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Defense Department's New Policy Concerning Assaults on Women in the Military

Presenters: David Chu, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
March 18, 2005 2:15 PM EDT
(Also participated was Brigadier General K.C. McClain, USAF, Commander, Joint Task Force for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response; Joseph Schmitz, Inspector General, Department of Defense; Diane Stuart, Member of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies

 

            BRYAN WHITMAN (deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Public Affairs):  Good afternoon and welcome.  We're here today to talk about DOD's new policy that establishes guidelines for confidential, restricted reporting of victims of sexual assault, as well as to brief you on the results of the survey -- service academies' sexual assault and leadership survey.  That was conducted by the DOD office of the Inspector General.

 

            We have a number of people that are here to discuss these two items with you.  First is David Chu, the undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Readiness; Air Force Brigadier General K.C. McClain, who is the commander of the Joint Task Force for Sexual Assault Response and Prevention; Mr. Joe Schmitz, who is the department inspector general; and Ms. Diane Stuart, who is a member of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies.

 

            With that introduction, we'll -- they are going to be able to talk to you about the policy, the survey and the road ahead.  So let's go ahead and start with Dr. Chu, please.

 

            MR. CHU:  Thanks so much, Bryan.

 

            Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I want to thank you for joining us on a Friday afternoon when it's almost 60 degrees outside, and the sun is shining, the last time I looked.

 

            As Bryan indicated, we have really two subjects this afternoon to discuss with you, both on the tragic crime of sexual assault.

 

            First, as he indicated, General McClain and I want to take this opportunity to describe to you an important subject that did not cover in our earlier conference with you about two months ago, and that is this issue of how should we handle confidential reporting within the department.  The deputy secretary's made his decision in this matter and issued his memorandum earlier this week -- a very, very important part of a whole series of policies that have been announced, as you know, over the last two months.  And it's fundamental, I think, as I will argue in just a few moments, to our future success.

 

            We do also have today the privilege of having Mr. Schmitz with us, the department's inspector general.  By statute, the department must survey the cadets and midshipmen at the three service academies on this issue.  And Mr. Schmitz is reporting to you today on the survey that his office conducted in April of 2004.  And if I may, let me first turn the platform to Mr. Schmitz, and then General McClain and I will return.  Joe?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  We are going to post on our website this afternoon the executive summary of the first-ever three-academy survey on sexual assault and leadership.  This is a survey that we developed after we conducted an initial survey at the U.S. Air Force Academy two years ago.  And you may be familiar with the results of that survey.  And that was part of an overall effort requested by the Senate Armed Services Committee to try to get a handle on the problems and challenges that the Air Force Academy was faced with, and is still faced with.

 

            What we did this past year is first ever where somebody has come in and tried to survey all cadets and midshipmen at all three academies on the same issues at the same time.  We built upon the Air Force Academy survey from the year before and established a very solid survey tool, in conjunction with Dr. Chu's office and his experts in surveys, and we asked them very tough questions.  And we bent over backwards to provide confidentiality for the survey-takers.  For instance, we took our own computers, our own backbone; we did not tap into any of the academies' backbone because we wanted to assuage any concerns by the survey-takers that somehow their anonymity would be compromised.

 

            I'm pleased to say that we had a 97 percent response rate from the survey-takers.  That includes 97 percent of all the females at all three academies.  Because there were so many more males at the academies, we did a scientifically derived sampling of the males, roughly 30 percent of the males at each of the academies, and they were randomly selected, but representative of all four classes, and we believe very scientifically sound.  And we had about a 97 percent useful response rate from the males as well as the females.

 

            The results of the survey I believe will provide a very solid baseline for commanders at the academies, and leaders in the department, and leaders on Capitol Hill and other organizations that are concerned about these challenges.

 

            And in a general sense, what we validated was some of the challenges that we surveyed on last year at the Air Force Academy, the other academies are facing.  There are serious challenges with regard to the honor code and concepts at all three academies.  And you may recall, if you followed the story at the Air Force Academy when we first released our survey results there, it's hard to separate sexual assault issues from honor issues because of the nature of the challenge.

