July 2, 1996 - 1:30 p.m.
Sexual Harassment Study. Also participating: Capt. Michael Doubleday, DASD(PA), and Dr. Anita Lancaster, Assistant Director for Program Management)
Captain Doubleday: Good afternoon. Today's briefing is going to begin with Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness, Ed Dorn. He is here to give you the results of the 1995 Department of Defense Study on gender-related issues. When he has completed that portion of the brief I'll return to the podium and try and answer some of your questions. Mr. Dorn.
Secretary Dorn: Thanks a lot. As Mike mentioned, I want to update you on the Department's effort to eradicate sexual harassment. Let me put that issue in context first. We now have 195,000 women on active duty in the armed forces. They constitute about 13 percent of the force. That's a six-fold increase from when the all-volunteer force was established in 1973. Not only have those numbers increased, so have the types of jobs that women perform in the service. In 1993 this administration took steps to permit women to serve in combat aircraft and to serve on combatant vessels. We opened some 250,000 additional jobs to women. As a result of the steps we began in 1993, some 90 percent of all career fields are open to women and 80 percent of all jobs can now be filled by either men or women. That gives the service- -the services--the flexibility they need to put the best- qualified person in a job. Since we can now assign the vast majority of jobs solely on the basis of merit, we've raised the heights and broadened the horizons to which women can aspire. The recent nominations of Major General Mutter and Rear Admiral Tracy to three-star rank are two examples. But, more generally, women continue to advance. Virtually every promotion list produces an increase in the numbers of women holding leadership positions in the officer corps and in the NCO corps. In spite of this progress, gender relationships continue to concern us. Because we are relying more and more on women for our military needs, we need to work harder and harder to ensure that they can serve without experiencing any kind of gender-based discrimination or harassment.
We've taken a number of initiatives to ensure that women are treated fairly and, more generally, to deal with all manner of impermissible discrimination and harassment, whether based on race or sex or national origin or religion. Let me offer you a short list of the memos and directives we've put out just since 1994 on discrimination and harassment.
Our first major statement was in March 1994 when Secretary Perry put out a memo on sexual harassment. That memo outlined five steps including the upgrading of the Defense Equal Opportunity Council. Previously, that Council, which we call the DEOC--that's the acronym-- had been an advisory body whose members included the Assistant Secretaries for Personnel. Secretary Perry upgraded the DEOC to a policy-making body which was to be chaired by the Deputy Secretary with the service secretaries as members. Perhaps as important as the specific problematic steps that the Secretary outlined was the underlying philosophy of that memo. And that Philosophy was that equal opportunity is a military necessity. It's the smart thing to do as well as the right thing to do.
To continue, in April 1994, the Deputy Secretary established the DEOC task force to look at discrimination and harassment more closely. He appointed Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall and me to co-chair that task force. And among other things, he asked us to launch a survey that would help us get a better, fuller--a better understanding of what really was happening with regard to sexual harassment in the force. A few months later, in August 1994, we issued some guidelines on sexual harassment to get us moving in the right direction.
In May of 1995, Secretary Widnall and I presented our findings--the task force report--to the Deputy Secretary. That report contained 48 separate recommendations. The Deputy Secretary approved all of those recommendations and in August of 1995 they appeared in the form of a revised directive on DOD's Equal Opportunity Program. Let me talk a little bit about what that directive said; what our recommendations involved.
First, we stressed command commitment and accountability. We wanted to remind commanders that they were responsible for preventing or dealing with discrimination and harassment in their units, just as they're responsible for everything else of importance that happens in that unit.
Second, we needed to clarify policy. For example, the definition of sexual harassment had been expanded by a 1993 Supreme Court decision dealing with hostile work environment. We needed to reflect that.
Third, training. There's an axiom in the military and it's that “if you want to know what commanders really value, you have to look at what they train for.” So improving training about sexual harassment became our third area of focus.
Fourth, we wanted to ensure prompt, thorough, fair complaints handling. One of the things the task force found was that to often complaints were not being taken seriously, that the investigations took to long, sometimes were conducted by people who weren't up to speed on sexual harassment or how to conduct investigations, and the complainants sometimes were not apprised of what happened, of what the resolution was. Indeed, we also found that complainants occasionally experienced reprisals.
