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Military Equal Opportunity: Problems With Services' Complaint Systems Are
Being Addressed By DOD (Letter Report, 01/26/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-9).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed equal opportunity (EO)
complaints filed by Department of Defense (DOD) servicemembers, focusing
on: (1) the services' processes for handling EO complaints; and (2)
whether there are opportunities for improving these processes.

GAO found that: (1) the four military services have established
different EO complaint processes; (2) the services' deadlines and
available channels for filing complaints vary as well as their
documentation of complaint processing and follow-up reviews; (3) the
differences in the services' complaint processes arise from their
differing missions, organization, and culture; (4) although a single
standard EO process across the services is not feasible, effective EO
processing systems should incorporate alternative options for filing
complaints outside the chain of commands, strong leadership support, and
timelines for investigating EO complaints; (5) not all of the commands
follow their service's complaint procedures or document whether they
followed-up resolved complaints; (6) opportunities for improving the
services' EO complaint programs include more effective use of EO
specialists, increased use of EO climate assessments, complete and
documented EO training for commanders and servicemembers, and full
reporting of all EO complaints up the chain of command; and (7) a DOD EO
study has revealed the need to reduce servicemembers' fear of reprisal
for filing EO complaints and their lack of faith in the chain of

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Military Equal Opportunity: Problems With Services' 
             Complaint Systems Are Being Addressed By DOD
      DATE:  01/26/96
   SUBJECT:  Racial discrimination
             Sex discrimination
             Sexual harassment
             Military personnel
             Fair employment programs
             Agency proceedings
             Human resources training
             Personnel management
             Civil rights law enforcement
             Investigations by federal agencies
IDENTIFIER:  DOD Equal Opportunity Program
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================================================================ COVER

Report to the Ranking Minority Member, Committee on National
Security, House of Representatives

January 1996



Military Equal Opportunity


=============================================================== ABBREV

  DEOC - Defense Equal Opportunity Council
  DOD - Department of Defense
  EO - equal opportunity

=============================================================== LETTER


January 26, 1996

The Honorable Ronald V.  Dellums
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

Dear Mr.  Dellums: 

Department of Defense (DOD) policy holds that equal opportunity (EO)
is integral to the unity, readiness, and total defense capability of
its forces.  Unwarranted discriminatory behavior, including racial
discrimination and sexual harassment, is not to be condoned or
tolerated.  You expressed concern over increases in the number of
discrimination complaints sent by servicemembers to your Committee. 
We noted that from fiscal year 1989 through 1993, the number of EO
complaints reported by the services ranged from about 1,340 to over
3,600--averaging about 2,860 per year.  Over the same period, the
active duty military forces declined from about 2.1 million to 1.7

You asked that we (1) identify the services' processes for handling
EO complaints and (2) determine whether there are opportunities for
improving these processes.  As part of our review, we conducted focus
group sessions with more than 900 servicemembers across all four
services to help gain an understanding of the complaint systems and
EO environment from their perspective.  We refer to these focus
groups throughout this report and summarize their results in appendix

This report completes a three-part effort.  In April 1995, we issued
a report that identified previous DOD studies on discrimination in
the military.\1 In November 1995, we issued a report that examined
the services' military EO assessments.\2

\1 Equal Opportunity:  DOD Studies on Discrimination in the Military
(GAO/NSIAD-95-103, Apr.  7, 1995). 

\2 Military Equal Opportunity:  Certain Trends in Racial and Gender
Data May Warrant Further Analysis (GAO/NSIAD-96-17, Nov.  17, 1995). 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

During our review, DOD Directive 1350.2, dated December 23, 1988, was
the basis for the military EO program.  Although DOD recently revised
its directive,\3 it still requires DOD components, including the
military departments, joint commands, and defense agencies, to create
and sustain environments free from discrimination.  The military EO
program applies only to military personnel.  DOD civilians are
covered by a separate program--the Equal Employment Opportunity
Program.  Military personnel do not have access to mediation by the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and federal courts have held
that they may not sue for discrimination under the provisions of
title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. 

Concurrent with our review, a House National Security Committee task
force conducted focus group sessions with servicemembers at
19 installations to determine their views on EO.  The task force
issued its report in December 1994.\4

In addition, the Defense Equal Opportunity Council (DEOC), a DOD
group chartered to advise the Secretary of Defense concerning EO
matters, reviewed the services' discrimination complaint systems. 
DEOC issued its report in May 1995.\5

In August 1995, DOD revised DOD Directive 1350.2 to incorporate many
of DEOC's recommendations.  According to DOD, the new directive
requires the services to strengthen their procedures for processing
sexual harassment and discrimination complaints. 

\3 Issued August 18, 1995. 

\4 An Assessment of Racial Discrimination in the Military:  A Global
Perspective, House Armed Services Committee Task Force on Equality of
Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, December 30, 1994. 