 

            And we had some significant data points that we probed into involving the confidence level of the cadets and midshipmen involving the various levels of leadership at each of the academies, starting with the very senior leadership working down to faculty, to the company level, junior officers, into the midshipmen and cadet leaders themselves.  And we've identified some trends that I think the commanders will need to be working on in terms of training and dealing with these challenges.

 

            One of the most important data points, though, we focused on, because of the vexing challenge of the underreported nature of sexual assaults, is we tried to ask very direct questions about why some of the victims were not reporting.  And so we have a good set of data points from all three academies as to why women -- and we also, by the way, surveyed the men, and there are some sexual assaults claimed by male cadets and midshipmen.  And we've got some good data points there to allow the commanders and David Chu's office to focus their training in helping the department deal with these challenging issues.

 

            And I'll be glad to answer questions later, but I think the plan is to have the general brief you now on the confidentiality policy.  Thank you.

 

            MR. CHU:  What General McClain and I want to very briefly outline for you this afternoon -- and we'll provide you the actual memorandum as well -- is the decision the deputy secretary has made regarding how we should handle confidentiality as far as sexual assault is concerned within the Department of Defense, what we would, actually, going forward prefer to call "restricted reporting" as a better term and more appropriate to the actual strictures that are being put into place.

 

            We believe that this will encourage -- this policy change will encourage more victims of sexual assault to come forward and seek help, providing commanders with a better understanding of what's actually happening in their commands -- very much one of the issues that Mr. Schmitz touched on a moment ago.

 

            The new policy allows victims -- and here is the big change -- the new policy allows victims to report a sexual assault to specified individuals without necessarily initiating an investigative process, while still giving them access to medical care, to counseling and to victim advocacy.  Those specified individuals will be a group we will call "sexual assault response coordinators," and General McClain can say more about their larger responsibilities in just a moment -- health care providers -- certain health care providers, victim advocates and chaplains -- chaplains already possess that privilege in our system.

 

            Although the department would prefer complete reporting of sexual assaults to activate both victim services and accountability actions, we believe our first priority needs to be for victims to be protected, to have them treated with dignity and respect, and to receive the medical treatment, care and counseling that they deserve.

 

            We are convinced, based on an extensive review of the literature and the practice of other organizations that this option will provide the victim with additional time and increased control over the release to management of what is very personal information.  Moreover, it will empower them to seek relevant information and support to make more informed decisions about participating in a criminal investigation.

 

            As you know, many victims are unprepared to withstand the rigors of a full-fledged investigation immediately following their assault, especially in the first several hours after such a tragic event.

 

            By this new policy of permitting victims to report in a confidential manner, coupled with what we've already announced and that you're aware of, it will foster, we hope, greater trust among victims that their needs are our primary concern, and the primary concern of their command.  And that in turn, we believe, will increase their willingness to come forward in the first place and to pursue an investigation eventually.

 

            As we developed this policy -- and it's taken quite some time to do this, I should acknowledge, we needed -- we recognized we needed to balance the needs of the victim with the needs of the commander.  The commander has responsibility to assure the safety and security of service members under his or her command.  This new policy, we are convinced, will provide commanders with a clearer picture of sexual violence within their organizations, because they will be informed of offenses that had previously gone unreported.

 

            Now commanders will learn within 24 hours of those incidents, where the victim chooses to receive care, but not pursue investigation, the commander will not as part of that confidential restriction or that restricted reporting, will not receive personal identifying information about the victim.

 

            Increased knowledge about the type and incidence of sexual assault, we believe, within each command's jurisdiction will improve the ability of commanders to provide an environment that is safe, and that contributes to the well-being and mission readiness of all service members.  Commanders can better assess the need for additional training, for law enforcement patrols and other preventive measures.