Finally, we acknowledged that there might be some differences across the services in the way they implemented those recommendations. For example, we didn't insist that the complaints-handling mechanisms be identical across the services. What we did insist on was that the complaints be resolved within a given time period, that investigators be trained, and that complainants be given feedback. In other words, we imposed standards but we didn't think standardization was necessary. Now, a copy of all those memos and directives is available to you, but to sum up this stage-setting part, we've made clear where we stand on the issue of equal opportunity. We've increased assignment options for women. We've improved programs to deal with discrimination and harassment.
But we understood, even as we were going about the task force, that our efforts might be even more effective if we had a richer information base so that we understood more fully what was going on in the force with respect to sexual harassment. The last major DoD-wide survey of sexual harassment was done in 1988. A lot has changed since then. The representation and utilization of women in the military has increased. Public awareness of sexual harassment has increased. And the definition of sexual harassment has been expanded as a result of the Supreme Court decision that I mentioned earlier. So we needed to update our sense of what was happening. That brings us to the focus of today's briefing.
The results of a massive survey of sexual harassment that we conducted in 1995. Before I get into it, I'd like to introduce Dr. Anita Lancaster of our Defense Manpower Data Center. Dr. Lancaster and her staff developed and administered the survey and they're now writing up their report. She's here to respond to any technical questions that arise about our methodology. Also, sitting beside Anita, I'm sure you recognize Fred Pang who is the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy and to Fred's right, Bill Leftwich who is our Deputy Assistant Secretary for Equal Opportunity.
Let me describe the survey for you. First, who'd we survey? Well, this was a stratified, random sample of active duty men and women in the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force and the Coast Guard. We mailed questionnaires to 90,000 people which makes this the largest survey on sexual harassment ever conducted. The survey actually was conducted between February and September 1995. In the survey we asked people about experiences they had had during the preceding year. This means that, depending on exactly when they responded to the survey, the respondents may have been responding to experiences that occurred in 1994 or 1995. Let me say a bit more about the survey.
It actually consisted of three different survey forms or questionnaires. One which we'll call Form A, or the old survey, is identical to one used in 1988. We needed that survey so that we could compare experiences reported in 1988 with experiences being reported in 1995. What we wanted to see, of course, was whether these unwanted experiences had increased or decreased. The new survey, or Form B, is what we now consider the state-of- the-art in this field. It asks people about a much wider range of experiences than were asked about in 1988. The 1988 survey, for example, lists ten types of behavior. The 1995 survey lists 25 types of behavior. The 1995 survey also asks about some things that really weren't considered sexual harassment in 1988. Examples include what we call sexual coercion or quid pro quo harassment. It also asks about the hostile environment form of harassment which was not recognized as a form of sexual harassment until the Supreme Court's 1993 decision in Harris vs Forklift. The new survey--and this is very important--also probed the circumstances under which the behavior occurred. Where did it happen? When did it happen? Was it on duty? off duty? on post? off post?
There was also a third form which I'm not going to discuss much today except to let you know that it was largely technical in nature. It was designed to help us crosswalk between the ‘88 results and ‘95 results so that in the future, we can dispense with the older survey altogether and just use the new ‘95 version.
We had more than 47,000 respondents to this survey. It's a good response rate--better than 50 percent. I don't know of any survey that's asked so many people so many questions about their experiences with unwanted gender-related behavior. Let me talk a bit about the objectives of the survey. This, for us, was not just a matter of information seeking. We hoped to use the results to inform our policies and to inform our programs. Remember, at the time the survey was being conducted, the task force that Secretary Widnall and I were sharing was up and running. The task force we knew was going to produce results before the survey results were completed. But we thought that the survey results, once completed, would help tell us whether our recommendations generally were on target, whether we needed to refine them, whether we should push harder in some areas than in others. Here's what we wanted to know.