\5 Report of the Task Force on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment,
DEOC, Vols.  I and II, May 1995. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

In implementing the military EO program, the four military services
have established different complaint processes.  Among these
differences are the deadlines for filing a complaint after an
incident occurs, the channels available for filing a complaint, and
the documentation used to record complaint processing and follow-up
reviews.  Not all the commands we visited were following their
service's prescribed complaint procedures.  Most important, some
commands could not document that they had followed up on complaints
after they were resolved to determine whether the complainants had
experienced reprisal or further discrimination. 

Our review identified a number of areas that offer opportunities for
improving the services' EO programs.  Specifically,

  some EO specialists were not used effectively because they did not
     have direct access to the commander, served very large
     populations, or had too many other duties to perform;

  some commands made no use or very limited use of "climate"
     assessments to evaluate and improve the health of the EO

  EO training for commanders, who are responsible for managing the EO
     program, and for servicemembers was incomplete and undocumented;

  some EO complaints and incidents were not reported up the chain of

DEOC, in its May 1995 report, stated that although no single
complaint process would be workable for all the services, some common
standards should be followed.  DEOC also identified a number of
opportunities for improving the military EO program, including the
need to reduce servicemembers' fear of reprisal for filing a
complaint.  DEOC's report contains 48 recommended improvements, which
DOD is addressing.  As a result, we are not making any
recommendations at this time. 

Based on our focus groups, we noted an overall sense that the
military was a good EO employer and that although discrimination and
harassment occur, these were not major problems.  However, our focus
groups also reinforced DEOC's concerns about problems with EO
complaint systems.  For example, we heard a widespread reluctance to
file EO complaints because of the fear of reprisal and a lack of
faith in the chain of command. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

Under DOD Directive 1350.2, the services, joint commands, and defense
agencies are required to develop complaint systems that ensure fair,
impartial, and prompt resolution of discrimination complaints. 
Service regulations provide further guidance on EO complaint handling
as well as other aspects of the EO programs.  Prior to our review,
the Air Force and the Army had made major changes in their complaint

During our review, we identified many differences among the services'
complaint procedures.  The following are three examples: 

  Deadlines for filing complaints.  Air Force personnel have 6 months
     to file a complaint, Army and Marine Corps personnel must file
     within 60 days, and Navy personnel must file a complaint within
     45 days of an EO incident. 

  Avenues for filing complaints.  All four services encourage
     complainants to use the chain of command to resolve a complaint
     before resorting to other measures.  Only the Air Force
     encourages its members to seek assistance outside the chain of
     command.  This alternative is the base Social Actions Office,
     which is staffed by EO specialists.  In the other services,
     complaints filed with EO specialists or others outside the chain
     of command are usually referred back to the chain of command for

  Complaint documentation.  The Air Force, the Army, and the Navy
     (starting in Nov.  1994) use complaint forms that guide and
     document the complaint process, from the filing of the complaint
     to the end of the investigation.  Each form is different.  The
     Marine Corps' form is not EO specific, but is used to request a
     meeting with the commander for any reason. 

In its May 1995 report, DEOC stated that differences in the complaint
processes reflected differences in the services' missions,
organization, and culture.  "While general principles and standards
can often be shared across Service lines, the simple substitution of
one Service's complaints process for another is both undesirable and
unworkable," DEOC asserted.  In its focus group sessions with
servicemembers, the House National Security Committee task force
heard widespread reports that complaint systems did not serve members
well.  The task force identified a number of factors that an
effective system should incorporate, including options for raising
complaints outside the chain of command, strong support for the
system from top leadership, and adherence to established timelines
for investigating complaints and providing detailed feedback to

At the time of our review, none of the six joint service commands and
defense agencies we visited had written procedures for resolving EO
complaints outside the chain of command.  In addition, because the
services' definitions of discrimination and procedures for resolving
EO complaints vary, handling EO complaints involving members of
different services could be difficult without written guidance for
doing so.  According to DEOC, defense agencies were beginning to
develop specific procedures for processing EO complaints. 

For the most part, the focus group discussions revealed that the
servicemembers were familiar with their respective service's
procedures for filing an EO complaint.  One notable exception was in
the Navy.  Participants in these focus groups, particularly among the
lower-ranked enlisted members, did not indicate they knew how to
pursue a complaint beyond their chain of command. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

Although most commands we visited adhered to their service
requirements for addressing and resolving EO complaints, a few did
not.  Most often, commands could not document that they had followed
up to ensure complainants had not been subjected to reprisal.  For

  At four Air Force bases we visited,\6 17 complaints filed during
     fiscal years 1993 and 1994 appeared to require follow-up, but 4
     of these did not have the necessary documentation showing that
     follow-up reviews were done. 