 

            The Joint Task Force for Sexual Assault Prevention Response, which General McClain commands, in conjunction with the military services, will be working out the specific implementation details in the weeks ahead.  This is a big change.  The magnitude of this change requires extensive, in-depth training for all department personnel, and specialized training for commanders, senior enlisted advisers, investigators, health care providers and others involved in sexual assault response.

 

            To assure consistent application across the military services, the policy will become effective, fully effective, in mid-June, in 90 days.

 

            Confidentiality and the procedures previously announced in January provide this department, we believe, with a comprehensive approach to sexual assault prevention and response.  We believe this approach will become the benchmark for other institutions.  Sexual assault response coordinators, the commanders checklist, monthly case management meetings, career-long training, department-wide standards and a variety of other measures embrace the sweeping changes that we are effecting.

 

            As I have stated previous, and wish to state again this afternoon, sexual assault is a crime.  It's a crime that the department does not tolerate, and we hope that our proactive stance will enable the department to create a safer and more cohesive military community.

 

            Let me say just a word in conclusion about the survey the inspector general is reporting on today, because we are privileged to have with us a member of the Task Force On Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies.  That task force is co-chaired by Vice Admiral Gerald Hoewing and Ms. Delilah Rumberg.

 

            But we are very privileged to have, as was made -- as Mr. Whitman announced earlier, Ms. Diane Stuart from the Department of Justice.  She is both a member of the task force and contributing importantly in that regard; she is also the Department of Justice director of the Office on Violence Against Women and brings her significant professional experience to bear in advising this department.  I'm very, very grateful to have her partnership in this, and she'll be available to answer questions as we proceed.

 

            We are hopeful that the department-wide policy that General McClain and I are announcing this afternoon will also be helpful in the academy context.  It, we believe, will give cadets and midshipmen an ability to report assaults without fear that the chain of command or peers will know about and then subject them to criticism, ostracism, ridicule or other repercussions from filing a complaint against a fellow student.  Very importantly, it will enable these cadets and midshipmen to obtain medical treatment, care and counseling while determining their options for pursuing an investigation.  They will also receive assistance from a sexual assault response coordinator and a victim advocate.

 

            The significant changes in department policy that we began to share with you in January and that we're continuing to share with you this afternoon we believe will result in more victims seeking assistance and commanders receiving a more realistic assessment of what's actually happening in their jurisdictions, through improved reporting of this tragic crime.

 

            We appreciate you joining us this afternoon, and we'd be delighted to take any questions that you have.

 

            Sir?

 

            Q:  I have some questions about the IG report.

 

            MR. CHU:  Joe, why don't you join us here.

 

            Q:  How many total men and women were surveyed?  I've got a few numbers questions, real quick.

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  It was 4,200, roughly, at each academy, 4,200 total at each academy, and my recollection is roughly 600 women at each academy.  We surveyed all the women, and we surveyed about 1,000 men at each academy.  As I said earlier, about a third of the men and all of the women.

 

            Q:  And when you said the survey, it was April 2004 when these were taken?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  March through April of 2004.  We had a six-week period in between what the academies call the "dark ages" and final exams, and we tried to make sure that we were asking the cadets and midshipmen during a time when they could focus on the survey.

 

            Q:  And the number of assaults that they reported in there would have then, presumably, taken place possibly since 2000; that was the time period?  That these were seniors --

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  Sure, because we asked questions while they had been at the academy, so with regard to the seniors they would have been there for almost four years, that's right.

 

            Q:  And my understanding is that the number was 302 women reported assaults?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  That sounds like a total number of incidents.

 

            Q:  Oh, incidents.

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  Incidents.  And some of the incidents could have been -- we asked very specific questions: What happened to you?  It wasn't, "Do you think you were assaulted?"  That was one of the lessons we learned from the first survey, was it would be good to actually drill down and actually find out what happened.  So we asked very specific questions for those who felt that they had been assaulted.  You know, tell us -- pick from a list of six or seven things what happened.  And each one of the things that happened -- it could have been multiple things happening in any one assault.

 

            So you are correct, there were about 300 incidences reported of females who claimed that they were assaulted.