First, how big a problem is unwanted or uninvited sexual attention? How often does it happen? Where? Who does it? And is it increasing or decreasing? Notice that I used the term “unwanted or uninvited sexual attention,” not the phrase sexual harassment. The survey uses the former phrase because it's less value-laden than the term sexual harassment. What we did was list a number of specific behaviors and asked people whether they had experienced any of those behaviors during the past twelve months. Later on in the ‘95 survey we also asked the respondents whether they considered that behavior to be sexual harassment. By posing the question that way, we were able to distinguish the incidents of a specific form of behavior from the respondents interpretation of that behavior. So the big questions is--and the first question is--how much of this is going on?
Secondary questioning had to do with complaints process. The research we'd done during the task force had told us it was a problem, but how much of a problem? How many of our survey respondents would tell us that they were not reporting incidents? And were they failing to report incidents because they dealt with the incident themselves? Or were they failing to report because they lacked confidence in the complaints process?
Third, are policies clear? Are the leader's commitments clear? Did respondents think that their leaders were taking sexual harassment issues seriously? Is training occurring and is it effective? Those are the issues we hope to address.
Now, when we get to our first major finding. Sexual harassment is declining in the active military. We have two sets of evidence on this: one piece of evidence comes from the frequency with which people reported experiencing unwanted behaviors in 1995 compared with 1988. Remember, we re- administered the 1988 survey to a part of this sample, precisely so that we could answer that question and the results are significant. In 1988, 64 percent of female respondents reported experiencing one or another form of gender-related behavior. In 1995, 55 percent of female respondents reported such experiences. That's a noteworthy decline and I think it's especially noteworthy in light of the fact that public sensitivity to sexual harassment has grown since 1988. Incidentally, I should note that that decline is pretty consistent across the services. All the services showed some kind of decline in this incidence.
We also have a second set of evidence about these trends. On the new survey, we asked respondents how often they thought sexual harassment was occurring today, compared with a few years ago. The vast majority--60 percent of female respondents, 76 percent of male respondents--said they thought that sexual harassment was declining. So that's an encouraging finding. And an important one. Still, how often are these incidents happening? Are these unwanted behaviors happening to lots of people, or just to a few? To get at this, we asked respondents whether, during the preceding year, they'd experienced any of twenty-five specific behaviors. The behaviors constitute a range from sexually suggestive language to sexual assault. 78 percent of female respondents said they had experienced one or more of the unwanted behaviors during the preceding year. But then we asked, “do you consider that behavior to have been sexual harassment?” That question is important because people's perceptions vary on this question. For example, some people consider locker room talk to be sexual harassment; some don't. As it turns out, about 32 percent of the female respondents who'd said they'd experienced some kind of unwanted behavior said they did not consider it to be sexual harassment. We can do a bit of math--we can add numbers of those who said they no experiences of unwanted behavior at all; we can do a little multiplication here, and we can come up with a new baseline. And that baseline--if we've done our math correctly--tells us that 52 percent of female respondents say that they've experienced behaviors that they considered to be sexual harassment during the period under consideration.
Let me recount some other findings of the survey. Those that deal with where the behavior occurred, who was involved, whether it was reported. Now, those who said they experienced unwanted behavior, 88 percent of female respondents said it occurred on base; 74 percent said it occurred at work; 77 percent said it occurred during duty hours. 44 percent of the female respondents said that their military co-workers were the perpetrators--that is, people of equal rank; 43 percent said the perpetrator was of higher rank or grade. 40 percent of female respondents said they reported the incident. Let me point out that that's way up from 1988 when only about 8 percent of female respondents said that they reported this kind of unwanted behavior.
Now, of those who did not report, a substantial percentage said they didn't report it because they decided to handle it themselves; to handle it one-on-one. But some respondents didn't report it because they lacked confidence in the complaints system. More on that, some of them feared reprisals. How many? Well, a vast majority didn't--83 percent of female respondents said that they felt reporting the incident would not effect their career. But that, in turn, means that 17 percent of the female respondents did fear adverse consequences for complaining.
What about some problematic issues? Are our personnel being trained, for example? Do people understand how to complain about sexual harassment? The results here will apply to all respondents, not to just those who said they had experience some kind of unwanted gender-based attention. Over 80 percent of respondents said they were being trained. About 60 percent said the training was at least moderately effective. Some said very effective. Almost 90 percent of respondents indicated that they know how to report sexual harassment. Over 60 percent said leaders were making honest and reasonable efforts to stop sexual harassment. These findings and others are detailed in the handouts. In addition, we're in the process right now of scrubbing all the data and we expect that in a few weeks we'll be able to hand out all the marginals--the 50 or 100 specific slides that provide the answers to the, I think, 133 questions we raised.
