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DoD Seeks Public Views on Homosexual Harassment

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 20, 2000 – Now's your chance to have your say. DoD officials want to know how you would solve the problem of homosexual harassment in the military.

An interservice working group seeks written comments from the general public. The deadline is May 8.

In response to a DoD inspector general report released March 24, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen set up the group to prepare an action plan to combat harassment. The DoD working group, led by Air Force Undersecretary Carol DiBattiste, must report to the defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness by July 31.

"This working group is about developing better measures to address harassment based upon perceived sexual orientation," DiBattiste said. "We won't be rewriting the homosexual conduct policy. We want to hear what people think about the issues raised in the IG report."

DOD HOMOSEXUAL CONDUCT POLICY WORKING GROUP INVITES PUBLIC COMMENT

WASHINGTON - An inter-service working group reviewing a Department of Defense report on the homosexual conduct policy invites public written comment, the department announced today.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen chartered the working group after he received the DOD Inspector General Report on the Military Environment With Respect to the Homosexual Conduct Policy, which was released March 24. Its deadline for completing its review is July 31, 2000. The DOD Inspector General report is available at http://www.dodig.osd.mil/audit/reports/fy00/00-101.pdf.

The group has been tasked to review the Inspector General's report and to draft a plan of action that can be provided to each of the Services. The plan will focus on measures necessary to address the problems of harassment based upon perceived sexual orientation, and the other issues raised by the results of the Inspector General's survey.

The working group invites written comments in this regard. The homosexual conduct policy itself is not under review by the working group.

Written comments should be mailed to the working group at AFPAZ, ATTN: Colonel Steven J. Lepper, 1670 Air Force Pentagon, Washington DC, 20330-16670 or faxed to (703) 697- 6455. They should be forwarded by May 8, 2000.

Written comments can be faxed to 703-697-6455, or sent to:

AFPAZ

ATTN: Col. Steven J. Lepper

1670 Air Force Pentagon

Washington DC, 20330-1670.

A DoD IG team went to 39 installations and 11 ships and submarines to collect data on the military environment with respect to the homosexual conduct policy, according to DOD officials.

More than 80 percent of the 71,000 service members surveyed told the IG team they had heard offensive speech, derogatory names, jokes or remarks regarding homosexuals in the last year. A total of 85 percent believed other service members and leaders tolerated such comments.

Some 37 percent of those surveyed said they had witnessed or experienced an event of harassment toward a service member because of the service member's perceived sexual orientation. Five percent of those surveyed believed the chain of command tolerated such harassment.

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Related Sites:
The online DoD IG report is available at www.dodig.osd.mil/audit/reports/fy00/00-101.pdf.
(A summary of the report is available at http://www.dodig.osd.mil/audit/reports/fy00/00101sum.htm
DoD News Briefing March 24, 2000, at www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2000/
DoD News Release, Survey Details Harassment, Cohen Calls for Action Plan at www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2000/


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