 

            Q:  What do we take from that number?  Is that a lot?  Is that -- for the academy?  I mean, I don't know if there's a basis for comparison, but --

 

            MR. CHU:  There isn't a basis of comparison for the academies because this is the first time that that kind of comprehensive question's been asked in that way.  The statute requires us to continue these surveys, which, as Joe indicated earlier, my office will take responsibility for in going forward.  In fact, the next survey will be administered in the new "dark age" period.  I didn't realize that was the term for it.

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  No, the dark ages are over now.  Spring --

 

            MR. CHU:  Spring is coming.  Okay.  In a few weeks.  So that will start to give us a view of what are the trends here.

 

            I've quizzed hard the survey research community about, "Okay, we have these numbers for the academies; how do you compare these to civil society?" -- which I think is one of the bottom-line questions here.  The methodologies differ a little bit, the time period differs, and therefore it's very risky to make comparisons.  However, with that all said, as a non-survey researcher looking at the data, I think the broad conclusion I would reach is that we are about where college campuses are, tragically.

 

            That's not, frankly, terribly surprising.  These individuals, these young men and women come from civil society.  As Joe indicated in terms of who's being asked the question, this is everybody, so the median person is a sophomore to a junior; they've been in a military academy setting for two years, typically; they're not suddenly going to change.  We like to believe that when they put the uniform on, it has an effect; and it does have an effect.  And that's one of the standards we're trying to hold people to.  But my own conclusion would be not all that different from a college campus.

 

            Sir?

 

            Q:  We're somewhat at a handicap because we don't have the paper on your findings.  How many of these 300 incidents were actually reported to authorities?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  About a third.

 

            Q:  Okay.  Is that a fairly alarmingly low number, or no?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  You know what?  I'll ask the other experts in the civil context.  I think that's actually maybe --

 

            MR. CHU:  Diane, do you want to say a word or two about it?

 

            MS. STUART:  It's a little bit higher than --

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  So that's better reporting than in the civil society generally.

 

            But, can I say something first before Diane answers that?  I just want to emphasize something that David said, is, you know, we hold our cadets and midshipmen to a higher standard than civilian colleges.  We have a very rigorous screening process.  And our goal is to produce military leaders of character.  And, obviously, sexual assaults are not a good indication of character; in fact, they're a very bad indication.  But I just want to say the standard is not to produce non-criminal officers; our bar is way higher than that.

 

            MR. CHU:  In fact, Joe, you might want to speak to, there is enshrined in statute an exemplary conduct standard here --

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  That's right.

 

            MR. CHU:  -- which I think is important to keep in mind is that's our goal in terms of what we're trying to achieve.

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  As a matter of fact, the exemplary conduct standard was enacted by Congress in 1997 in the aftermath of some of the sexual assault scandals of the '90s, in particular Aberdeen Proving Ground, where we had some really bad sexual assaults going on.  And what Congress did is they reached down and they reenacted a 1775 leadership standard that was written by John Adams and ratified by the Continental Congress.  And it has four elements to it, all of which I think are germane to sort of the way forward and how we're going to try to deal with these issues better.

 

            The first element of the exemplary conduct standard, which is independently codified for each of the services -- the Navy's had it since 1775, because it was Article 1 of the 1775 Navy regs.  What happened in 1997 was Congress took that standard and applied it to the Air Force and the Army as well.  And the first element is that all commanding officers and others in authority have to show in themselves an example of honor and virtue.  In 1775 the verb was "shew" -- S-H-E-W.  But in 1997, we updated the language.  But the point is the same; you have to be a good example.  The second element is that these commanding officers and others in authority have to be vigilant in inspecting those placed under their command.  And the third element is the commanding officers and others in authority have to guard against and suppress dissolute and immoral practices.  And the fourth element is to hold those accountable who violate the standard -- the standards of the respective service.