  At one Army installation, 30 EO complaints filed during fiscal year
     1994 appeared to require follow-up, but none of these had the
     necessary documentation showing that a follow-up review was

  Two Marine Corps installations we visited could not provide
     evidence that they had procedures to detect and prevent

  None of the three subordinate commands we visited at one Navy fleet
     had established procedures to detect and deter reprisals, as
     required since 1989. 

Both the House task force and DEOC focused on reprisal as a key
issue.  The task force found that for a complaint system to be
effective, the chain of command must demonstrate a commitment to
protecting complainants from reprisal.  DEOC made several
recommendations aimed at preventing reprisal, including adopting a
standard definition of reprisal, establishing specific reprisal
prevention procedures, and improving training for leaders.  Our focus
group discussions, especially among the lower-ranked enlisted
members, indicated that a fear of reprisal and a lack of faith in the
chain of command were concerns and were cited by the groups as
reasons they would be reluctant to file an EO complaint. 

\6 We did not document follow-up on EO complaints at one Air Force
base we visited. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

Senior commanders in all four services are assigned personnel who
have received extensive training in EO from the Defense Equal
Opportunity Management Institute.\7

These specialists are usually enlisted personnel ranging in grade
from E-6 through E-9, though the Air Force and the Army also use some
officers as EO specialists.  At the commands we visited, the
organizational placement and duties of EO specialists varied widely,
having an impact on their ability to support the commander's EO
program.  Based on our focus groups, Marine Corps and Navy
participants often did not know who their respective EO specialist
was or what the EO specialist did. 

\7 The Institute, located at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, is a
joint-service organization charged with providing EO training to the
services and other DOD components.  It also initiates EO studies and
works with commanders in conducting EO climate surveys. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.1

DOD Directive 1350.2 requires that EO specialists be placed in the
organization where they can effectively communicate EO issues with
and gain support of their leaders.  According to DEOC, the placement
of EO specialists on the commander's staff signals the commander's
support of the EO program and enables EO specialists to keep the
commander informed of important EO issues. 

At the commands we visited, EO staff were assigned to various levels
of the command structure.  While some were on the staff of the senior
installation commander, others worked at lower levels within the
organization and often had to go through one or more layers of
command to communicate with the senior commander.  Some EO
specialists who lacked direct access to the commander were
dissatisfied with the visibility given the EO program.  Others said
they had adequate access despite the multiple layers of command
between them and the commander.  The DOD Inspector General, in a 1994
report, also noted that several EO specialists it interviewed
indicated they did not have the direct access to commanders their
responsibilities required.\8

Air Force EO specialists, as stated earlier, work in the base Social
Actions Office.  In 1993, the Air Force moved the Social Actions
Office organizationally up the chain of command, from the mission
support squadron to the senior installation (wing) commander's staff. 
According to the Chief of Social Actions at one base, the move
increased the office's importance and visibility. 

The Army and the Navy generally assign EO specialists to senior
commanders.  The Army, in addition, assigns EO specialists to
garrison commanders, who are responsible for managing the
infrastructure of a base and supporting tenant commands.  At several
commands we visited, however, EO specialists were not placed on the
command staff, but reported to an official lower in the chain of
command.  Some of the EO specialists in these commands said their
organizational placement limited their access to the commander and,
consequently, limited the effectiveness of their support to the EO
program.  The Navy's Inspector General has reported that EO
specialists lack the support and confidence of their superiors and
are underused as program experts. 

In the Marine Corps, EO specialists are assigned to commanding
generals and commanding officers of independent installations and
stations.  However, at one Marine Corps base we visited, the senior
officer did not have an EO specialist assigned.  According to Marine
Corps officials, the Marine Corps EO program is only 2 years old and
not all EO positions are filled.  More specialists are being trained,
and all EO positions should be filled by January 1997. 

\8 Review of Military Department Investigations of Allegations of
Discrimination by Military Personnel, Assistant Inspector General for
Departmental Inquiries, March 1994. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.2

The number of servicemembers EO specialists serve varies considerably
from service to service, with Navy and Marine Corps specialists
serving the largest populations.  The Air Force bases we visited, for
instance, had
1 specialist for approximately every 1,000 servicemembers.  At one
Army command, 12 EO specialists, including an officer, served
20,000 servicemembers, a ratio of 1 specialist to about
1,700 servicemembers.  In contrast, at 2 Marine Corps installations
we visited, 1 EO specialist served about 38,000 servicemembers,
whereas another served 8,000.  Similarly, 1 Navy fleet EO specialist
and 29 EO specialists at subordinate Navy commands we visited
served about 149,000 servicemembers, a ratio of 1 specialist to
4,100 servicemembers.  In addition, some Navy commands did not have
an EO specialist assigned. 

Marine Corps and Navy EO specialists, unlike their Air Force and Army
counterparts, frequently had collateral duties as well.  A Navy fleet
EO specialist managed the drug and alcohol program and the civilian
equal employment opportunity program in addition to managing the
command's EO program and coordinating the EO programs within the
fleet.  At a September 1994 EO conference, Marine Corps EO
specialists said that in addition to EO duties, they were sometimes
assigned other responsibilities,\9 such as managing the base housing
program and other tasks. 

