An official website of the United States Government 
Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

.gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

You have accessed part of a historical collection on Some of the information contained within may be outdated and links may not function. Please contact the DOD Webmaster with any questions.

Department of Defense Press Briefing on Sexual Assault in the Military at the Pentagon

Presenters:  Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Dana White; Elizabeth Van Winkle, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for readiness; Navy Rear Adm. Ann Burkhardt, director, Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office; Dr. Nate Galbreath, deputy director, Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office

DANA WHITE: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us. Today we are releasing the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military for Fiscal Year 2016. Preventing sexual assault is a top priority for Secretary Mattis, and will continue to be a top priority for the department. We will not tolerate sexual assault. And we will continue to build a culture of respect and accountability.

Our military is made up of great people who embody the value and the principals of our nation. Sexual assault is not consistent with those values.

Today, we have three individuals prepared to speak to you about this year's report. 

First is Dr. Elizabeth Van Winkle, the principal director for force resiliency. She is also performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for readiness. And she will provide an opening statement today.

Second is Rear Admiral Ann Burkhardt, our new director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. She will also deliver a statement and present some data.

Finally, Dr. Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the SAPRO offices joining us. 

After the statements, Rear Admiral Burkhardt and Dr. Galbreath will take your questions.

Now I'd like to invite Dr. Van Winkle up for her opening statement.

ELIZABETH VAN WINKLE:  Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. Today the department will release the 2016 Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Annual Report.

In a moment, Rear Admiral Ann Burkhardt, the director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office and Dr. Nate Galbreath, the deputy director, will provide some details from the report and answer your questions. Overall, this year's report shows indications of progress. The number of active duty service members who we estimate experienced a sexual assault has decreased since 2014.

They're at the lowest levels we have seen since we began to survey on prevalence. In addition, the proportion of service members who made the difficult decision to report a sexual assault has increased. Increased reporting of this crime is critical to ensure service members receive restorative care and that the department can hold offenders appropriately accountable.

However, the decision to report is a personal one, it is often a difficult one. We see the increase in rates of reporting as an indicator of a continued trust in our response and support systems. Sexual assault and sexual harassment have no place in our society let alone in the military service. It is counter to our expectations of good order and discipline and a threat to our core values.

This behavior affects people's wellbeing and frankly it undermines the readiness of the fighting force. Addressing these issues is essential to the health of our force and an integral part of the department's personnel and readiness mission. I have personally spoken with members of our active force and have heard firsthand how sexual assault impacts lives and careers.

I also understand the direct impact sexual assault can have on force readiness and our ability to carry out the national defense strategy. One incident can impact the trust between military members, degrade unit cohesion, and takes focus off of the mission at hand. The strength of our force relies on the resiliency and discipline of our military members.

Simply put, sexual assault weakens our force. Given this, the department has taken and continues to take an aggressive approach to addressing sexual assault. Through strategic policies and programs, we strive to reduce the occurrences of this crime through prevention efforts while encouraging greater reporting from those who've experienced this crime. Our approach has yielded some progress over time and as mentioned, our key metrics are moving in the desired direction. With that said, the fight to end sexual assault, sexual harassment, and related misconduct in the military is far from over. We do not confuse progress with success. There remain a number of important challenges that demand our continued attention.

There is no acceptable number of sexual assault incidents and we remain committed to preventing occurrences of this crime and providing the best possible care for our service members. One of the most critical things we can do is put proven leaders at the top of this issue. And today I am pleased to introduce the department's newest director of the sexual assault prevention and response office, Real Admiral Ann Burkhardt.

Ann brings a wealth of perspective and experience to this mission and we are excited to have her at the helm. As a Navy human resources officer, she brings a deep understanding of how to work through our most pressing personnel issues. She most recently led the Navy's 21st Century Sailor Office and was responsible for integrating efforts to address the broad spectrum of issues that impact sailor resiliency including sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Needless to say, we are confident in her ability to keep our department-wide sexual assault prevention and response efforts on the right course and bring some fresh perspective to this mission. With that, it is my pleasure to officially welcome Rear Admiral Burkhardt and to turn it over to her to share some of her insights on this year's report.