 

            If you think about it, it's a pretty basic leadership standard but, frankly, when we looked at the Air Force Academy last year in our report, one of our general findings was is the leadership of the academy was not satisfying that exemplary conduct leadership standard in one way or another, and one of them was they were not being vigilant in inspecting those placed under their command.  They were not supervising to the level that the commanding officer is expected to supervise in the military, which is, of course, much different than a civilian setting.

 

            As David --

 

            MR. CHU:  Diane -- I'm sorry.

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  As David said, I mean, the commanding officer is ultimately responsible for the good order and discipline of the command that he's in charge of, and that's the vexing challenge that David described.  And that's why it's taken us so long to try to come up with a balance between protecting the victims of crimes and respecting the very, very important duty of the commanding officer to be vigilant in inspecting those under his command and to guard against and suppress dissolute and immoral practices, which, by the way, is a higher standard than just crimes.  There are dissolute and immoral practices which are not crimes, and the commanding officer is still charged with guarding against and suppressing those as well.

 

            MR. CHU:  Diane, did you want to say a word or two about the whole reporting issue as seen from the larger social perspective?

 

            MS. STUART:  Well, it's not unusual for a victim of sexual assault not to report.  This has been an event that has happened to them that has been traumatizing, that is very difficult to talk about, it's very difficult to put into perspective yourself.  And when you're out there alone, notwithstanding everything that he just said, you feel embarrassed, maybe; you feel that you should have done something to prevent it.  So the very fact that young women are not reporting in a particular environment, such as at the academies, is not unlike that anyplace else.  It's a tough thing to talk about something that has really intimately touched you and has changed you forever.  It's very hard to bring it to light.

 

            MR. CHU:  More questions?  Yes, sir?

 

            Q:  Did the women reporting these incidents say anything in the survey or did anything in the survey reflect anything on their view of the response of the different institutions to their -- those who did report?  What, if anything, can you tell us about what they said about the response?

 

            MR. CHU:  Joe, you want to comment?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  Yes.  That's a good question.  One of the things that we did -- and it was surprising, in a positive sense, because we weren't sure how much we would get the survey takers to open up.  But we did do this electronically, and we did allow the survey takers to provide comments, literally as much as they want.  And I know at the Air Force Academy, they went way over the time allotted providing us comments, discussing some of these very issues.  And some of those comments we have redacted and included in our full report.

 

            The balance that we have to do -- and I'd just ask you to kind of work with us on this.  One of the reasons we bent over backwards to provide confidentiality to the survey takers was precisely the reason that --

 

            MR. CHU:  Diane Stuart.

 

            MS. STUART:  Diane.

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  -- Diane mentioned is that, you know, some of these people continue to be traumatized.  And by the way, we surveyed male and female.  The male victims of sexual assault at the academies did not report.

 

            MS. STUART:  Oh, no.  You're right.  You're right.

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  It's not just the female, because -- and the less number of men that are sexually assaulted or claim they were -- but they likewise didn't report, and that's just a human nature issue we need to deal with.

 

            But the -- what I'd just ask you to work with us on is, we deliberately kind of redacted all the comments because we promised the takers that we would respect their anonymity.  So we bent over backwards.  And if we put all the comments in, some of the survey takers -- it would be obvious whose comments they were, and that would be a breach of trust.  And what we don't want to do is, we don't want to create a chilling effect.  Having sort of had a very successful survey, having developed a good baseline, we don't want the cadets, the midshipmen that respond to David's surveys this year and next year and the one to sort of just assume that whatever they say is going to be published on the website of the DOD IG or elsewhere, because I think that would have a chilling effect.

 

            But suffice it to say we got a lot of data directed at your question, and we will provide that to the leaders that need to make decisions based upon it.  But we really need to respect the anonymity and the assurances we made to the cadets and midshipmen not to broadcast those type of comments.

 

            Q:  Can you give us a general sense about or a characterization of -- did they feel they were satisfied with the response, or how -- what would be a fair representation of what their feeling was about how the institutions responded?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  One of the data points that is troubling that gets to your question is a sense of cynicism in the system that appears to increase over time while they're at the academy.  And of course, anybody that has had college-age students -- (chuckles) -- or has been a college-age student knows that that's a normal tendency as you go from 17 or 18 up to adulthood.