In addition, in the Army, the Marine Corps, and the Navy, commanders
may also assign EO as a collateral duty to a staff member.  These
staff receive EO training, but not the extensive training EO
specialists receive.  Their duties are typically to act as the "eyes
and ears" of the commander on EO matters within the unit.  In the
Army, they may also help mediate EO complaints at a low level and
provide unit-level EO training. 

\9 East Coast Equal Opportunity Advisors Conference, Sept.  29-30,
1994, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

Each service requires or strongly encourages commanders to assess the
EO climate of their unit to identify any issues needing attention. 
Climate assessments may include a survey of personnel to determine
their perceptions and attitudes.  They may also include small group
"sensing sessions"; one-on-one interviews with unit members; a review
of EO complaint files; and an analysis of personnel data, such as
disciplinary actions, retention rates, and the distribution of
awards, to determine whether there are any apparent disparities among

Some commands we visited conducted EO climate assessments of one sort
or another, and some commanders appeared to be using the results to
help them manage their EO programs.  However, in other instances,
commands did not conduct assessments or, if they did, failed to act
on them. 

  Two of the Air Force bases we visited had not conducted
     installation-wide climate assessments in 1994, although such
     assessments were required semiannually.  All the bases conducted
     a limited number of unit-specific climate assessments, but we
     found no evidence that the Social Actions Offices followed up to
     determine whether remedies to identified EO problems had been

  Only 1 of 14 Marine Corp units we visited at 2 installations had
     conducted a climate assessment within the past year.  The Marine
     Corps EO Manual requires that commanders establish quality
     assurance procedures, including climate assessments, to
     determine the effectiveness of their EO programs. 

  Two of the three major subordinate commands in one Navy fleet
     command had not conducted a climate assessment in the past 3
     years, even though the Navy requires annual assessments.  The
     fleet command itself had just conducted a climate
     assessment--the first in the last 3 to
     4 years.  The Navy is the only service that requires commands to
     develop follow-up plans to address identified problems, but we
     found such plans were lacking in many cases. 

On the other hand, many of the units at the Army installations we
visited had conducted unit climate assessments.  The Army's EO
regulation recommends that assessments be conducted 90 days after a
commander takes command.  However, only three of the six
installations had conducted installation-wide assessments.  The Army
is considering changes to its EO policy, including requiring all
commanders to conduct climate assessments within 90 days of assuming
command and annually thereafter. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

Commanders do not receive training in managing the EO program, even
though they are responsible for its success.  In addition, although
the Secretary of Defense has recognized that EO training for generals
and flag officers has been limited, many have not attended an EO
course at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, as
directed by the Secretary.  Furthermore, we found during our site
visits that many commands could not show that their military
personnel had received service-required EO training. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :7.1

The services have not developed instructional curricula to teach
commanders how to manage an EO program.  The services' curricula for
senior-level leaders do not, with some minor exceptions, include
material on the commanders' role and responsibilities for managing
the program.  DEOC noted this deficiency in its May 1995 report and
recommended that DOD policy be amended to ensure that commanders and
civilian managers receive this type of instruction. 

In addition to having little, if any, training in the management of
EO programs, not all senior leaders have been trained in the precepts
of EO.  The Secretary of Defense mandated in a March 1994 memorandum
to DOD components that senior leaders receive EO training from the
Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.  As of September
1995, 384, or about 44 percent, of the services' 877 general and flag
officers had taken the required EO training.  The Navy had trained
about 85 percent, Marine Corps about half, the Air Force about 41
percent, and the Army about 15 percent of their general and flag

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :7.2

Although DOD Directive 1350.2 requires the services and other DOD
components to ensure that their members receive recurring EO
training, records of such training at most of the commands we visited
were not maintained or were inaccurate.  In addition, the services'
requirements for EO training varied widely because DOD has not
defined "recurring."

The Army requires that its members receive EO training twice a year. 
Most of the commands were providing the required training, but none
of the units we visited at several Army commands could document that
all personnel had attended EO training.  Several units were in the
process of automating their record-keeping systems to enable better
tracking.  An Army command at one base was not aware of the Army's
semiannual training requirement. 

The Navy requires that its personnel receive rights and
responsibilities training, which includes EO, 90 days after reporting
to a new command and annually thereafter.  However, training was
inconsistently offered or was undocumented.  For example, two ships
we visited did not require EO training for E-7s and above, only a
third of the personnel reporting to one Navy command between January
1992 and September 1994 received EO training, and EO program
officials at several naval commands had no documentation that EO
training had occurred. 