REAR ADMIRAL ANN BURKHARDT:  Thank you, Dr. Van Winkle, and thank you for joining us today. I'm honored to take on this role as the new director for the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

I appreciate the trust and vote of confidence from my leadership. As someone who's been working in the space for the past few years, I'm familiar with the current trajectory that the department's on, what's working well and what needs more attention.

We will continue our efforts to provide first class support to those who have been victimized and to build on our progress. It's time to further evolve our prevention efforts. The departments approach will align with the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advancing a public health approach to building safer military communities.

We want these military communities to have a capacity to stop sexual assault and related misconduct before it occurs. As a career naval officer, I've seen firsthand how destructive sexual assault can be to the effectiveness of our fighting forces, in all those, military and civilian who support them.

A lethal force demands a military environment that is free from this crime and other readiness degrading behaviors. We also owe it to our people to deliver the best possible support for those who experience this misconduct.

You know, as we take measures to protect servicemen and women from sexual assault, it is important that we do take a hard look within, be transparent for what we find and always seek ways to improve. Every policy and initiative we put forth is designed with two overarching goals in mind.

First, to substantially reduce the occurrence of sexual assault and second, to encourage service members who have been victimized to file a report so they can get the help they need. Clearly, it's more complicated than that but at the end of the day; we want to connect our actions to the reduction of crime and an increase in reporting. The data in the report we're releasing today, which accounts for fiscal year 2016, suggests we're moving closer to those goals. The estimated prevalence of sexual assault continue to trend downward, which indicates fewer active duty men and women experience the crime.

In addition, a greater number of service members chose to make formal reports to department authorities. So what does this mean? The new data on reporting suggests about one in three service members chose to report their sexual assault in 2016. That's up from one in four in 2014.

We look back 10 years, just one in 14 service members felt confident enough to report what they experienced. That means today, more service members than ever before are connecting with care and support aimed at restoring their lives.

We see this as encouraging signs that many of our efforts are working as intended. However, the hard truth is still far too many of our people find their lives changed by this crime and there are far too many who continue to suffer in silence.

Concerns about being stigmatized, ridiculed or experiencing retaliation also remain far too prominent throughout people's minds. We must do more to address their concerns. Our mission requires each of us to rely on each other without hesitation.

This bond is broken when there's sexual violence or harassment, even worse when this behavior is condoned or ignored. Sexual assault violates the core values of our military and must never be tolerated. We have more work to do to advance dignity and respect for each and every person. It is essential to military readiness. 

Ultimately, this challenge demands a commitment at the individual level. Everyone within the Department of Defense must make it their mission to denounce sexual assault and do their part to prevent it. Protecting our people does protect our mission and we will not cease our efforts until we get this right. 

Now, I'd like to share some high-level findings from this year's report. If you have a handout, you can go to slide two. As I previously indicated, the prevalence or occurrence of sexual assault in 2016 decreased for both men and women. Every two years, we conduct a scientific survey of the active duty force. In 2014, we had 4.9 percent of active duty women and 0.9 percent of active duty men experiencing some kind of sexual assault in the year prior to being surveyed. In 2016, when using the same measures, the department found that an estimated 4.3 percent of military women and 0.6 percent of military men indicated experiencing some form of sexual assault. 

In the department, the term sexual assault includes both penetrating crimes like rape, as well as sexual contact offenses, like groping. Because we conduct our surveys so that they're representative of the entire active force, we can estimate how many members experience some kind of sexual assault in 2016. The department estimates about 14,900 service members experienced some kind of sexual assault in 2016, down from the 20,300 active duty members in 2014.

If you go to the next slide, you see that it depicts that past year's sexual assault prevalence rates for DOD women and men since -- since 2006. You can see the rates of sexual assault has steadily decreased over the past four years. The highest rate of sexual assault measured by the department was in 2006 at the outset of sexual assault prevention and response program. This year's rates, 10 years later, reflect a one-third decrease in rates for women and a two- thirds decrease in the rates for men. 

If you turn to slide four, we'll move onto to reporting data. The department receives 6,172 reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects in 2016. This is a 1.5 percent increase over reports received in 2015. However, the top-line number of reports doesn't tell the whole story about reporting. This year, about nine percent of reports received were from service members who reported an incident that occurred prior to their military service. We see this as a vote of confidence from these members. 

