Skip to Highlights
Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the treatment of fourth class midshipmen and cadets at Department of Defense service academies, focusing on the: (1) extent of hazing at each of the academies; (2) academies' actions to control and eliminate hazing; and (3) impact of hazing on cadets and midshipmen.

Skip to Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Military and Naval academies continue to clarify the objectives of their fourth class indoctrination systems and apply the question, "How is this activity related to the development of a professional military officer?" to eliminate remaining elements that serve no demonstrated developmental purpose.
Closed - Implemented
The senior military officer in OASD (FM&P) now participates in the annual superintendents' conference and will continuously work with the services and academies to clarify and improve the objectives of the fourth-class system.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Air Force Academy conduct a thorough assessment of its fourth class system, similar in scope and scale to the reviews conducted at the Military and Naval academies. Specific attention should be paid to clarifying the goals of the indoctrination system, articulating specific developmental roles for all four classes, eliminating negative leadership techniques, and eliminating or reducing those elements of the traditional fourth class indoctrination system that are prone to abuse or have little relationship to the development of future officers.
Closed - Implemented
Starting in the 1992-93 acadmic year, OASD (FM&P) began conducting annual reviews of the fourth-class systems at all three academies.
United States Air Force Academy To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should clarify the distinctions between hazing and spirit-related activities and the limits on traditional fourth class indoctrination activities.
Closed - Implemented
OASD (FM&P) will work closely with the services and academy superintendents to ensure that the differences are understood and communicated.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should clarify the distinctions between hazing and spirit-related activities and the limits on traditional fourth class indoctrination activities.
Closed - Implemented
OASD (FM&P) will work closely with the services and academy superintendents to ensure that the differences are understood and communicated.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should clarify the distinctions between hazing and spirit-related activities and the limits on traditional fourth class indoctrination activities.
Closed - Implemented
OASD (FM&P) will work closely with the services and academy superintendents to ensure that the differences are understood and communicated.
United States Air Force Academy To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should make it clear to cadets and midshipmen that it is not their function to screen out those who they do not think belong, because that function legitimately resides only with academy officials.
Closed - Implemented
Academy regulations specifically state that it is not the function of cadets or midshipmen to screen out other students.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should make it clear to cadets and midshipmen that it is not their function to screen out those who they do not think belong, because that function legitimately resides only with academy officials.
Closed - Implemented
Academy regulations specifically state that it is not the function of cadets or midshipmen to screen out other students.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should make it clear to cadets and midshipmen that it is not their function to screen out those who they do not think belong, because that function legitimately resides only with academy officials.
Closed - Implemented
Academy regulations specifically state that it is not the function of cadets or midshipmen to screen out other students.
United States Air Force Academy To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should set the length of the fourth class indoctrination period to the amount of time necessary to achieve specific objectives.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur and does not intend to act on this recommendation.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should set the length of the fourth class indoctrination period to the amount of time necessary to achieve specific objectives.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur and does not intend to act on this recommendation.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To decrease the likelihood of cadets and midshipmen engaging in hazing-type treatment, the academy superintendents should set the length of the fourth class indoctrination period to the amount of time necessary to achieve specific objectives.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur and does not intend to act on this recommendation.
United States Air Force Academy To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should develop an explicit policy on how hazing will be handled and take decisive action using the appropriate charge when hazing is identified.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should develop an explicit policy on how hazing will be handled and take decisive action using the appropriate charge when hazing is identified.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should develop an explicit policy on how hazing will be handled and take decisive action using the appropriate charge when hazing is identified.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Air Force Academy To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should make it a specific responsibility of the cadet or midshipman chain of command to prevent and report hazing treatment rather than relying on the recipients of that treatment to report it.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not agree that additional direction was needed and therefore does not intend to act.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should make it a specific responsibility of the cadet or midshipman chain of command to prevent and report hazing treatment rather than relying on the recipients of that treatment to report it.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not agree that additional direction was needed and therefore does not intend to act.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should make it a specific responsibility of the cadet or midshipman chain of command to prevent and report hazing treatment rather than relying on the recipients of that treatment to report it.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not agree that additional direction was needed and therefore does not intend to act.
United States Air Force Academy To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should, for first-offense, hazing-type practices of lesser seriousness, consider establishing punishments that prevent reoccurrence such as suspending the offender's involvement in fourth class indoctrination.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should, for first-offense, hazing-type practices of lesser seriousness, consider establishing punishments that prevent reoccurrence such as suspending the offender's involvement in fourth class indoctrination.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should, for first-offense, hazing-type practices of lesser seriousness, consider establishing punishments that prevent reoccurrence such as suspending the offender's involvement in fourth class indoctrination.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Air Force Academy To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should alleviate the reticence of cadets and midshipmen to report hazing-related activities by establishing legitimate alternative reporting channels to the chain of command.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should alleviate the reticence of cadets and midshipmen to report hazing-related activities by establishing legitimate alternative reporting channels to the chain of command.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should alleviate the reticence of cadets and midshipmen to report hazing-related activities by establishing legitimate alternative reporting channels to the chain of command.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and does not intend to act on it.
United States Air Force Academy To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should protect those who report hazing activity by imposing harsh punishments for anyone taking reprisals against those who report incidents.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not agree that anything needed to be done in this area and therefore does not intend to act on it.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should protect those who report hazing activity by imposing harsh punishments for anyone taking reprisals against those who report incidents.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not agree that anything needed to be done in this area and therefore does not intend to act on it.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To improve enforcement of the prohibition against hazing, the academy superintendents should protect those who report hazing activity by imposing harsh punishments for anyone taking reprisals against those who report incidents.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD did not agree that anything needed to be done in this area and therefore does not intend to act on it.
United States Air Force Academy To increase the likelihood of success in eliminating hazing, the academy superintendents should facilitate the acceptance of change by educating the students, faculty, staff, and alumni on the necessity for change and involving them in the process.
Closed - Implemented
OASD (FM&P) will continue to work with the academies and provide oversight.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD To increase the likelihood of success in eliminating hazing, the academy superintendents should facilitate the acceptance of change by educating the students, faculty, staff, and alumni on the necessity for change and involving them in the process.
Closed - Implemented
OASD (FM&P) will continue to work with the academies and provide oversight.
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY To increase the likelihood of success in eliminating hazing, the academy superintendents should facilitate the acceptance of change by educating the students, faculty, staff, and alumni on the necessity for change and involving them in the process.
Closed - Implemented
OASD (FM&P) will continue to work with the academies and provide oversight.

Full Report