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Special DoD News Briefing on the Equal Opportunity Survey

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
November 24, 1999 12:00 PM EDT

Also Participating: Rudy de Leon (USD P&R), William E. Leftwich (DASD EO), Anita Lancaster (assistant Dir. Program Management, DMDC), Jacquelyn Scarville (DMDC)

MR. BACON: Good afternoon, and welcome. Today we're having an on-the-record briefing on the results of the Armed Forces Equal Opportunity Survey and a second study that focused on women and minority officers. Both these were very large complete surveys, as Dr. Anita Lancaster, the assistant director of program management for the Defense Manpower Data Center will describe in opening remarks, sort of laying out the dimensions of the studies.

She'll be followed by Bill Leftwich, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for equal opportunity, who will discuss the results in a wider context of the department's equal opportunity programs and goals and he'll also talk about the second study, which focused specifically on minority and women officers. And afterwards, they will take questions along with Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Rudy de Leon.

So, we'll begin with Dr. Lancaster, but before we do, just let me say that all of this information is available on the Internet, and you can reach it through DefenseLINK. We will also have some hard copies of the executive summaries if you haven't seen them already.

Q: Ken?


Q: Can I just ask one question about timing? Your reports say "August" on them. It's, you know, November. Can you tell me why these weren't released in August?

MR. BACON: My understanding is that we did have the raw data done in August, but we spent some time writing an executive summary. But that's probably a more appropriate question to ask people who actually worked on the report. But they'll give you the answer. Anita?

MS. LANCASTER: Good afternoon. Before I actually start telling you about the survey, I want to mention that a number of staff besides myself at the Defense Manpower Data Center worked on this survey. One of them is here today, Dr. Jacquelyn Scarville. And there are actually five authors on this report, and the other three are Dr. Timothy Elig, Dr. Jack Edwards, and Dr. Scott Button. So I am just one of the five people who wrote the report and many others who helped us.

Let me begin by briefly describing the background of this survey. It is the most complex survey, by the way, that those of us who do survey research at Defense Manpower Data Center have ever undertaken. And I think by the time we get to the end of this, you'll understand why.

At the time the researchers began working on the survey, our Under Secretary of Personnel and Readiness was Dr. Edwin Dorn. He told us that, despite the innumerable initiatives that the Department of Defense had undertaken to ensure minorities were treated equitably and fairly, that we needed richer information about what was actually going on in the force, the active duty military force, with respect to race relations and racial-ethnic harassment and discrimination. And that, combined with the interest of some members of Congress, is what led to this survey effort.

Well, whom did we survey? This was a survey of active-duty men and women in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. The sample of the survey was designed in a way where it would be representative of the five racial ethnic groups of the following: whites, Hispanics, blacks, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native American/Alaskan Native. That is one of the reasons, and there are many, that contributed to the complexity of this survey and the large sample size.

We mailed the questionnaire to 76,754 people, and we collected the data between September of 1996 and February of 1997. And we had a response rate of 53 percent, which for the type of surveys that we do at DMDC is fairly typical.

Well, what did we measure on the survey? When we began this effort, our senior officials asked us to develop survey items that covered four major areas. And they are members' perceptions of race relations. They wanted feedback on policy areas, like: How much training is going on? Do members feel free to report problems? What's their use and satisfaction with the complaint system? What's their perceptions of leaders' enforcement of, and commitment to, equal opportunity?

In addition, we were asked -- the other two areas were very new for us. And it actually took us quite a while to figure out how to do this. But we were asked to figure out a way to have members tell us their perceptions of the extent to which they, and ultimately their families, actually had experiences in the 12 months prior to filling out the survey. And these are experiences that might be construed by an individual as being harassing, discriminatory, insensitive.

And also, we were asked if there is some way to benchmark our results. Because no other major institution in our country has ever done a survey like this -- we have Gallup and Roper surveys about race relations, but we were never able to find any survey or any publicly available instruments or results where organizations asked its employees, "Do you feel that your performance appraisal was unfair because of your race ethnicity?" That kind of survey has never been done, to our knowledge, in the United States or anywhere else. So the issue was, when we get the results, how do we know how we're doing; we have nothing to benchmark to.

Obviously, in the future -- this is the first survey and it will serve as such a benchmark. So on this particular survey instrument, in fielding it the first time, we wanted to include items that would help us to determine how we looked compared to our society at large. So these last two areas I just mentioned -- actual experiences and looking at ourselves compared to society -- posed a formidable challenge. And as I mentioned, we ended up developing what are essentially all new survey items that have never been used before, other than on some sexual harassment survey research that we've done ourselves; we did look at those. But we ended up testing all the items on over 300 members, and as a result of doing that, we learned that we had to include a chance for them to tell us about their families, and they very much wanted to tell us about what was happening in the bases, around installations, off installations with civilians, not just military people. So the survey evolved into an effort that was even larger than we at first anticipated.