Now, let's look more closely at the reports from service members for an incident that occurred during military service. If you turn to slide five, this chart tells a more detailed story about reporting behavior. Along the top of the graph are the rates of sexual assault and the estimated number of service members who experienced sexual assault that year. The red-line across the bottom shows the number of service member reports for an incident that occurred during their military service. 

As you can see moving from left to right across the graph, the difference or the gap between the number of service members experiencing a sexual assault and the number of service members reporting a sexual assault has decreased over time; in other words, closing the gap.

This means a growing proportion of service members see the benefit in reporting sexual assault, while service members' experience of sexual assault has decreased in recent years.

Please note the percentages in parentheses. These estimates represent the proportion of victim service members who made a restricted or an unrestricted report. In 2016, we saw that about 32 percent of the estimated 14,900 service member victims of a sexual assault reported in 2016.

This equates to the department receiving a report from one in three service members. This is higher than in 2014, which was about one in four service members.

And if you look 10 years ago, estimates indicated only 7 percent of victims reported, or about 1in 14 service members.

We see these changes as progress and our two main metrics in the sexual assault prevention response program.

If you turn to slide six, we'll move onto sexual assault case dispositions. Commanders had sufficient evidence to substantiate misconduct allegations in 64 percent of the cases.

When we use the term "substantiate" in the Department of Defense, we mean that commanders had sufficient evidence to prefer court martial charges, administer non-judicial punishment, take administrative action or effective discharge.

When commanders did have jurisdiction over the individual and sufficient evidence of the sexual assault crime, they used court martial proceedings in 59 percent of the sexual assault cases.

Because we're dealing with a range of both penetrating and sexual contact offenses, some offenses did not meet a threshold for court martial. The remaining 41 percent of allegations were addressed with non-judicial punishment, administrative action and discharges. If you turn to slide seven, the results of the 2016 Military Investigation and Justice Experience Survey show us that service members continue to value and rely on support provided by our professionals.

These are the special victims counsel, victims legal counsel attorneys, sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates. We are committed to remember how valuable these resources are to survivors.

This year, more than ever before, more men reported a sexual assault. We estimated that 17 percent of service men chose to report their sexual assault up from 10 percent in 2014. However, men told us they were less satisfied than women with the support they received after reporting a sexual assault.

Last October we released a plan to improve how we support and communicate with men who experience a sexual assault. And we are currently working to implement this plan by identifying and acting best strategies and communication practices that appeal to men.

Everyone must understand that getting help is a sign of strength.

If you turn to the next slide, another outcome of the report was that over half of service members reporting a sexual assault received some kind of negative reaction from other service members after making a report. After additional analysis, we found that about 1/3 experiences met survey criteria consistent with what the policy and law define as retaliatory behavior.

This is a critical focus area for the department. And we must make progress in helping everyone understand their duty to support those who report. We are currently implementing the initiatives from the Department of Defense Retaliation Prevention Response Strategy published last year.

This strategy's designed to assist service members with additional protections, resources for information and guidance. It's also designed to give service members a better understanding of how they can support their peers who reported sexual assault and sexual harassment.

On slide nine, we also capture on this year's report data on sexual harassment in the military. We have much work remaining for us as rates of sexual harassment and gender discrimination are not decreasing fast enough.

An estimated 21.4 percent of military women and 5.7 of military men indicating experiencing some form of sexual harassment, down from 21.5 percent and 6.6 percent respectively in 2014, and only men had a statistically significant decrease here.

We know this is a problem and social media represents an emerging front in our fight to curve this misconduct. The department is expanding its prevention efforts to create a more respectful military environment in person and online. If you turn to slide 10, looking ahead, we've continued to have our work cut out for us on this challenging issue. But we do have some momentum to build on. We must expand our prevention efforts if we expect to sustain or see further decreases in our rates of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

We're working for the Centers -- with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify evidence-based initiatives that will improve respect and safety in our military communities.

The department will also step up its sexual harassment prevention efforts to create a culture of dignity and respect that the military service demands. The health and well-being of our people and the readiness of the force to execute the national military strategy demands our ability to get this right.

I'll now ask Dr. Galbreath, my deputy director, to join me here to answer a few of your questions.