 

            But we would hope that at academies, when we're trying to imbue senses of honor and courage and moral character, that we would see an increase in, for instance, a commitment to the honor code.  And what we saw in our survey that -- we asked questions like "How well do you think your classmates adhere to the honor code, even when they know they're not going to get caught?"  And the numbers were not very good.  I mean, there was a substantial minority at each of the academies that felt that the cadets and midshipmen were not adhering to the honor code or concept, depending upon the academy.

 

            And as I said earlier, when you get into sexual assault and sexual misconduct issues, and there's been drinking, and there's a tendency, A, not to report, and B, when you do report, we see instances where you've had honor cases coming out, because it ends up being he said/she said, and somebody's lying, and then when they do the investigation, you know -- in fact, we just had one of those in my office, where we had to report back to a member of Congress that was concerned that some sort of retaliation had occurred, and when we looked into it, there was an instance of a cadet lying about the circumstances of an alleged sexual assault.  And that happens.

 

            MR. CHU:  Sir?  And then you, ma'am.  Sir?

 

            Q:  The implementation of this restrictive reporting process seems to be an impressive undertaking.  It was a lot of people, a lot of training -- you've got to train or hire victim advocates.

 

            MR. CHU:  Yes, we're in the process of doing that.

 

            Q:  How is the department prepared to implement this?  Is it through the joint, the JTF?

 

            MR. CHU:  Yes.  General McClain, if I could ask you to help give some detail here.  But that is one reason that we are setting a goal of getting this all in place by the middle of June.  K.C.?

 

            GEN. MCCLAIN:  We have been working with the services very closely on the implementation policy, setting up with them the training standards that need to be met for everyone in the Department of Defense, and then also the training standards for the specific responders.  These series of meetings have been ongoing since we last met with you in January, and we're now in the process of rolling that out.

 

            Q     How many people are we talking?  And what type of budget is this?

 

            GEN. MCCLAIN:  The services have all carved money out of their budgets for this year, and I -- I don't have that number right at my fingertips.  I could guess, but I won't guess.  I will be happy to give that number to you.  But they have an impressive commitment to this training requirement.  They are -- some of the services are hiring additional people, which is again a resource commitment.  And then all the training that has to be done.

 

            MR. CHU:  Ma'am?

 

            Q     Yes, is this new policy gender-neutral?  That is, are same-sex assaults covered under this in confidentiality as well?

 

            MR. CHU:  Yes is the short answer.

 

            Ma'am?

 

            Q:  I wanted to go back and ask -- you mentioned in your opening statement that you have identified trends that commanders are willing to work on.  Can you elaborate on that a little bit, what you found specifically?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  I just elaborated on it, with regard to the cynicism and the sense of respect for the honor --

 

            Q     Are there any other --

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  One of the trends that we saw, which I discussed with at least one of the superintendents, which is of concern is -- well, there's good news and bad news.  The good news is that universally, males or females, there's a sense that preferential treatment based on gender is very disruptive to good order and discipline.  So there's a good solid sense that people need to be treated fairly -- regardless of their gender.

 

            The flip side, and where we have some challenges, is that particularly among male cadets and midshipmen as they progress on in the years they have a sense that there is preferential treatment given to females.  I think that's a pretty clear statistic that we've seen.  And there is a similar sense for the female midshipmen that is not as pronounced.  But it's a challenge.  It's a challenge to convince cadets and midshipmen that you're being treated fairly, for instance when there's a double standard on the physical fitness test.  That was one of the incidents where we saw some concern among cadets, and in particular I think it had to do with one of the academies where the women had a lower standard on the physical fitness test, and when it comes up for sort of marking you where you stand in your class, the women appeared to be getting a bump up based on a lower standard.  And the question is:  Is that fair?  And that's just one of those challenges we have to deal with.  I mean, it --

 

            Q:  I'm sorry, I've got a follow-up to that.  So given the question in the PT sense, I mean, was there a sense at all in any of the data that you gathered that men didn't feel like women belonged at the academies because of stuff like that?