And as you eventually get the report, a copy of the survey instrument is in an appendix, so you can go through and see how we ultimately designed questions to get at those four areas.

Now, I'm just going to capsule -- I know most of you have the executive summary -- some of the major results.

First, in general, we learned that race relations in the military were perceived to be better than those in our nation as a whole. We concluded this by looking at a number of the indicators that we had inserted into the survey. And let me give you a couple of examples.

First, between 82 and 93 percent of all respondents in every racial/ethnic group said they had close friendships with members of other race/ethnicities. And that ranged from a high of 94 percent of Hispanics to 83 percent of whites, 87 percent of blacks, very high numbers for all racial/ethnic groups. Also, we asked if they socialized with friends of different race/ethnicities in their quarters and in their homes, and we found that 85 percent said that they did. And again, we had very high percentages of members saying that they actually in their house socialized with people of other race/ethnicities.

And finally -- or a couple more I guess I can give you -- 33 percent of our members said racial/ethnic relations in the local community were good to a large and very large extent, but 61 percent responded similarly about racial/ethnic relations on installations and ships. And when asked about the progress in race relations over the last five years for both the military and the nation as a whole, 46 percent of our members said military race relations were better today, compared to 30 percent who responded similarly about race relations in our nation. The 46 percent thought race relations were better today in the military, compared to 30 percent of our members who thought similarly about race relations in the nation.

And, I mean, there are other things in the executive summary that give you a flavor for this area and the general conclusion that our members do perceive the military to be better than our nation as a whole in terms of race relations.

In addition to these findings, I mentioned that we wanted to look at active duty military members' actual experiences. When we began working on figuring out how to do that, we initially thought it would be sort of a two-part question in the survey and that we would have a series of questions that would ask about interpersonal harassment, and we would have another series of items that would ask about institutional discrimination; you're not being promoted because of your race/ethnicity, et cetera.

It turns out that it was much more complicated than that. The military is not a traditional work force that goes home at -- works from 8:00 to 5:00 and goes home at night to bedroom communities. And so in our pretest, I mentioned that we ended up not just including items in interpersonal and institutional harassment and discrimination, but we ended up, in that section of the survey that asked them about their experiences, putting in items that allowed them to tell us about their family members' experiences and their experiences with civilians in local communities. And so these results then do not just depict -- as you read through the results, you have to be careful, because they don't just depict racial/ethnic insensitivities, harassment, and discrimination among active duty personnel. Embedded in a lot of these numbers are also the numbers about their experiences with civilians or their family members' experiences. And we try, I hope, in the report, to make it clear in the tables as you read through the numbers, you know, what those numbers are representing.

Well, what did we learn? We learned that 62 percent of whites, compared to 69 to 78 percent of the other racial/ethnics, the four other groups, said they had at least one offensive encounter with another DOD person during the previous year.

Let me tell you what "offensive encounters" were. They were items that said -- they were items like the following:

Told stories or jokes which were racist or depicted your race/ethnicity negatively.

Made unwelcome attempts to draw you into an offensive discussion of racial/ethnic matters.

So we had -- that was the section of the experiences where we had -- we have the highest reporting rates, as you go through and look at this part of the survey.

But we asked them about their experiences in the local community, and when you look at them, you will notice that these offensive encounters are not just happening among active duty personnel and DOD people on bases; that the same high levels are occurring to our active duty members and their families by civilians in the local communities. So as you look through those numbers, you will see DOD encounters with DOD personnel, and you will see DOD offensive encounters with civilians in the local community. The numbers overall are 1 or 2 percentage point differences.

So we have nothing that leads us, as the researchers, to conclude that what is happening in the offensive-encounters arena for active-duty members is all that different than what's happening in the civilian sector.

I would hypothesize, just as a researcher on the project, that our members spend a lot more time with each other on bases than they do in their interactions in the local community. And so those rates might be even higher in their interactions with the local community, if they were out there.

We have 50 percent of our people who live on base. So only half of our active-duty military people live off base, although people go off base to eat, to go to restaurants, to socialize, et cetera.

So I am just -- we have had many discussions, the researchers, about these results. So I am trying to give you a flavor for some of -- our ways of trying to look at these numbers and understand them.

In addition to asking questions about "offensive encounters," we asked items that eventually you will see that we labeled "threat harm." That's sort of the second area that we summarize experiences in. Examples from that area are "made you feel threatened with retaliation if you didn't go along with things that were racially, ethnically, offensive to you." Another is "physically threatened or intimidated you because of your race/ethnicity."

In contrast to the offensive encounters, we found that far fewer military members, 10 percent overall, had experienced an incident involving threat or harm, and that meant with another DOD person. This ranged from 13 (percent) to 16 percent for our racial/ethnic minority groups to 8 percent for whites. Again, they were indicating experiences they had had in the year prior to filling out the survey: "So in the last 12 months, have you experienced any of these things?"