Q:  If you take a look at the numbers from 2015, it still shows us the slight increase, not only in the number of reported, but also 4,794 in the -- in the number from -- from last year 2015.

ADM. BURKHARDT: You're looking on the slide that shows both prevalence and reporting?

Q: Correct.

ADM. BURKHARDT: So you're looking at the red line?

Q: I'm looking at the red line.

ADM. BURKHARDT: So the red line indicates that the number of servicemen and women who had a past year of current sexual assault and chose to report it. So as we look at those numbers going up, we think that's a good thing.

Q: Explain a little bit about the, you know, it still shows -- they're still high and its -- and its...


ADM. BURKHARDT: Oh, absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, yes sir.

Q: And...

ADM. BURKHARDT: That's why we're not making, confusing progress with success.

DR. GALBREATH: So one thing to keep in mind is the context in which that increase is happening. If you look in the civilian world, it's very difficult to see that -- those kinds of reporting rates. We're certainly, I think people expect more from us and so we're trying to do more.

But what I would offer to you is, is that one third -- that one third of service members represents about 43 percent of women who made a report of sexual assault and 17 percent of men. That's where our real progress lies, is getting that proportion of -- of people or pie slice, if you would, of people that are -- that experience a sexual assault to report it. That's the progress that we're seeing. Certainly we would all like no sexual assault.

Q: There was about a 6,000 difference in the number -- the prevalence number from 2014 to 2016. Could you talk about the major reasons why you see such a dip? Did the survey language change or is it something to do with hazing or what -- what do you think this drop comes to?

ADM. BURKHARDT: I think -- thank you for the question. I think primarily what we -- we wish we could nail it, right? Because then you could identify, it's complicated and not one factor contributes to the overall decline but I think sustained leadership engagement in this space has resulted in the continued emphasis across the department and the services to make a difference and reduce the crime of sexual assault while also enhancing the response efforts.

That signal is loud and clear and I think continuing that will help us make further progress in that area.

DR. GALBREATH: I would agree. The only thing I would add to that is we do see a great deal of service member engagement on this is that in many sectors of military society our military folks have made this issue their own. And we've seen the benefit of that.

Q: A second question on the cases, the dispositions. Would you by chance have the 2015 breakdown of actual numbers of cases that were -- so we can compare?

DR. GALBREATH: Absolutely. So it's on the website but I can also get that to you afterward.

Q: On the survey portion, how big was the sample size?

DR. GALBREATH: Absolutely. We went out to 735,000 active duty members and we received a weighted response rate back of about 24 -- 24 percent which is about over 150,000 respondents and that gives us very good precision with our ability to detect a change.

Q: The disposition, one of the concerns in the ranks particularly among women is the fact that commanders still -- they feel that commanders are not taking this seriously enough to prosecute the cases and bring (inaudible), you know, the judgment of evidence. Having been a Navy legal officer back in the dark ages, when (inaudible) had evidence to take to the commanding officer, recommend going to court martial or even (inaudible) is a judge be (inaudible).

Is there anything underway to kind of increase the commanders' understanding of how seriously they need to take this thing?

DR. GALBREATH: Absolutely. Over the past several years we've been working very closely with the services to improve commanders' preparation with regard to this issue and also to better understand their duties under the uniformed code of military justice to rely upon the recommendations from their staff judge advocates like you talked about, their military lawyers.

Every single one of the dispositions this year reflect a recommendation by that staff judge advocate and this year there were zero cases where a staff judge advocate said "you should prosecute this case in the way that we recommend" and the commanders following that recommendation. So that's a protection that was enacted just recently so that we could get a better oversight on that.

Q: The Marines United case that just happened recently is probably the most public -- the most public sexual harassment, sexual assault case that's come up recently. How has that benefited your office insofar as airing out so much that's happening, having victims actually see people getting punished for what's happening? Was -- was in some ways what's happened with Marines United ultimately a good thing for preventing sexual harassment in the military?

ADM. BURKHARDT: I think any time that we have behavior of service men and women that are not in line with our values, it's not a good thing. We continue to -- the investigation is ongoing, so specifics on that I can't comment on, but I think it highlights, and the survey data supports that, that sexual harassment is in the area that we need to make further progress. So, it's just us along with our prevention strategy on the way forward to focus specifically on sexual harassment prevention. 

