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Military Personnel: DOD's and the Coast Guard's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Programs Need to Be Further Strengthened

GAO-10-405T Published: Feb 24, 2010. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 2010.
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This report discusses our efforts to evaluate the Department of Defense's (DOD) and the U.S. Coast Guard's oversight and implementation of their respective sexual assault prevention and response programs. Our findings build upon our previous work related to sexual assault in the military services. DOD and the Coast Guard have taken a number of positive steps to increase program awareness and to improve their prevention and response to occurrences of sexual assault, but additional actions are needed to strengthen their respective programs. As we have previously reported, sexual assault is a crime with a far-reaching negative impact on the military services in that it undermines core values, degrades mission readiness and esprit de corps, subverts strategic goodwill, and raises financial costs. Since we reported on these implications in 2008, incidents of sexual assault have continued to occur; in fiscal year 2008, DOD reported nearly 3,000 alleged sexual assault cases, and the Coast Guard reported about 80. However, it remains impossible to accurately analyze trends or draw conclusions from these data because DOD and the Coast Guard have not yet standardized their respective reporting requirements.

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AccountabilityAgency evaluationCoast Guard personnelConfidential communicationsConfidential informationCrime preventionData collectionDatabasesMilitary personnelModificationsMonitoringPerformance appraisalPerformance measuresProgram evaluationProgram managementQuality controlRapeReporting requirementsReports managementSex crimesStrategic planningComplianceProgram goals or objectivesProgram implementation