Again, for that item, "threat, harm," we also asked if they had those types of experiences with civilians in local communities. And for "threat, harm," we had not 10 percent, but 12 percent of active-duty members say they had experiences; higher for whites, up from 8 percent to 12 percent, and 13 (percent) to 19 percent for the other racial, ethnic groups.

So again, these types of incidents in the "threat harm" category are occurring at somewhat higher levels in the local communities, with civilians, than strictly among DOD personnel.

The third area of the experiences section of the survey dealt with our military personnel life cycle. This is being at work: "What is going on?" We found that smaller percentages of members were having experiences related to performance evaluations, career, and assignment issues, training, administration of discipline; again then, the "offensive encounters," which was where we saw the high reporting.

For example, 4 percent of whites, compared to -- on the other hand, we saw increased reporting for our racial, ethnic minorities, compared to whites. And for example, we had 4 percent of whites reporting in these areas compared to 10 to 18 percent of our racial ethnic minorities. And an example would be their experience in incidents of discrimination related to assignment or career, that [being] one of the four subgroups under the military personnel life cycle.

And I know we can't review all the results here with you, and you have the report, but we took a hard look at extremism and hate groups, and very few members we learned had been asked to join hate groups or had participated in extremist activities; 99 percent said they had not been asked to join [or] participate in extremist activities, and 95 percent of our members did not know someone who belonged to an extremist organization.

After filling out the section of the survey where they told us about their experiences that fell into those categories of offensive, threat-harm and the military personnel life cycle, we asked members if they held DoD responsible for the prevention of those experiences, and 58 percent indicated they did. And again, as you think through the data and what the survey was measuring, you keep -- you have to keep remembering that people are telling us on this survey about experiences with civilians in local communities besides experiences with other DoD personnel on bases. So 58 percent thought the things they had checked in items under experiences, 58 percent thought DoD should be held responsible for preventing them.

What about the policy areas? There's quite a bit in the report that we'll summarize. We learned that 77 percent of our active-duty military personnel had some [racial/ethnic equal opportunity] training in the previous year. We learned that they know how to report. Over 90 percent of our people knew to some extent how to report, but only 14 percent, we learned, had actually reported something that occurred to them in the year -- again, the year prior to filling out the survey.

When we asked people why they did not report, 39 percent said nothing would be done, and 29 percent said the situation was not important enough to report. And you're back again to the experiences representing everything from an offensive joke to more serious and egregious kinds of experiences. Twenty-four percent of the members said they didn't report because they took care of the problem themselves or because they thought it would make their workplace environment unpleasant.

So those are findings in the report as we tried to learn a little bit about reporting and use of the complaints process and why people don't report. When we asked them if they were dissatisfied with the complaint process overall, 52 percent who tried to use it said they were.

Back to the fourth area that I mentioned we were asked to look at, which is benchmarks, I mentioned at the beginning that we thought this was hard to do because we had no other surveys of large institutions to turn to. And so we ultimately decided to establish benchmarks within the survey in a couple of ways. We asked members to evaluate whether race relations were better in the military, better as a civilian, or whether there was no difference. That was one way that we did it. Forty-six percent said it was better in the military; 48 percent said there was no difference; 6 percent said race relations were better in the civilian sector.

Another way that we tried to look at these benchmarks was we asked members about progress in race relations in the last five years. This item asked whether race relations had improved, had become worse, or whether relations had stayed the same. This is the finding I mentioned near the beginning. Forty-six percent of our members said military race relations are better today; 30 percent said national race relations are better today.

Finally, we asked an item that had a series of response options below it. We asked members whether specific opportunities and conditions for people of their racial group were better in the military, better as a civilian, or if there was no difference. And for example, we asked [about] freedom from harassment, freedom from discrimination, fair performance evaluations, education and training opportunities, et cetera. There was a long list. And I'll give you a couple of results. For freedom from harassment and discrimination, only 7 percent thought it would be better to be in the civilian sector; over one-third, 35 to 37 percent, said these conditions were better in the military. And similarly, although only 43 percent said that education and training opportunities are better in the military, only 16 percent said they would be better in the civilian sector. And that was a better in the military, no difference, better in the civilian [sector]. So you've got people clustered in the middle in these answers also.

But we saw very few instances where the civilian sector was rated as being better than the military, then [except for] surprise, surprise -- pay and benefits and, of course, quality of life. Our military people move frequently and, obviously, endure hardships that those of us as civilians, who get to live in the same community for an extended number of years and go to work from 8:00 to 5:00, don't have to endure.

To sum up sort of -- oh, I'm sorry. And finally, we did go and look at -- and I would encourage you to go look at -- the Gallup and Roper national polls. When you look at even the military personnel life cycle, and the people being treated unfairly in their environments or at work, the June 1997 Gallup poll said that 30 percent of blacks reported being treated unfairly while shopping in stores in the last 30 days. This is not asking what happened over the last 12 months [as the DoD survey did]. Twenty-one percent of blacks report being treated unfairly at work. Again, 21 percent of blacks reported being treated unfairly in restaurants, bars, theaters, and 15 percent of blacks reported being treated unfairly in dealings with police.