Q: Has -- I mean has the -- has what's happened with Marines United nudged forward commander's willingness to -- to hold people accountable? I mean, that's following on -- following on that question, talking with victims of military sexual trauma, military sexual assault, one of the things that I frequently hear in talking with them is that they don't think that anybody cares, and nothing happens. But with this Marines United thing, people are finally -- there's some stuff happening and it's happening very publicly. 

DR. GALBREATH: Absolutely. I think that that -- we'd have to walk the walk and after we talk the talk, correct? Otherwise, we don't have any credibility. And I think what you see in the numbers this year is more and more people hearing their commanders and the senior officers promising that if you come forward and you tell us about it, we're going to take some kind of action. I'll just offer that the Marine United case, a lot of that came to light after a lot of our data was collected, and so there might not be time to actually have that roll in to what we have to tell you about 2016.

Q: One final thing is there's a lot of talk about commanders' responsibility for doing this, but the folks that often have the most interaction with troops and the senior enlisted, right? So, at -- at what level is this falling to, you know, lieutenants, captains and colonels, and where should this be falling on staff sergeants, first sergeants and sergeants major? 

ADM. BURKHARDT: I think this strategy is two-fold. One, sustained leadership engagement, understanding that leaders at all levels need to take responsibility to affecting the microclimates that they lead. And that's where in that -- those small levels, you're going to make a lot of difference, and it is that first level supervisor that will be engaged and affecting the climate of their work center. So I think that responsibility is at all levels within our leadership. 

DR. GALBREATH: And one of the things that we've done in recent years is to enact a climate survey process, by which commanders use their senior leadership team to get out through their entire unit and kind of find out what's going on with regard to, hey, this is what our climate says. What is our plan to get after some of the challenges that we see here in our unit? And so, that's where we rely on our senior enlisted leaders. 

Q: Nate, I just want to follow-up a little bit on Tara’s question on the difference between the number of men and women and what was it -- 14,900 total. Do you see the difference being -- a number of services try to focus more effort on reaching out to male victims the last couple of years. Do you see that as playing a role in this, or because we've talked a little bit about hazing, are more men not reporting hazing anymore because they realize maybe that's -- you know, it's not -- not important, not relevant? Or, is there less hazing going on? 

DR. GALBREATH: I think what we saw is very -- so let me -- there's a couple of questions in there. So, first of all, the question between 2014 and 2016 remain the same. So, as far as folks being able to characterize their experience was to whether or not it had involved hazing. About a-third this year, was about the same as what we saw in 2014. We think that that's largely in the increase in the number of -- of folks that are choosing to come in and report. We think it is because of that engagement, that communication, that direct out-reach to men.

Marines have done an amazing job with some of their social media out-reach to some of the men that have experienced sexual assault, as well as some of the other services. And so, we know that when we communicate about this, and if there's anything that we can take away from our history.

When we communicate on this, and we are seen as credible, in that we'll act and provide the assistance people are seeking, then people will come forward.

Q: But the number of women did not go down in a commensurate way?

DR. GALBREATH: It didn't. About a thousand, it's about a thousand less women, that experienced sexual assault in the past year. However, their reporting rates increased as well, from 38 percent in 2014, to 43 percent in 2016.

So, we even got a larger proportion of women to report this year, too.

Q: But, do you see the difference because the significant decline in the number of men, or the significant difference in the number? The fact that there's more women than men this year, as opposed to previous years, it's always been more men?

DR. GALBREATH: It always has been more men, but this is the first year that that number of men actually, that we estimate, as far as number of victims go, decreased to a level lower than the number of women victims that we estimate are out there.

Q: I guess I'm wondering, is it because the message is now different to men and women, and so their reading it differently, or?

DR. GALBREATH: I don't think so. We haven't really changed our overall communication piece. It's just that we turned up the volume on what and how we talk to men.

Q: You said that commanders had sufficient evidence to take disciplinary action in about two-thirds of cases. But then you followed it, and said that the commanders use the court martial process in 59 percent of cases where they had jurisdiction evidence.

Is that 59 percent of those 64 percent?

DR. GALBREATH: Getting close. So, if you turn to page number 12 in your slide deck, I've worked that all out for you, and I've shown you where I get my statistic.

