an assessment of the policies, practices and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment and related misconduct at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. It contains specific findings and recommendations aimed at strengthening education and training, victim support, offender accountability, confidentiality, prevention and case management at both institutions. The U.S. Air Force Academy was not included in this effort, as it had undergone a similar review by the Fowler Commission in 2003.
The task force was mandated by the Defense Authorization Act of 2004 and consisted of six military and six civilian members. It was co-chaired by Vice Adm. Gerald L. Hoewing, chief of naval personnel, and Delilah Rumburg, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
At an Aug. 25 press conference, David S. Chu, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, thanked the co-chairs and the entire task force and said, Sexual misconduct of any sort is absolutely contrary to the values of our society and our armed forces. We will thoroughly and carefully review the findings and recommendations of the task force to continue to build on the progress we have already made in revising policies and procedures to address this societal problem within the Department of Defense.
The task force gathered information by conducting site visits; communicating with hundreds of individuals, including victims; reviewing the Department of Defense survey data; reviewing academy and service policies, reports, and data; consulting with subject matter experts; and communicating with related committees and task forces. Their report contains more than 40 specific findings and attendant recommendations.
Following review by department officials, the report will be officially transmitted to the Congress with analysis and comment from the secretary of defense. For more information, contact DoD public affairs or the task force public affairs at (703) 325-6391.