And I saw an item that was in Roper's Public Perspective in February/March of 1998, that said, "Do you feel that you personally have ever been denied a job or promotion because of your race?" And 44 percent of blacks said yes.

So in terms of my trying to find benchmarks for our senior leaders to be able to compare what they're learning on this survey to, these are some of the kinds of things we've been able to sort of come up with. They're not exactly parallel to the items on the survey, but they're available to all of you also. They're not in our report, by the way; those are findings that are already published elsewhere.

So, to sum up, we learned that minorities have a very different perspective than whites about racial/ethnic harassment, discrimination, and insensitivities. For example, a minority group's -- blacks and Hispanics tend to report some of these things at highest rates. They indicate having higher -- they report -- all of our minority groups reported higher rates than whites overall, as a general finding. But our minority groups are all also less optimistic than whites about race relations. And you heard me say some of the other findings. Thirty-nine percent of blacks versus 68 percent of whites said that at their installation/ship, racial/ethnic relations were good to a large/very large extent. You begin to see within the racial/ethnic group differences in this area.

On another survey item, where we asked, "Is the military paying the right amount of attention to racial/ethnic harassment and discrimination," 62 percent of blacks, 38 percent of Hispanics, 28 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 17 percent of whites said we were paying too little attention. So you see the disparity in the perception across the race/ethnic groups.

When asked about -- I guess a second major finding is, when asked about their experiences in the last year, more members said they had offensive encounters than any other type of experience. For example, they experienced offensive encounters at significantly higher levels than other types of a threat/harm, or the military personnel life cycle experiences. These offensive encounters occurred not only among active duty military members and other DOD personnel, but members reported comparable levels of offensive encounters with civilians in local communities. And so we have to conclude from those results obtained for local communities that problems there are as great, or perhaps greater than, what's happening among our own active duty military people on bases. And I guess a final conclusion, as I mentioned at the beginning, is that members, we believe, think that race relations are better in the military than in the civilian sector, based on a number of the indicators that were put into the survey instrument.

I'm going to stop now, and Mr. Leftwich has some remarks that he is going to make, and welcome your questions later.

MR. LEFTWICH: Good afternoon. As earlier stated, my name is William Leftwich. I'm the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Equal Opportunity.

I am very proud to say that the United States military is one of the most racially and ethnically integrated institutions in America. Through the years, the Department of Defense has put into place policies and programs that allow our military members to serve our nation in an environment of dignity and mutual respect. One such program includes individual climate surveys. While these surveys gave local leadership a sense of racial and ethnic relations within their unit, there was no global assessment tool for equal opportunity until now.

This equal opportunity survey serves as a form of self-examination, which is absolutely vital to our institutional health.

The survey results provide the department a gauge to measure the effectiveness of its efforts in equal opportunity today and well as into the next millennium. We will continue to evaluate our efforts to ensure that our military men and women will be able to live and work in an environment free from harassment or unlawful discrimination.

We plan to use the results from this equal opportunity survey to continually assess equal opportunity policies and initiatives. The findings will be used to establish a baseline for comparison to the results for the next equal opportunity survey.

It's very difficult to characterize the findings of a survey of this magnitude and complexity. There are several positive indicators, as well as areas that will require our attention and more effort. I urge you not to focus on [only] one or two findings, and it's all-important to realize that service members from five racial/ethnic groups were a part of this survey.

One of the other areas that I would like to bring some attention to in a very brief form are just a few of the details of the career progression of minority and women officers. First of which you should know that from the years 1977 through 1997, two decades, we virtually more than doubled the number of minority and women who are in the officer ranks; for minorities, which were at 7 percent, have gone up to 15.3 percent; for women, who were at 5.9 percent, are up to 14.1 percent.

One area of special note in this study was that minorities and women tend to be clustered in the administrative and the support areas. Not many of our minorities and women are in the track, I guess you could say, for tactical commands. That's the command area or one of the areas in the military where two-thirds of our flag and general officers find their roots. Aviation is another area of underrepresentation, although in recent years there has been a slight rise for minorities and women in those areas as well.

Other small details that I will share with you before we open this session to questions was that black men and white men have a similar tenure on active duty; that black and white women normally leave the service at an earlier rate than men do. Some of the factors contributing to different promotion rates for women and minorities are the educational precommissioning preparation, the initial assignment, and some of that contributes to their slow start and limited access to peer and mentor networks.

For the most part, the Career Progression of Minority and Women Officers survey, or study, pretty much parallels a lot of the results that we received from the race and ethnic survey. And so, at this time, we are here to address your questions.