The Air Force does not require its servicemembers to receive training
on a periodic basis like the other services.  Rather, it requires EO
training when servicemembers report to their first duty station,
transfer to a new command, or attend a professional military
education school.  As a result, Air Force servicemembers who do not
change commands regularly or attend professional military education
schools may not receive EO training for several years. 

In its report, the House task force stated that many servicemembers
believe EO training is ineffective because it is conducted in very
large groups, providing little opportunity for discussion, and
because it is conducted at times by individuals who are inadequately
trained themselves.  Servicemembers in virtually all the focus groups
we conducted in the Army (which conducted servicewide EO training in
June 1994) and to a lesser extent in the Navy (which conducted
servicewide sexual harassment training in 1992) recalled the
training.  However, servicemembers in many of the focus groups in the
Air Force and the Marine Corps could not recall when they had last
received EO-specific training. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

Although DOD requires the collection of EO complaint data, some EO
complaints and incidents are not reported up the chain of command. 
In implementing DOD Directive 1350.2, all the services require
commands to report EO complaints.  But the interpretation of the
guidance is not consistent among the services. 

Complaint data is used to prepare one part of annual military EO
assessments required by DOD.  The assessments are DOD's primary
source of information for monitoring the services' EO programs.  In
their assessments, the services report racial and gender statistics
10 personnel-related categories, including the number of
discrimination or sexual harassment complaints that surface through
official channels.\10

In addition, during our visits, we noted that EO complaints and
incidents were not reported in several instances.  Among the reasons
for these omissions were (1) units did not report complaints to the
person or office responsible for gathering complaint data; (2)
commands differed in their views about which complaints should be
reported and when; and (3) incidents were resolved outside EO
channels, such as incidents adjudicated through the military justice
system.  The following examples illustrate some of the reporting
problems we found: 

  In fiscal years 1993 and 1994, subordinate units at one Army
     command did not report 24 complaints to EO officials because
     they were not aware of the requirement. 

  In 1993, four of eight discrimination complaints at a Marine Corps
     installation were not reported to the EO specialists, as

  Each of the three Navy commands we visited reported EO complaints
     differently.  One reported only substantiated complaints, one
     reported only formal complaints, and one reported all
     complaints--substantiated or unsubstantiated and formal or
     informal.  Navy regulations require EO complaints not resolved
     informally to be reported. 

  Although required to do so, many Navy commands and two Marine Corps
     installations we visited did not report EO-related incidents
     that resulted in nonjudicial punishments, courts-martial, or
     administrative discharges.  Within one fleet command, for
     example, 17 such incidents were not reported in fiscal years
     1993 and 1994. 

  At three Air Force bases, we identified a total of six EO-related
     incidents that were resolved through the military justice system
     but were not reported to the Social Actions Office. 

As we recently reported,\11 the services' military EO assessments
have not been as useful as they could have been partly because the
services have interpreted the definitions and requirements
differently.  In its May 1995 report, DEOC found that enhanced data
collection and reporting would improve DOD's efforts to deal with EO
complaints systematically.  DEOC recommended that the Office of the
Secretary of Defense establish uniform data elements and require that
the services use those elements in reporting EO complaints. 

\10 The 10 reporting categories are (1) recruiting/accessions, (2)
force composition, (3) promotions, (4) professional military
education, (5) separations, (6) augmentation (reserve officers
transferring to an active-duty component) and retention, (7)
assignments (those considered career enhancing), (8) discrimination
or sexual harassment complaints, (9) utilization of skills (skill
categories with high or low concentrations of minorities or women),
and (10) discipline. 

\11 Military Equal Opportunity:  Certain Trends in Racial and Gender
Data May Warrant Further Analysis (GAO/NSIAD-96-17, Nov.  17, 1995). 
In commenting on this report, DOD said it is taking action to ensure
uniformity and comparability in the services' assessments. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :9

DEOC reported on most of the matters addressed in this report, and
DOD is addressing DEOC's recommendations.  Therefore, we are not
making any recommendations at this time. 

----------------------------------------------------------- Letter :10

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with the
report.  DOD also noted that it is addressing the DEOC
recommendations and is continuing actions to improve the military EO
complaint systems.  DOD's comments are reproduced in appendix III. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Letter :10.1

A discussion of our scope and methodology is in appendix II.  We
conducted our review between February 1994 and November 1995 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Chairmen and Ranking
Minority Members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the House
Committee on National Security, and the Senate and House Committees
on Appropriations; the Secretaries of Defense, the Air Force, the
Army, and the Navy; the Commandant of the Marine Corps; and the
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Copies also will be made available
to others upon request. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-5140 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  Major contributors to this report
are listed in appendix IV. 