But let me offer you our conclusions to date. There is some good news here; some encouraging news. Sexual harassment is declining. People know the rules, they understand how to report these unwanted incidents and most aren't reluctant to report. And there's confidence that their leaders will deal with it. But...but...and this is a message that leaders throughout the chain of command will be especially attentive too. Sexual harassment is occurring. It may be occurring in your organization, on your watch, and some believe that it isn't being taken seriously enough.
Okay, where do we go from here? What's the follow-up? First, I want these findings disseminated widely. The survey has verified that a lot of respondents--mostly women--but also about 9 percent of men are experiencing unwanted sexual behaviors. By our baseline--and remember the way we calculated this--by our baseline, 52 percent of female respondents reported that during the preceding year they had experienced something that they considered to be sexual harassment. So this is not a made-up issue. It's a substantial challenge to order and discipline and performance in the work place. The survey also showed us that commanders should be in a position to stop this unwanted behavior. One of the key findings here has to do with when and where these incidents occur. Overwhelming, they occur on base, on duty, at the job site. These things, in other words, are occurring where commanders and NCOs can be most effective and where they have an obligation to be most attentive. Second, we have to continue to monitor the implementation of our task force report. We put out a directive less than a year ago. Now is the time for us to go back and assess what's really happening. Have leaders at all levels really made clear their commitment to deal with sexual harassment for example. What does their training look like? Have they addressed the deficiencies identified in our earlier report? Are the services meeting their timelines for prompt and fair complaints-handling? What measures have been put in place to prevent reprisals? I've asked Fred Pang, whom I introduced earlier, the Assistant Secretary for Force Management Policy, to take the lead in addressing those questions.
Last year we issued a directive saying that certain things needed to be done. Fred's going to help us ensure that those things are being done. Finally, we need to go back every couple of years and redo this survey to see whether we really are making progress. Whether the reported incidents are down and whether people perceive a decrease in the problem.
So wrap up. We're doing better. Sexual harassment is declining, but the Secretary of Defense, service secretaries, this department's senior military leaders are not at all satisfied with the level of unwanted behavior this survey uncovered. To Secretary Perry, this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable. He will not tolerate it. We've developed programs to help us eradicate sexual harassment. We're going to make sure that they're used. That concludes my statement. I'll take your questions.
Q: Secretary Dorn, I'd like you to answer if you would, in a nutshell, the question that you yourself asked earlier. How big a problem is sexual harassment in the military? And the fact that over half of the women in the survey say that they did suffer sexual harassment, how does that compare with the general- -surveys from--the general public [inaudible]
A: I think Secretary Perry would say that one percent, or one person, who experiences sexual harassment is to many. There's some good news here and clearly there's some bad news that our commanders need to pay attention to and they we have an impetus to pay more attention too. And now, your second question was...
Q: [inaudible] What would you say and is this a big problem? You asked the question earlier yourself: Is this a big problem? Does it continue to be a big problem?
A: It's something we are going to have to pay attention to. Sexual harassment affects people's performance, it affects good order and discipline, we--as I said earlier--the bottom line is that this administration will not countenance it. We're going to address it--that baseline is not a thing for evaluation; it is to see whether or not things get better over time; we're going to go back in two years and see what that number is. We need a baseline by which to assess ourselves.
Now, you asked another question having to do with civilian comparisons. Let me--that's tough and I'll tell you why it's tough. One is, this is the most extensive survey we've done, so we really don't have comparable data. But, more fundamentally we wouldn't know how to compare the numbers. Military personnel live in a very very different environment than do civilian personnel. Military service is not a 9-to-5 gig. You don't just go there and then go home and escape whatever difficulty you may have at the office. Military personnel, and especially young enlisted men and women, live in a relatively [inaudible] confined area on a base, they're on duty twenty-four hours a day, they are working in a very very different environment than are their--civilian personnel.