Q: (Off mike) -- Leftwich, might I ask maybe you and Secretary de Leon if, while it might be a bit unfair since you say you have no benchmark, could you give yourself -- considering this a kind of a test on what you've tried to do with the military in terms of risk, how would you say you fared on this -- A, B, C, D in this? And could you give us maybe two things, specific things, that you think you might need to do to improve relations?

MR. LEFTWICH: Well, first let me start with your last question. The reason why we take on this type of survey to begin with, it's not necessarily designed for us to pat ourselves on the back. We want to take a hard look at ourselves, because we know that the type of work that has to take place in the area of race relations, that has traditionally been a struggle for everyone in this nation since the very beginning. And so we know that there are going to be areas that we need to do further work in, but that's why we do the survey. We do the survey so that we can become a healthier institution for tomorrow than we are today.

Your first question, the first part of your question, I lost that----

Q: Give me something -- assess a grade on the results of this in comparison to where you want to be.

MR. LEFTWICH: Well, where we want to be is we'd like to have an A-plus. I mean, that's why we do these types of surveys.

Q: And what would --

MR. LEFTWICH: What I would say is that, while we do these surveys and continue to work on our improvement, I think that the Department of Defense, in taking on the challenge of looking at itself and knowing that this is an area that we have to work on and be vigilant in every single day, this is just not something that we can fall on our knees and hope for something to fall out of the sky.

I give us an "A" in terms of effort. I know that there are many, many things, many issues -- this is a rich tool that has many things that will challenge us. But I think the mere fact that we did a survey of this type certainly deserves a lot of credit because most folks, if they do these surveys, basically don't want to stand up and talk about it. But we want to candid; we want to be honest. We want to provide our leadership with a useful tool, something that they can use as a base to make the type of progress that we need to have in order to have an effective fighting force.

Q: Let me ask a similar question to try to get a handle on how you are viewing this. You mentioned that there are areas where you feel that you have made improvements, and there are areas that you see concern. Could you give us maybe one or two of each, an example of where you see the military has made improvements and also give us a couple areas that -- points of concern?


MR. de LEON: You know, first, we live with the impression that somehow we have solved a problem in the Armed Forces. We are really using this survey to hold up the mirror and look at ourselves in great detail, and that only when you take the time to look at yourselves can you really measure how you are doing. And I think this report says that in some areas we are doing better than our society and that in other areas there is much more work to be done.

Second, there has been an ongoing discussion. And at the heart of it has been -- our Secretary of Defense -- started with the commencement speech he gave a year ago at Norfolk. But there has been a continuing dialogue about, do we give each member of the Armed Forces the chance to acquire the tools that are so critical in the promotion process? Are we recruiting from every sector of American society? Then, a unique thing that has been extremely important to the military: Are we mentoring everyone? Does everyone have the opportunity to acquire the tools that are so critical in the promotion process, such as senior service schools, time away to go and get graduate degrees, the opportunity to command at several levels, both in the field and at the company level?

So there has been a continuous discussion ongoing really for the better part of a year looking at all of these individual issues. That process is going to continue. I think now that the survey is available, we hope that it's going to do, if it does nothing else, it does one important thing, and that is that it stimulates discussion -- in communities, on military bases, in military units -- because what I think the report tells us is that we look at these issues from different perspectives, our own personal perspectives. And I think unless we talk about them at every level of the department, from the Secretary of Defense, to the Under Secretary, to the Assistant Secretary for Equal Opportunity, to our analysts, to the sergeant out in the field, that these are things that we have to discuss and continually be working on and focused on.

QWell, that said, back to my original question. And you repeated the fact that the survey points up areas where the military has done better than society and areas where much more work needs to be done. Are there areas that you can point out in both of those categories?

MR. LEFTWICH: There's one thing that I could go immediately to. And I think Anita mentioned it earlier in her remarks. She talked about interpersonal relationships. You will find in your executive survey -- in your executive summary that there is information that will uphold an understanding that our people in the military, they not only work with, but they socialize to a great extent with people who don't look like themselves. They have social relationships, not just professional. So, you know, you can draw a line there. You have to go to work, but you don't have to socialize.

And so to a great degree, you know, when we look at a tenure of more than 51 years of work at trying to perfect equal opportunity, here we've gotten to a point where we can say that our military is not afraid to socialize with one another. There's also an area in the executive summary where it indicates that they felt that there was no pressure for them not to engage in those types of relationships. So we think that there is something that is very positive with what we have done to at least nurture and encourage those types of relationships to take place. Again, you know, that whole issue right there helps to create the bonds of trust. Those bonds of trust are very important when it comes to our military effectiveness, unit cohesion. Equal opportunity in all instances does equate to readiness.

