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News | April 17, 2024

Press Release: Review of the Army’s Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Harassment of Soldiers (Report No. DODIG-2024-074)

Today, Inspector General Robert P. Storch announced the release of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General’s “Review of the Army’s Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Harassment of Soldiers.”

The objective of this review was to determine the effectiveness of the Army’s actions to prevent and respond to harassment of Soldiers, including sexual harassment, bullying, and hazing. This review focused on how Army brigade commanders used the Defense Organizational Climate Survey (DEOCS) and Command Climate Assessments (CCAs) as tools to identify and respond to harassment within their respective units.

“Sexual harassment, bullying, and hazing should not be tolerated under any circumstances, said IG Storch. “Our review identified areas in which Army brigade commanders and their teams can improve their efforts to address and respond to harassment more effectively.”

The DoD OIG found that while Army brigade commanders generally used DEOCS and CCAs to identify and mitigate harassment issues within their units, they did not:

  • Perform historical comparisons in any of the DEOCS and CCA action plans reviewed to identify year-to-year trends with harassment risk factors;
  • Develop actionable initiatives that address issues identified within the DEOCS results with specific periods for follow-up; or
  • Include questions to assess bullying and hazing within any of the DEOCS we reviewed.

The DoD OIG also found inconsistencies between the DEOCS responses and the number of sexual harassment complaints. For example, between January 2021 and 2023, there were 4,674 responses to climate survey questions that showed a risk of sexually harassing behavior, compared to only 73 sexual harassment complaints reported during that same time period.

The DoD OIG made seven recommendations in this report, including that the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), in coordination with the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G9 develop and implement plans to:

  • Ensure that brigade commanders perform historical comparisons of DEOCS results and CCA action plans to identify year‐to‐year trends with harassment risk factors;
  • Ensure that CCA action plans include initiatives tied to specific objectives, goals, and milestones for completion and list the individuals responsible for implementing those initiatives; and
  • Identify and address any barriers that might arise amongst soldiers who report harassment complaints.

The DoD OIG will continue to monitor the DoD’s progress toward full implementation of these recommendations.