Sincerely yours,

Mark E.  Gebicke
Director, Military Operations
 and Capabilities Issues

=========================================================== Appendix I

Following are summaries of the comments made to us in focus groups we
conducted at 17 of the 22 service installations and aboard the 3 Navy
vessels we visited.  A total of 927 servicemembers participated.  We
asked the focus groups six basic questions concerning their
respective service's equal opportunity (EO) program and complaints
process.  For the focus groups, we randomly selected servicemembers
and organized them into small groups (generally about 10 each) by
rank:  (1) E-1 to E-4 (nonsupervisory lower-ranked enlisted
personnel), (2) E-4 to E-6 (mid-level supervisory enlisted
personnel), (3) E-7 to E-9 (senior-ranked enlisted personnel), and
(4) 0-1 to 0-3 (junior officers) and warrant officers.  The following
table shows the number of participating servicemembers by service,
rank, minority status, and gender. 

                               Table I.1
                  Focus Group Participants by Service

                      E1-   E5-   E7-  Office         Minoriti  Female
Service                E4    E6    E9     rs\  Total      es\a       s
-------------------  ----  ----  ----  ------  =====  --------  ------
Air Force              69    74    56      39    238      87\b    68\b
Army                   71    68    51      70    260        \c      \c
Marine Corps           24    23    26      35    108        38       4
Navy                   93    79    76      73    321       132      72
Total                 257   244   209     217    927       257     144
\a We grouped five categories as minorities based on the
participants' responses.  These categories are (1) American Indian or
Alaskan Native, (2) Asian or Pacific Islander, (3) black (not of
Hispanic origin), (4) Hispanic, and (5) other. 

\b We did not collect racial and gender information for the focus
groups we conducted at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.  These
groups included 50 servicemembers. 

\c We did not collect racial and gender information for the focus
groups we conducted in the Army. 

Each of the focus groups was conducted by a two- or three-member team
of our evaluators with at least one minority group member.  Although
we documented the focus group discussions, the results referred to in
this report are the team members' interpretation of what they heard. 
Additionally, although the focus groups consisted of servicemembers
selected at random, the comments we heard cannot be applied across
the services.  In the discussions that follow, when we refer to
comments from "groups", we are referring to the repetition of a
comment made across the focus groups whether it was stated by a
single individual or by several individuals within each of the

The focus groups provided a wide range of comments on the topics
discussed.  However, we noted a prevailing sense that the military
was a good EO employer and that although discrimination and
harassment occurred, these were not major problems.  Nevertheless, we
also detected some concerns. 

  In many of the focus groups--especially among the lower-ranked
     enlisted members--fear of reprisal and a lack of faith in the
     chain of command were cited as reasons they would be reluctant
     to use the EO complaints process.  In some focus groups,
     participants said that some leaders do not want EO complaints
     filed because complaints adversely reflect on their leadership
     abilities and could be justification for adverse ratings. 

  Rather than discrimination, in a number of focus groups concern was
     expressed about favoritism; that is, sometimes the same
     situation is handled differently by the chain of command
     depending on whether the individual is in favor with the

  Focus groups at locations with significant Department of Defense
     civilian populations cited problems working with the civilians. 
     These groups said a servicemember's career could be negatively
     affected by a civilian supervisor who did not understand how to
     do military ratings. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:1

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:1.1

Virtually all the focus groups knew that the Social Actions Office
was available to help them prepare an EO complaint.  They also noted
that a complaint should be filed with the chain of command. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:1.2

In virtually all the focus group discussions, the participants were
familiar with how to file EO complaints and knew that the EO adviser
and unit EO representative were available to help file complaints and
provide assistance on EO issues.  In most groups, participants knew
that complaints could be filed with the chain of command; an EO
specialist or an inspector general; and other agencies, including the
chaplain and medical personnel. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:1.3

Most of the focus groups were familiar with how to "request mast" (a
meeting with their commander) and use the chain of command for
surfacing a complaint, but they would rather not file a complaint. 
They were unfamiliar with how to go to the EO specialist for
assistance and were generally unaware that other avenues, such as the
inspector general, were available to them to file a complaint. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:1.4

Many of the focus groups were not familiar with how to file EO
complaints.  Several groups at different locations did not know of
the EO complaint process.  Most said any type of complaint should be
resolved through the chain of command.  Some of the focus groups with
more senior personnel, who would be in a position of advising a
complainant of their options, said the Command Managed EO officer
(who is an "overseer" of the commander's program) was used in the
complaint process, but this is not so. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:2

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:2.1

Most focus groups knew the Social Actions Office with EO-trained
personnel would help process EO complaints.  Some focus groups with
senior-ranked enlisted members said that the inspector general was
not a viable place to complain because the office is not independent
of command influence. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:2.2

The majority of the focus groups knew who the unit EO representative
was, but fewer knew who the EO advisers and full-time EO specialists
were.  Most knew that the names of the EO advisers and
representatives could usually be found on unit bulletin boards.  They
said the EO representatives were valuable because they were EO
trained and were readily available to help in EO matters because they
were in the same unit.  Virtually all knew that the EO specialists
(1) are the primary EO trainers, (2) give advice on how to resolve EO
problems, and (3) help process and resolve EO complaints. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:2.3

Participants in only a few of the focus groups were aware of the base
EO specialist or the unit EO specialist.  For example, only one of
eight officers in one focus group knew there was a base EO
specialist.  This officer became aware of this individual only after
preparing for our visit.  Almost all of the groups said they would
use the chain of command or request a meeting with their commander as
their primary means of resolving an EO complaint. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:2.4

Although most of the focus groups were aware of EO specialists, some
were not.  On one ship, the enlisted personnel focus group was not
aware of the EO specialist, while the officer focus groups said it
would not use the EO specialist because he was "a cause of problems."