What does that mean? Well, it means, of course, that there is more opportunity for those kinds of things to happen. On the other hand, it also means that when they happen, they have greater--if you will--psychological effect. And they have greater effect on working relationships. Because of the intensity and the constancy of the contact. Mark.
Q: What's your data show with 13 percent for some of the force being female. What's your data show about sexual harassment reverse? Where a woman may sexually harass a man?
A: I don't have the marginals. I believe the survey said that about 9 percent of men reported incidents that they considered sexual harassment. I don't have the breakdown on who the harassers were. I can tell you what kind of harassment is being complained about and that's an important thing to recognize as well. For both men and women, the most persistently complained about--or remarked on--incident is actually the use of crude jokes and so on. It is, if you will, locker room talk. And I think what we're picking up here is a large number of men object to locker room talk. They may be less eager to report it because- -you know--it's just not a guy thing to do to complain about somebody cursing on duty, but I think that's what the sensitivity is. Jack.
Q: What can you tell us about the comparatives as you look at the individual services. Some services have worked on this a little harder than others. How do the women view the level of sexual harassment and the responsiveness of their commanders.
A: Jack, we're only getting into this. This is an extraordinarily complicated bit of analysis to do with a large number of questions. So, let me tell you some partial conclusions. One is that--I guess the most interesting conclusion- -is that the most dramatic decline in reports of unwanted attention over the--since 1988--has been reported by women in the Navy. That's the--as far as we've gotten in the analysis so far. I'm--I can't--off the top of my head tell you which service or services ranks highest or lowest. There are differences; in some instances, they're not that great. Slight differences across the services.
Q: Didn't the survey show that the Marine Corps and the Army has the highest number of incidents of women complaining about unwanted sexual attention.
A: I don't have that committed to memory, Jack. Now, I'm aware that a lot of charts have been floating around. One of the things we're trying to do is sort out those charts. In some instances, they are not as well labeled or as clear as we would like them to be. That's why I'm saying we've done some partial analysis. What I'm tell you is what we're confident of. I'd be reluctant to go past that just because the data still need a lot of cleaning. Yes, ma'am.
Q: What were the most serious abuses that you had reported?
A: As I said, the most frequently complained about incident has to do with a category of behavior--it has to do with language. Anita probably has the formal wording or the formal category.
Q: That's the most common, but what's the most serious?
A: Obviously, the most serious form of incident would be one that involves physical assault. Can't give you the number right now. It's relatively low. But, again, I'm not focusing on the size. The point is that any--a single person--who is assaulted in the military is a cause for concern to us. Yes, sir.
Q: Secretary, a two-part question if I may. You use the language here as unwanted behavior all the way down to sexual assault which you did not address, which just came up in the question. Which was my first part. If you carry that [inaudible] to the fullest, we--I think speaking of my [inaudible] would like to know the figures on sexual assault. And also, if you...
A: I think, actually, in the handout there is--page 3 of the handout--those numbers are there. I...
Q: Maybe it's more germane. If the figures are correct, you said that in the seven years from ‘88 to ‘95, you show an 11 percent--pardon me, a 9 percent--decline: from 64 percent to 55 percent. I know we don't deal in absolutes, but if you carry that to the absolute, it would take 30-40 years to get down to zero. You have a goal of any--rather than just the “one is to many”--how much would you like to see...
A: Let me just say that our goal is zero and we're going to get there a lot faster than 30 years. That's a goal. We are dealing with a million and a half people on active duty. 200,000 of whom enter the force anew every year. They come from environments where they may not have been exposed to racially- enlightened or sexually-enlightened thinking. We have some corners in this society that, in fact--were in fact--subjected to misogynist ideas. Those ideas have to be unlearned. That's one of the reasons the training is so important, because we're dealing with 200,000 new people every year. It's one of the reasons Fred is going to look especially closely at what kind of training is occurring. Remember that most people said that the training was effective, but what that means is that a substantial percentage of people either have not been trained or have not gotten effective training. We need to know where the problems are so that we can attack it. Yes sir.
Q: You said at the beginning it that you noted the increasing number of women in the military and the increasing number of positions in which they serve. You seem to be suggesting that that would be an ingredient for an increasing amount of sexual harassment.