 

            MR. SCHMITZ:  You know, we were concerned about that issue because that is what you hear about, and that comes out of comments on both sides, by the way.  The sense is -- we didn't really want to delve into that in a way that would be -- would exacerbate the challenges.  Because if you ask the question the wrong way, you kind of -- you can foment a sense that women shouldn't be there.  The fact is Congress chose -- you know, the Congress made a decision, and we didn't want to be second-guessing the decision Congress made.

 

            What we did is we focused on kind of the underlying root causes of the sexual assaults and sexual harassment and disrespect that was apparent from the first survey we did and what you hear when you talk to some of the victims.  And I think we did a good job at getting to attitudinal questions about acceptance and respect for the other gender.

 

            MR. CHU:  If I may add, Joe.  Having looked at the survey results, there is some of that.  It's a distinct minority.  Joe has spoken with the academy superintendents.  I have spoken with each superintendent, once he had received Joe's report.  They all understand some of the issues they have in front of them.  They're often very difficult issues.  This is one of the issues that they, however, are all dedicated to addressing, to the extent it still is out there as a problem.

 

            Q:  When you say a "distinct minority," how small are you talking about?

 

            MR. CHU:  We'll get you the actual numbers from the survey.

 

            Yes, sir?

 

            Q:  By changing the reporting policy, how much more reporting do you expect you'll see in the future?  And do you have a way of measuring your progress on that at military bases as well as at service academies?

 

            MR. CHU:  I'm glad you asked that question because one of the unusual features that we will have to deal with, you know, I think in terms of public perception, is if we're successful -- General McClain, in particular, is successful with our colleagues, we're going to see more incidents reported.  And so we'll get -- I don't mean to counsel you how to write these stories, but we're going to see stories saying the reported number is up.  And actually, given the severe underreporting that both General McClain and Ms. Stuart have spoken to, that's going to be progress, frankly.

 

            We have some sense from the kind of survey Joe has done, the kind of survey we'll do ongoing at the academy, the kind of department-wide surveys we do, which we did in '96 and again in 2003, what we think the underlying incidence may look like and we, therefore, have some way to measure what fraction we're seeing of the totality.  But that is one of the big challenges out there, to know how close are we getting to what you might call full reporting.

 

            MS. STUART:  Yes, I agree with that.  We expect we'll get more people.

 

            And so one of the things that my task force is working on is developing a set of metrics to help us measure the impact of our programs and policies that have been put in place, and to see if we are moving in the right direction, because we recognize, if you just look at the total number of reported assaults, that that number will probably increase for a couple of years.  And so we don't want anyone to take that metric to say, "Well, your programs did not work," because we truly believe the reverse is correct, that increased reporting shows that increasing climate of trust and confidence that we're trying to inculcate in everyone in the department.

 

            (Cross talk.)

 

            MR. WHITMAN:  We have time for about one more, if we can go to somebody that hasn't had a chance.

 

            MR. CHU:  Okay.  Sir?

 

            Q:  Will victims who come forward under the restricted policy -- will they be encouraged to pursue criminal investigations?  Will there be a process to encourage them throughout the counseling to seek that investigation?

 

            MR. CHU:  Absolutely.  And K.C., you want to say a word or two about how we're going to do that?

 

            GEN. MCCLAIN:  Yes.  The victim advocate -- it will be assigned to them to explain the entire process to them, because currently we have victims who are making decisions on whether or not to report without necessarily accurate information, sometimes with misperceptions.  So we want to assign that victim advocate to give them accurate information, help them understand the process.  The victim advocate also helps in that "now I have somebody with me; I am not in this by myself."

 

            So we are hoping that then we will get the victim to that place to where they do feel that they are ready to report in the unrestricted sense and to initiate the investigative process, which will hold the offender accountable.

 

            MR. WHITMAN:  Thank you very much.

 

            MR. CHU:  Thank you all very much.

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