Every year, the Defense Department asks a good portion of its military members to take a survey regarding workplace and gender relations. The results give the DOD its official estimates on the prevalence of sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the military.
While the survey is voluntary, it's the department's only official source of data collection on this matter, which informs DOD officials on how to improve and develop policies and programs that can help service members. So it's important to give your input if you can.
The survey opened this year on Dec. 9 to about 1 million randomly selected service members — roughly half of the combined active-duty and Reserve force. What's new this year, though, is that there's also an abbreviated version that any service member can take.
"We suspect a lot of folks have something to say," said Dr. Rachel Breslin, chief of military gender relations research within the DOD's Office of People Analytics, which puts out the survey.
The full survey averages about 30 minutes to complete, while the abbreviated version has 10 questions and takes about five minutes, Breslin said.
Still have questions? Hopefully, we can answer them here.
Who will be asked to take the full survey?
Roughly 750,000 active-duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Guardians and Coast Guard members will be randomly selected to take the full survey. About 230,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve components will also randomly receive notice to take it. Currently, there are about 1.3 million active duty troops in the military, and they're backed up by the 825,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard.
All eligible survey participants are below the rank of general or admiral. And again, the survey is voluntary. There will be no repercussions if you opt not to take it.
Where do I go to take the survey?
The full or abbreviated survey can be taken at the same place online — DODSurveys.mil — and is mobile compatible. When you get to the page, it'll ask you for a ticket number. If you didn't receive that via mail or email, you can look it up on the website. The rest of the survey is pretty self-explanatory from there.
If you do look up your ticket number on the website, you will be taken to a site that is not a government website. Rest assured that this site is still legitimate and safe. However, if you have concerns, you can call 1-571-372-1034 or DSN 372-1034 to confirm the site's legitimacy.
Can I take the survey offline instead?
All service members in the Reserve component and about half of the active-duty folks who are selected for the full survey will also receive it on paper via regular mail, but they can still take it online instead. However, if you didn't receive a survey through the mail, you cannot request one by that method.
Who can take the abbreviated survey?
Any military member can choose to take the abbreviated survey. This includes generals, admirals and those who have just begun their training.
Are my answers confidential?
The survey is completely confidential — your name and identifying information are not connected to the responses. Furthermore, the survey has a federal Certificate of Confidentiality, which protects against subpoenas or other efforts to compel the release of the respondent data.
When can I see the survey results?
The results of the survey will come out in the summer of 2022 and will be publicly released to DOD policy offices, military service leadership and Congress. The results — along with those from previous surveys — will be available at OPA.mil.
The Congressionally mandated survey usually comes out every other year, with active duty members getting the survey on even years and Reserve component members being asked to fill it out on odd years. However, because COVID-19 postponed the 2020 survey, this year's is combined.