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Pentagon Social Policies Increase Military Sexual Assaults

April 18, 2012
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Army, Defense Department, and Navy Reports Downplay Record of Failure

The Center for Military Readiness has released a new CMR Policy Analysis that shines a bright light on disturbing findings about military sexual assaults that were buried in a recent Army "Gold Book" report on wartime personnel stress:

"Chilling Trend" of Sexual Assault in the Military

The CMR Policy Analysis also cites the most recent annual report of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office (SAPRO), which was released last Friday, April 13.

As with the Army Gold Book report released in January, the Defense Department hid the bad news in plain sight. Instead of reconsidering social policies known to increase disturbing disciplinary problems, the Pentagon is pressing ahead with costly, time-wasting programs that are not working.

An army of professional sexual assault response counselors (SARCs), untold hours of mandatory training, pre-emptive punishments, bureaucracy, conferences, meetings, and feel-good gimmicks have produced dismal results:

  • Reports of sexual assault in all branches of the service have increased by 22% since FY 2007. (SAPRO Report for FY 2011, April 2012, Exhibit 3, p. 34)
  • Violent attacks and rapes in the Army have nearly doubled since 2006, rising from 663 in 2006 to 1,313 last year. (Army Gold Book, Figure 111-25, p. 121).
  • A "chilling trend" of violent sex crime is growing at an average rate of 14.6 percent per year, and the rate is accelerating. (Army Gold Book, p. 122)
  • From 2006 through 2011, sex crimes in the active-duty Army have trended upward with a 28% increase in the offense rate and a 20% increase in offenders. Females are only 14% of the force but 95% of all sex crime victims. (Army Gold Book, p. 121)
  • Contrary to premature claims about successful repeal of the 1993 law regarding homosexual conduct, male sexual assault victims have increased significantly, from 10% in FY 2010 to 14% in restricted reports, and 12% in unrestricted reports. (SAPRO Report for FY 2011, p. 60, Exhibit 26, and p. 53, Exhibit 15.)
  • In 2010 and 2011, the Navy found it necessary to fire ship captains, executive officers, and senior enlisted officers at rates approaching two per month, most often for reasons of sexual misconduct. There is no effective strategy for reversing the trend.

None of the procedural "responses" that congressional and civilian feminists are demanding recognize or address flawed policies that have worsened problems of violent sexual assault. In 1997, for example, the Kassebaum-Baker Commission unanimously recommended that army gender-integrated basic training (GIBT) be ended because it was "resulting in less discipline, less unit cohesion, and more distraction from training programs." (p. 15) That advice was ignored. (The commission also noted that the Marines' single-gender basic training was producing superior results.)

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recently called for yet another mandatory "stand down" to observe "Sexual Assault Awareness Month," complete with weekly themes, "Twitter Tuesdays," adult interactive plays flagged for offensive language, and copious paperwork to make everyone feel good. According to Secretary Mabus, sexual assaults occur 'three times...every...single...day. This ought to make us mad.'

The Navy is mad all right. Secretary Mabus used exactly the same words and phrases in 2011, in response to a report that 900 sexual assaults had been reported in the Navy in FY 2010. Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result fits the definition of insanity.

Even worse, Secretary Mabus is determined to extend the Navy's misconduct problems, both consensual and non-consensual, to all-male Marine infantry battalions. This policy change would devastate discipline and combat effectiveness, while providing no benefits for women, men, or the Marine Corps as a whole.

A Navy study of reasons why ship commanding officers were 'detached for cause' between 2004-2009, which was not officially released but was obtained by Navy Times, reported a phenomenon called the "Bathsheba Syndrome" − an authority figure's belief that he, like King David, can get away with personal misconduct.

Despite tangible evidence of failure, the same officials expect free-rein to implement policies that would worsen the situation. On February 9, 2012, Pentagon briefers announced their intent to promote "diversity" by incrementally implementing controversial recommendations of the Military Diversity Leadership Commission (MLDC).

Pentagon officials regularly praise their own work and proclaim undeserved "success," even though evidence of sexual misconduct, both consensual and non-consensual, continues to accelerate, year after year. These same officials should not be given even more authority to impose more of the same.

It is time to reconsider and change flawed policies that are weakening the culture of the only military we have.

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