A: Actually, I think probably we'd expect something a little bit different to occur. One of the important--let's omit the extremes. Obviously, if there are no women in the military then there's going to be no sexual harassment of military women. But...what we would expect is that, as women aspire into positions of leadership we will see a decline in this. Partly because--I think one of the reasons there's a tendency toward sexual harassment is that we historically have put women in what are called subsidiary or secondary jobs. As women begin to occupy more of the war fighting roles, as they begin to occupy more of the leadership roles, I think we'll see a salutory effect on sexual harassment--just as we saw in the case of the racial integration of the force as African Americans began to ascend to senior leadership ranks. I think we saw an improvement in behavior and, perhaps, an improvement in attitudes.
Q: Part of what I was leading up to was asking whether the decline from 64 to 55 may be the result of this change as opposed to some of the programs that have been put in place.
A: It's an interesting question and I don't know whether we'll be able to get at it with our survey results or not, but it's a fascinating question.
Q: [inaudible] of the respondents who were not satisfied with the complaints process, did the survey tell you why they weren't satisfied.
A: Yes, we have probed that a little bit more deeply and, without talking out of school, I think it's a mix of things. In some instances people are saying “nothing was done.” In some instances they're saying they don't know whether anything was done because they didn't get feedback and, remember, some percentage--I believe the number was about 13...17 percent--said that they feared or were concerned about reprisals. They were concerned that, if they complained, it would effect their careers or their well-being on the job. So there's a range of reasons where people don't complain and, incidentally, one major reason people said they did not complain that they said they were going to fix it themselves. Which is entirely--an entirely-- appropriate way to go about things. You try to resolve the issue instantly. If it doesn't get resolved in the first instance, then you go through the formal channels. Yes, ma'am.
Q: The statistic is 52 percent of the women felt that they had experienced sexual harassment, but what is the timing of it? Is it like once in the duration of the survey? or was it everyday? or once a week? or...
A: Anita, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the answer would be had experienced one or more incidents within the last year.
Dr. Lancaster: Excuse me...yes, and there is a column next to each of--the person when they get to that section of survey checks off---[inaudible]--any of the behaviors on the list. And they do check off the frequency. And we are--data analysis is currently underway. We are just looking at that. So we are reporting today the incidents rates. Which behaviors? how many behaviors? are being reported in total. Looking at how often different kinds of behaviors occur is kind of a--what we call a secondary analysis. It will follow the distribution of all these primary findings.
Q: Did you have a sense then that the women considered it a hostile workplace?
A: No. There's no way to tell other than the item which comes after you check which of the behaviors you had experienced where a person said--where we asked--did you consider any of the items you check to be sexual harassment. If they checked “none of the things I checked”, then I have to assume--or anyone doing the research has to assume--that it didn't constitute a hostile environment.
Q: I'm still a little confused why you didn't include any of the comparative service data in this handout...
Secretary Dorn: Just because we haven't done a thorough scrub of it yet.
Q: But I'm not sure what that means. I mean it needed to- -gone through
A: We've gone through a lot of it. We've talked with the services about some preliminary scrubs, but look. There is a lot of data here. Not only for Dr. Lancaster and her colleagues to work with; we think there's a sort of rich mine of data for private researchers to get into after we've finished our preliminary analysis. It's merely a matter of time. We could have had this briefing, I suppose, in about a month and we would have been able to give you the service scrubs. It's simply a matter of time.
Q: The charts--it seems--doesn't some of it jump out at you to suggest that some services do have a more serious problem, maybe for some mitigating reasons than other services and isn't there some value in spelling that out publicly?
A: Well, yes, but then that only raises “why” questions. And there wasn't time to get into all the why questions. Look, we're going to be working on these data for quite a few months now. I will promise you that within the next month or six weeks we will have the marginals. Dr. Lancaster has a huge technical manual to write up that is going to explain to other researchers how to use those data, so we'll be working on this ourselves for several more months. And you will have another opportunity--we will have another opportunity--to talk about other differences across the services; whether there are differences across racial and ethnic groups in reporting and so on. Those are distinctions that we simply have not gotten too. But we know that there was a fairly high level of interest in this; we knew in fact that some numbers already had gotten out, we're not quite certain which ones and whether they were the well-scrubbed tables, so it seemed that it was useful for us to come forward, tell you what we could say with some certainty right now, and get at some of the other details of it later.
