Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Joni K. Ernst (R-IA), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, wrote a bipartisan letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis demanding the immediate publication of a new nonpartisan report by the RAND Corporation that assesses the risk of sexual assault at each U.S. military base. The Senators’ bipartisan letter follows an alarming report by USA Today that the RAND study is already finished and has been ready for publication for months, but the Defense Department refuses to make it public, despite its repeated pledges that it is committed to solving the military’s sexual assault problem. The information in the report could be crucial in the fight against military sexual assault.
“Transparency and accountability are critical in addressing the continued challenge of sexual assault in the military,” the Senators wrote in their letter. “Since this type of information is available, the Department should be not only release it, but also use it to better understand what it can do at the installation level to be more effective in preventing and responding to sexual assault.”
The full text of the Senators’ letter is available here and below:
The Honorable James N. Mattis
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Dear Secretary Mattis,
We are writing with regards to the report from USA Today that the Department of Defense has not released a report by the RAND Corporation that assesses risk of sexual assault by installation based on Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 data. We request that the report be released immediately.
The inclusion of the RAND Corporation, a federally funded research center, in the development and implementation of the Department’s Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office reports starting in FY2014 provides the opportunity for a deeper analysis of the data that is collected about sexual assault in the military. We should take advantage of the fact that RAND chose to take this additional step of using the data to assess risk of sexual assault by military installation to provide more information to service members and their families as well as to help the services better deal with this scourge at the installation level.
Transparency and accountability are critical in addressing the continued challenge of sexual assault in the military. Since this type of information is available, the Department should be not only release it, but also use it to better understand what it can do at the installation level to be more effective in preventing and responding to sexual assault.