MS. LANCASTER: I guess, you know, by way of areas where, you know, we've done well, you know, I think it is the perception of race relations versus our society, and I think the military personnel life cycle -- you know, despite the fact that in all those areas you can go back and find things to work on, when I saw the results and I looked at the military personnel life cycle results, I think, you know, you sort of sigh and you say, "Oh, thank goodness people have been paying attention." We really have been doing out in the field some of the kinds of things that -- you hear the rhetoric that the military is ahead of the civilian society in race relations. Because no large institutions have done surveys like this, I can't give you comparable data, but I would posit that if you asked people in the civilian world the kinds of questions that are in the military personnel life cycle section, I think the reporting rates would be considerably higher.

And I looked in particular at that one item on the Roper survey, where 44 percent of blacks thought they had been denied promotions and job opportunities. I think those kinds of percentages, again, at that level, are much higher than what we are seeing in the military personnel life cycle section of the survey.

And again, I'd concur with one thing too, and that is that I work on a lot of research and surveys for the department. These are difficult undertakings when you take on areas to do surveys where you know when you release the results, people are going to criticize you for looking in the mirror. (Laughs.) And so I do think that I'm -- as a researcher, that the department does deserve kudos for doing this kind of research.

Q: If I could follow up on that --

MR. de LEON: Doctor --

Q: Go ahead

Ms. SCARVILLE: One of the other things, too, that we saw was that in terms of the extremism and hate-group activity, we saw that almost all of our military people had very little experience with that, that that is not something that can characterize our military environment. That was another piece of good news, which I think we've done quite well on.

Q: If I could just follow up along those lines, in the survey you said that 53 percent, as I recall, of the people you surveyed blamed the DOD or said the DOD was responsible for the unpleasant experiences that they've had. But you go on to say a lot of these experiences were with civilians, and you say you think this is maybe no worse and maybe better than in the civilian world. But I'm wondering if you find -- any of you find the Department of Defense responsible for individual's behavior in some of these instances that you describe, or not?

MS. LANCASTER: Oh, certainly. I didn't mean -- as the person who gave out that information a few minutes ago, I didn't mean to imply that the 58 percent who said DoD should be held accountable for preventing this, that we shouldn't be. No. I believe that a lot of things that were checked as experiences that members had we should be working on eliminating those and figuring out how to ensure that people don't have those experiences. So I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply the 58 percent were trying to hold us -- the Department responsible for something that we shouldn't be. I think the number would be higher than 58 percent if so much of what was being reported wasn't associated with the civilian sector and the local communities. That's what I meant.

Q: Do you think you hold yourselves to a higher standard than society as a whole? I mean, can you address that somewhat?

MR. LEFTWICH: I think -- sir.

MR. de LEON: Go ahead.

MR. LEFTWICH: I think that by and large that we attempt to. I know that we work at it every single day. Our military services all have and have had very robust equal opportunity programs for a number of years. They weren't just sitting around and waiting on this survey to show up to do their work. This is a tool for us to gauge ourselves by, it's a tool for us to open our eyes. It's also really a window, because when we did this survey, we're looking at 1.4 million individuals from our active duty military service. Well, the reality of it is, guess where these people come from. They come from our nation, from all reaches and all territories. So actually what you see is somewhat of an opportunity to not only look at the military, but to look at who we are. The work that we need to do is vital. The work that we do with equal opportunity and how we evolve race relations in our military and in our nation is in our best interest. We will do better as a military and as a nation as we continue to get better at working these issues.

Q: Did you find any significant variances among the military branches? I know, for example, that there has been sort of a perception for some time that the Army was more hospitable in terms of African Americans, that there was more opportunity to advance in the Army. Did you find disparities like that among the branches?

MS. SCARVILLE: As we look at the report, we see that some of the branches did better in some areas, and other branches did better in other areas. But there is something to keep in mind. One of the things that we found, as you might expect, is that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to experience certain kinds of incidents than are whites. So services that have a higher representation of racial/ethnic minorities will be more likely to have higher rates.

The other thing that we found, which we haven't really talked too much about, has to do with rank and pay-grade differences. And one of the things that we found was, overall, the more senior your pay grade, the less likely you are to have these kinds of incidents. There is one exception to that finding; however, and that is we found that amongst blacks, junior enlisted, senior enlisted and officers were equally likely to have an incident of racial and ethnic insensitivity, harassment or discrimination.

But I mention that finding to also respond to your comment about service differences because what that tells us is that services with higher representations of enlisted or -- (inaudible) -- enlisted personnel will, all other things being equal, tend to have higher incident rates.

Q: Excuse me. I wonder if someone might tell me. You think -- I believe you said the two problems were minorities ascending to senior rank and also in aviation. Correct me if I am wrong. But someone tell me how many admirals and generals there are, minority admirals and generals, compared to others in the military, and how that compares to the percentage of minorities and whites in the military.

MR. de LEON: We'll get that for the record.

Q: The report itself, will that be made available?

MR. de LEON: I think it's on the web right now.

Q: So the entire report is out?

MR. De LEON: The executive summary, the full report. And I believe all of the empirical data that was extracted from the questionnaires.