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:3

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:3.1

Most of the focus groups with junior enlisted members did not recall
receiving EO training at their current location.  While most of the
groups with more senior-ranked enlisted members and junior officers
recalled receiving some EO training, much of it was on sexual
harassment.  The focus groups with senior-ranked Air Force enlisted
members said EO training was too general.  To be more useful, the
training needs specific examples of right and wrong actions. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:3.2

Most focus groups recalled receiving EO training during June 1994
when the Army introduced a revised EO complaints process.  Virtually
all recalled receiving periodic EO training in their units from a
minimum of twice yearly to as many as four times a year.  Most said
that the scope and extent of training generally met their needs. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:3.3

Few focus groups recalled receiving any EO training at their
location.  Most of the EO training the groups remembered was at basic
training and schools.  There was general agreement that more
unit-level EO training was needed. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:3.4

Most groups recalled receiving EO training at their current location
usually as part of Navy rights and responsibilities training.  Many
said the EO training focused mostly on sexual harassment. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:4

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:4.1

The majority of the focus groups expressed a lack of faith in the
chain of command.  Generally, the groups with lower-ranked enlisted
personnel trusted the chain of command the least, while the
senior-ranked enlisted and the officer focus groups trusted the chain
of command the most.  However, at one major command, the focus group
with senior-ranked enlisted members said it did not trust the
officers to support the senior enlisted members against complaints
from lower-ranked enlisted members who were poor performers.  The
focus groups with junior enlisted members said that the chain of
command was "a joke" and that there was too much favoritism.  Most of
these groups also said they would not feel comfortable filing an EO

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:4.2

Like the Air Force, the majority of the focus groups expressed a lack
of faith in the chain of command.  Some said the chain of command
would label those submitting an EO complaint as troublemakers and
they could be the subject of reprisals.  Generally, the focus groups
with lower-ranked enlisted personnel trusted the chain of command the
least, while the groups with senior-ranked enlisted members and
junior officers generally trusted the chain of command the most.  The
focus groups with junior enlisted members said that their immediate
supervisors and above were just looking for any opportunity to "drop
paper on them"--that is, prepare written counseling statements
against them citing nonperformance of duties.  When enough statements
were in the file, the servicemember could be involuntarily

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:4.3

As with the other services, the majority of the focus groups
expressed a lack of faith in the chain of command.  The focus groups
with lower-ranked enlisted personnel trusted the chain of command the
least, while the groups with senior-ranked enlisted members and
officers trusted the chain of command the most.  Most also were
convinced that "you didn't go outside the chain of command." Many of
the focus groups with senior-ranked enlisted members and junior
officers stated that they would not file a complaint because, as
leaders, they were expected to solve the problems of their personnel
as well as their own.  They noted that solving your own problems or
problems of Marines who are your responsibility is considered a "code
of honor," which reduces the need for a formal complaint process. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:4.4

Again, the majority of the focus groups expressed a lack of faith in
the chain of command.  As with the Air Force and the Army, the
lower-ranked enlisted personnel groups generally trusted the chain of
command the least, while the groups with senior-ranked enlisted
members and junior officers trusted the chain of command the most. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:5

In response to this question, we heard many of the same comments in
each of the services.  Overall, the majority of the focus groups said
they would suffer reprisal if they filed an EO complaint, especially
if they went outside the chain of command.  Generally, the focus
groups with lower-ranked enlisted personnel feared reprisal the most. 
The groups that feared reprisal said the reprisal would be subtle and
hard to prove but would occur.  They also said personnel who filed a
complaint would be labeled as troublemakers and subsequently would be
watched very closely and given no leeway if they made a mistake. 

Some focus groups with senior-ranked enlisted servicemembers noted
that some officers do not want EO complaints to be filed because
higher headquarters commanders would take the existence of complaints
as proof that the junior officers were poor leaders.  In addition,
they said the EO process is abused by poor performers who threaten to
file EO complaints as a defense against corrective action being taken
against them.  They said that supervisors fear being the subject of
an EO complaint that could be used by senior commanders to criticize

Some focus groups with junior officers said the EO and inspector
general systems are for the enlisted members.  Officers rarely go to
the inspector general or file an EO complaint because doing so may be
seen as admitting you cannot solve your own problems and you are not
a team player. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:6

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:6.1

Many of the focus groups said the EO climate was not healthy because
of some racism and sexual harassment.  At two bases, problems with
civilians were considered the primary reason for an unhealthy EO
climate.  Climate surveys were considered of little value because the
commander must request them, and the surveys did not include
civilians--a frequent source of EO problems. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:6.2

Most of the focus groups said the EO climate was satisfactory.  They
said the military was generally better than the civilian world. 
Although some knew that racism existed, they did not say it was a
pervasive problem.  However, some EO-related matters were of concern. 