If you look in that line that starts with 1,865 evidence supported commander action, and you see that 64 percent number. I had out of that 1,865, there were 1,331 sexual assault cases.

In other words, cases where we were able to, a sexual assault was alleged, and we were able to prove a sexual assault occurred. And if you see in that one, 791 out of those 331, that's the 59 percent piece. 

The other remaining cases in that 64 percent number, are those 534 cases where a sexual assault was alleged, but we could only find evidence for some other form of misconduct. Like false swearing, or simple assault, like Article 128, or perhaps a false misuse of alcohol or something like that.

Q: This year's, or 2016's, number of cases reported is a record, right? Has it been this high ever?


Q: At what point do you think it sort of stabilizes and plateaus?

DR. GALBREATH: That's a very good question. Quite frankly, this approach that you see, with reporting versus prevalence, you will not find elsewhere in the nation.

We are literally charting the course for what could be done in this space. We would expect that, at some point, prevalence gets so low that the number of reports begin to drop.

But, because no one's done this before, we can't pinpoint a point at which that's going to occur.

Q: You talk about how you're going to lower this with prevention and things like that. Besides the hotline number, besides talking to the commanders, what other prevention do you do?

ADM. BURKHARDT: Right now we're in the middle of exploring that, looking at evidence-based prevention strategies and we're working on a prevention plan of action that we’ll be coordinating with the services throughout this year and next year looking at specific ways we can have targeted approaches for prevention strategies. I mean, we apparently have been focused on prevention; you've seen the prevalence rate decline in the last three times we've measured it but further gains we envision will be because of this focused, evidence-based prevention strategies that we'll be working on.

So more to follow as we evolve those.

Q: And what would you tell service men and women out there that have yet to report something?

ADM. BURKHARDT: I would encourage anyone who's been a victim of this crime to come forward and report it and get the help they need.

Q: One follow on the enforcements. How big a factor is seeing perpetrators be punished, much like the Marines United question? And do you think increasing the number of reports that come in from year to year?

DR. GALBREATH: That's a good question. I'm not sure that we've done the analysis on that but what I would offer to you is this idea that we have to have a strong military justice system in order to be credible. If folks come in and they make a report, they have to see that we're going to do something with that. So what we do is we work on a victim empowerment model.

If you make a report of sexual assault, we will follow your lead but we'll also provide restorative care, we'll provide you counseling, but the other thing that we'll do is we'll prepare you in a way that no other jurisdiction can to participate in the justice system and we do that through our special victims counsel and also our victims legal counsel and we think that that makes a big difference.

Q: For how the -- important it is for the military justice system to be able to help victims, where does the military justice system end and show its deficiencies when there have -- we have veterans who are out of the military and now doing some of this online harassment, online stuff that we're seeing with Marines United? You have former service members, people who are members of the community, and in what way is the military UCMJ not equipped to handle that and do you need a better coordination with local law enforcement to be able to have punishment?

DR. GALBREATH: So, I'm a psychologist. I'm not an attorney so what I can tell you is that if someone has left active duty and they have perpetrated crime under UCMJ or at least it's alleged that way then there are mechanisms in place for us to be able to bring that person back on active duty and I think you saw a couple examples of that recently in the press.

With regard to that, the -- as a prior criminal investigator with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, I can tell you that I had a very close working relationship with my locals and so any time that we found evidence of civilian misconduct, I would either contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation if it rose to that level or I would go to my locals or send the information to the appropriate jurisdiction for them to follow up.

Q: The noise kind of in Congress has kind of died down from what it was but there was a strong push to try remove unit commanders from -- from the process in prosecuting sexual harassment, and sexual assault. I assume that the department still stands by their previous policy that they want the commander to remain in the -- in the chain of command.

ADM. BURKHARDT: That is -- that is absolutely correct.

DR. GALBREATH: And you don't have to take our word for it. The response systems panel to adult sexual assault crimes convened for over a year and studied this question in depth and they voted basically that -- well, what they found is that to take commanders out of the system would produce -- or at least there was no evidence that it would produce better justice outcomes or increase reports by victims.

Thank you, everyone.

ADM. BURKHARDT: Thank you very much, appreciate it.