Q: Will you come back to us with the inter-service data and have a public briefing...
A: If you'd like us to, Jack, be happy too. Sure. Yes.
Q: You spoke at the outset that the Administration's committed not only to end harassment, but end discrimination. I would like to ask you about the decision the Supreme Court made last week involving discrimination in the training of military officers at public-supported schools. Specifically, the court said that public-supported schools cannot discriminate on the basis of gender. One of the schools in that suit is contemplating going private in order to continue to maintain an all male situation. What would the department's position be on continuing ROTC programs [inaudible].
A: I [inaudible] Fred Pang again, but that's a discussion that Mr. Pang is going to have to have with general counsel. I take--what we need to do is, rather than respond to hypothetical, let me just say that we will look at that issue when it's quit. It's not an issue right now. We're waiting for VMI to decide where it's going.
Q: So the Department will not offer VMI any advice on what it ought to do?
A: I don't think that would be appropriate. Yes, sir.
Q: The survey indicates that 20 percent of women consider it to be--they got some basically--retribution for their report and 20 percent felt they weren't free to report harassment because of fear of those things. Isn't that number rather disturbing? That there's a 20 percent retaliation rate after all the training?
A: I don't know exactly which question you're looking at right now. There's a--but--the point is, a year or so ago when Dr. Widnall and I began this task force, this was one of the issues we picked up. You'll recall, it was an issue that the Congress also passed--picked up--and established some legislation dealing with reprisals. We feel very very strongly about it. Clearly chills any effort to correct problems of sexual harassment or discriminations. We're going to try to attack it. We've set some programs in place. We are now--need to find out whether--programs in place--whether programs are working and whether we need to improve them. This informs a lot that we do. Because, as I said, we were wondering ourselves whether or not this was a problem experienced only by a very few people in the force or whether it was a widespread set of behaviors. What we've seen from this survey is that these are not isolated problems and we need to address them. The messages, as I said, the message is- - to commanders is--more important than the message to people in the press corps. This stuff is occurring. It could be occurring on a commander's watch and his or her men and women are looking to see whether something gets done.
A: I'm not going to characterize how any service did right now. There are lots of questions about what's happening in individual services. I'd rather not use one data point to draw a conclusion about how any services is doing on this.
Q: Dr. Lancaster, what are your biggest concerns about the remaining scope of the problem?
Dr. Lancaster: The problem being sexual harassment in the active duty military? I agree with everything that Secretary Dorn has said. It clearly is a problem that has to be addressed and I'm very encouraged. I think the fact that you've seen the Under Secretary standing up here telling you the results of this survey at the detailed level you're hearing it, reflects the interest of the department in these findings. I think in the next couple of years, when we go out to do another survey, I'd be very hopeful that we'll see an even more dramatic decrease because of the interventions that I see going on the part of the services.
Q: When you were--there was a question asked earlier about comparatives to the civilian sector. Wasn't there a survey, using identical questions, done in the federal government in the civilian sector and did it--how did that compare to the same set of questions asked of the military?
Secretary Dorn: I think you're talking about the Merit Systems Protection Board Study. Let me ask Anita to address that because [inaudible]
Dr. Lancaster: The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Boards used a behavior item list--a ten-item list--that's almost identical to what we used on Form A, the old survey. They have added an item: Stalking. But other than that it was identical. There response rate from 1980 to 1994. For men it was 15 percent reporting one or more back in 1980. It's 19 percent today--a 4 percent. For women it was 42 percent reporting one or more in 1980. 42 percent reporting one or more in 1987 and 44 percent--up 2 percent-- for 1994.
They have a greater number of men reporting one or more and about a 9 percent--44-to-55--yeah about 10 percent-11 percent difference for women, but you have to remember Mr. Dorn's remarks about a military environment is so different from people who work from 8:30 to 5 and go home at night in a bedroom community with their neighbors. The military active duty, many of them are stationed on bases, they work together, they socialize together after work, they're oftentimes in situations where they're working many more than 8:30 to 5 kind of hours.