  Problems with the EO climate included favoritism as the most
     frequent problem.  In essence, who you knew was more important
     than what you knew. 

  At three installations, in many of the groups participants said
     that those working for and rated by civilians were treated
     badly.  Bad ratings were most frequently cited as a result. 
     Problems also occurred in off-post relations for both military
     personnel and their dependents. 

  A number of focus groups with officers and senior-ranked enlisted
     members said that too many EO complaints were unfounded and were
     filed by nonperformers as a defense against corrective action
     being taken against them for not doing their job. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:6.3

Although many of the focus groups said the EO climate was healthy,
the focus groups with senior-ranked enlisted members said the junior
officers were too concerned about their own careers instead of the
welfare of the troops.  Seeming to confirm this view, the officer
focus groups had an undertone that they did not have enough time for
combat training let alone something like EO. 

------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:6.4

At four of the bases and ships we visited, many of the focus groups
said the EO climate was satisfactory.  The group discussions at the
other four bases and ships were less positive, noting concerns of
sexual harassment and some racism. 

========================================================== Appendix II

We reviewed the Department of Defense's and the services' policies
and procedures governing the EO program, including the complaint
process, and interviewed officials responsible for developing EO
policies at the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
for Equal Opportunity and at the services' headquarters.  We reviewed
the services' annual assessments of their EO programs and other
statistical reports, studies, and pertinent program documentation. 
In addition, we attended a training session at the Defense Equal
Opportunity Management Institute, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. 

We visited 22 military service installations, 3 Navy vessels, and 6
joint service commands and defense agencies.  At each, we interviewed
members of the command structure, EO specialists, and legal and
administrative personnel.  We reviewed copies of EO policies,
discrimination complaint records, climate assessments, EO reports,
and training records and lesson plans.  As summarized in appendix I,
we conducted focus groups at 17 of the 22 military service
installations and aboard the 3 Navy vessels we visited.  The service
installations represented a cross-section of mission areas--combat,
combat support, intelligence, logistical, medical support, training,
and administrative; the Navy vessels were tenders, and women had been
fully integrated into the officers corps and crew.  The locations
visited were as follows: 

  Air Force:  Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Kelly, Lackland, and
     Randolph Air Force Bases, Texas; and Langley Air Force Base,

  Army:  Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort
     Huachuca, Arizona; Fort Meade, Maryland; Fort Rucker, Alabama;
     and Fort Stewart, Georgia. 

  Marine Corps:  Marine Corps Base, Hawaii, and Camp Lejeune and the
     Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. 

  Navy:  Miramar and North Island Naval Air Stations, California; the
     San Diego Submarine Base, the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare
     Training Center Pacific, and the U.S.S.  Dixon, San Diego,
     California; Pensacola Naval Air Station and the Naval Education
     and Training Command, Florida; Commander in Chief, Pacific
     Fleet, and the U.S.S.  Cushing, Hawaii; and Commander in Chief,
     Atlantic Fleet, and the U.S.S.  Land, Norfolk, Virginia. 

  Joint service commands and defense agencies:  the U.S.  Atlantic
     Command, Norfolk, and the Joint Personal Property Shipping
     Office Washington Area, Fort Belvoir, Virginia; the U.S. 
     Pacific Command, Hawaii; and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the
     Defense Nuclear Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency,
     Washington, D.C. 

We conducted our review between February 1994 and November 1995 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix III
========================================================== Appendix II

========================================================== Appendix IV


Sharon A.  Cekala, Associate Director
A.  H.  Huntington, III, Assistant Director
Patricia L.  Martin, Evaluator-in-Charge
James A.  Driggins, Senior Evaluator
William J.  Rigazio, Senior Evaluator
Thomas W.  Gosling, Evaluator


Robert M.  Crowl, Site Senior
Glenn M.  Duvall, Evaluator
Paul W.  Richardson, Evaluator
Joanna M.  Stamatiades, Evaluator


Enrique E.  Olivares, Site Senior
Bonifacio Roldan-Galarza, Evaluator


Priscilla Harrison, Site Senior
Joyce L.  Akins, Evaluator
Karen L.  Seymour, Evaluator


Sandra F.  Bell, Site Senior
Willie J.  Cheely, Jr., Evaluator
Dawn R.  Godfrey, Evaluator
Robert W.  Wagner, Evaluator

*** End of document. ***