Q: I know that you studied the report for some time and the data and so forth. Was the report changed at all from what DMDC provided to OSD?

MS. LANCASTER: I must say the only thing that changed is -- I am going to back up. It was a difficult read. This is not light reading. And you don't want to read it at 10:00 at night unless you are trying to go to sleep. It's a 300-page report. And we are trying not to leave a stone unturned.

This is an issue that is so important to the department. They asked us to do a complex analysis. And you will see that it was not something that was cursory.

So the one thing we were asked to do was to go back and revisit the executive summary, recently. And they said, "Anita, make sure that all the positive and negative findings" -- it's sort of like, "make sure the executive summary really reflects everything they have learned." So, Jackie Scarville and I are the authors. We went back and we went through every chapter and we ended up writing the executive summaries for you in a way that summarizes every chapter and what we learned, because they thought it might be more helpful if we had a more substantive executive summary. We had written a much shorter one. That's all it boils down to.

MR. de LEON: My tasking was to make sure that the executive summary fully captured the material so that if you read the 25 pages up front, you'll see the report and be able to judge it and that, you know, there is, I think, at the end of the day, as you go through the 300-plus pages, you won't find anything buried that is not pertinent and highlighted up front.

Q: Can I ask a question I've asked before about the fact that both these reports -- and I assume that these are unrelated reports -- the one on the officers and the survey of -- they both say August, 1999. Was this delayed? I mean, was the --

MR. de LEON: I wanted to have Dr. Dorn an opportunity to read the reports and that is, essentially, the reason for -- they were finished in late August and I wanted Dr. Dorn to have a chance to read them and he has been able to do that in the last few weeks.

Q: You're going to have another survey, I guess, in fiscal 2001. What changes are you going to make in the survey when you re-do it?

MS. LANCASTER: Actually, I think we have a few challenges ahead. If we change the survey too much, then you eliminate the baseline against which you wish to compare yourself in the future. So what we're going to be doing now, Dr. Scarville and I and some others at DMDC, is looking at the instrument and trying to decide what as researchers we think warrants elimination or whatever, turning to our senior officials to say, "What can we do in the next survey to help you better understand any issues that emerged in this survey or new issues that are important to the department that we should include?" So there will be a process over the next four months or so of trying to determine to what extent we would change the next survey.

MS. SCARVILLE: Yes, I think we need to do some further work on questions 29, 30 and 31 where we actually ask people what kinds of experiences they have. We need to look at that in much greater detail and make any kinds of revisions that would be required. Again, as Dr. Lancaster said, keeping in mind that we want the proceeding iterations of the survey to be comparable to the first.

There are also questions that we have about the complaint process, questions that don't easily lend themselves to a survey format, that we need to actually go out and talk to people and get more information on.

Q: We've spoken at length about blacks and how they have made strides toward integrating into the forces; they're not there yet, but they're making progress. You're also releasing a report on how well women are doing. And in previous reports, women had not done as well as blacks, at least not yet. I mean, women, for example, are still subject to legal restrictions on the jobs they can hold, which is not the case with blacks. Can you compare the relative achievements of these two groups?

MR. GILROY: I can speak very briefly to some of these.

Q: Your name?

MR. GILROY: Yes, Curtis Gilroy. Director of special projects and research for the under secretary. I am the study director for the study, the Career Progression of Women and Minority Officers. And we were assisted by the Rand Corporation and the Naval Post-Graduate School, the Human Resources Research Organization, among others. And the mandate from former Secretary Perry to Under secretary Dorn was to lead a major study of the officer pipeline, if you will, and, where necessary, recommend ways to improve the flow of minority and women officers from recruitment through general and flag officer ranks. So in a lot of ways, this report was narrower than the equal opportunity study. So we were looking primarily at the officer corps and their career progression.

Focusing on women for just one moment, Mr. Leftwich in his remarks had indicated that the representation had increased considerably between 1977 and 1997, and indeed, it had. It has more than doubled, from about 6 percent to 14 percent of all officers. But that's just the beginning because we see even more good news down-range, where in terms of accessions of officers, women account for 19 percent of new accessions.

And, coupled with the breakthroughs in the early part of the decade, where more and more occupations were opened to women, we can look forward to many more of those women entering those skills and career fields in tactical operations, for example, from which the general officers and flag officers are drawn. So we see a very bright picture, as far as women are concerned.

The data -- excuse me just -- let me just talk about promotions, because that's a very significant finding as well in our report. We looked at the administrative data. We looked at some focus groups and some interviews. And then we built statistical models to get behind the data and ask ourselves, "What is the reason for, for example, a difference in promotion rates?"

If we look at the promotion rates of white men and compare that as the benchmark, compare that promotion rates to white women, to black men, and to black women, we find some interesting results. White women generally do as well as white men beyond the rank of O-4. There's a little difficulty between O-3 and then arranging -- and then arriving at O-4, but after O-4, they do just about as well as white men do.

