In early 2014, the Department of Defense (DoD) asked the RAND National Defense Research Institute to conduct an independent assessment of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination in the military. The resulting study, the RAND Military Workplace Study (RMWS), invited close to 560,000 active- and reserve-component service members to participate in a survey fielded in August and September of 2014, making it one of the largest surveys of its kind ever conducted for DoD. More than 170,000 service members completed the survey. Compared with prior DoD studies, the RMWS takes a new approach to counting individuals in the military who experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination in the past year.
The RMWS provides DoD with unprecedented detail on the frequency of criminal sexual assault against its members, the nature and context of those assaults, and how they differ for men and women in each branch of service. The study also provides new evidence on the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the military. Detailed results, including recommendations, are documented in four comprehensive volumes (available at www.rand.org/surveys/rmws.html); some of the study's major conclusions about the experiences of DoD service members are highlighted in this brief.