Black men, of course, do not do as well as white men, and black women do a bit worse than black men. So we have a problem more racially than we do gender-wise, in terms of the promotion rates. And black women, of course, suffer the double jeopardy, as we would say, not only being woman but being black. So in terms of those promotion rates, there are significant differences.


Q: Would it be reasonable to link the lack of opportunity for women in some of the elite combat jobs to their lower promotion rates, in some cases, and also to their concentration in administrative areas, where they're not -- where they're less likely to get promoted into command?

MR. GILROY: Oh, I think that's absolutely right. And that was some of our findings, too. We find the concentration of women in the supply and the administrative jobs. And because of the combat exclusion and the tactical issue, we find that their numbers are relatively small there.

If we look at aviation, for example -- and I think that's a good case in point -- the numbers are frighteningly low for minorities, but ever so low for women. Between 1990 and 1997 the proportion of minorities in aviation rose from 4.2 to 5.6 percent. That's a substantial increase, but the numbers are so small to begin with that the numbers aren't as large as we would like. It's a challenge for us.

In terms of women -- and the comparison here isn't quite as good, because of course they were not in flying jobs early on, so the data really are somewhat biased, but the numbers have increased proportionately, from 1.5 percent in 1990 to 2.0 percent in 1997. One could argue that's a third of an increase, but it's a very, very small number proportion-wise.

Q: Either for Dr. Lancaster or Mr. Leftwich. I don't think anybody would dispute what you've laid out as fact within the civilian societies, that their race relations are not good. What I haven't heard from either one of you is any sense of disappointment that race relations here in the Pentagon and within the Department of Defense is perhaps only as good as what we're seeing in society. What were you most surprised at finding, at seeing as a result of this survey? And realistically, how long do you think it'll take to make the institutional changes that will be necessary to improve things?

MR. LEFTWICH: If I might, I may have to come back and ask you for other parts of the question. Over the past year and a half, I have been involved with moderating almost 50 "One America" conversations all across this country. And in the process of doing that, and in addition to being an equal opportunity practitioner, the results of what I see in the survey, one, do not surprise me, because I've heard it, and I see it in other types of surveys that are presented to us, maybe not quite as dramatically as the survey that has reached out to over 76,000 active-duty military members, but through conversations with people all over this country, to include military installations. It doesn't surprise me at all that these types of circumstances or situations are taking place.

For me, could you say disappointed? I mean, certainly, I think that we would all like to have us perform better in a lot of ways. The challenge for us tomorrow is what we end up doing with this report today. This survey is a declaration of action. It tells us many of the areas where we need to improve. Without it, we would have not necessarily been guessing, but what this does is this helps up to focus better on where we need to go and what we need to do. But surprised? I was not surprised at all.

MS. LANCASTER: I don't have Mr. Leftwich's experiences in leading all of the different talks that he's conducted across America, but the researchers, as we looked at -- we talked to people, other researchers, and did literature reviews. There's much that's been written about invisible discrimination - that the racist jokes are gone, they don't exist anymore. What we have in our society today are situations where people are not invited to the right meetings, they're not given the right information when they get there to be an intelligent participant in the meeting. When you go out and read the literature in this area, you get a sense that the subtle things and the invisible discrimination, they characterize that as one of the major problems today. And so in terms of surprises, that's where, when we saw the military life cycle results, we thought it truly is offensive encounters, and it is the jokes, the stories, the remarks, the pictures, the graffiti, where the larger -- that's the larger issue in terms of the actual experiences that people reported. And that is not to say that the other is not a problem at all, but you asked if there were some surprises.

Q: So not job discrimination or being passed over for promotion, but more just racist jokes or --

MS. LANCASTER: I think they were characterized as that. That's where the largest reporting occurred, so you have to think about what that represents. And of course, it's happening with the civilians in the local community at the same rate as it's happening among DOD personnel. So I'm just saying that that was a bit of a surprise to the researchers because we had been led to believe that where we would see very high reporting is on the invisible discrimination, that the life cycle stuff -- the careers, the advancement, "I'm being prevented" -- you know, "I can't get ahead in my job because there are people" -- it's like having a glass ceiling effect; over the years they've talked of that concept.

Q: You still haven't given us your assessment of the grade of DOD. You said you'd like to be at an A-plus, but where are you now? What's your baseline?

MR. de LEON: I think the issue is too important to, you know, just arbitrarily to say what the grade is, because you've got to say at what point in time, taking in 200,000 new people every year, you're turning over the force at a very dramatic rate and so you are constantly bringing in new people from the society into this military culture.

I think singularly what the report says the most is that this is not an issue that you can take and approach it as though it's a soft problem, but that instead we're back to the necessity of having a dialogue, of talking about these issues. Maybe, I think, the most important thing that comes out of this report and this process is the fact that if we want to be better as a military organization, this is something that we have to constantly talk to each other about.

Q: Thank you.


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