RELEASE: New Report Offers Recommendations to Address Sexual Assault in the U.S. Military

Washington, D.C. – Today, as the debate continues in Congress and the Department of Defense as to how we should address sexual assault and criminal justice system reform in the military, the Center for American Progress released a report that takes a historical look at the problem and offers recommendations.

“For the past 30 years, history has convincingly demonstrated that the military is unable to deal effectively with its sexual assault problem,” said Lawrence J. Korb, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and former assistant secretary of defense. “This issue, which President Barack Obama has correctly described as an ‘outrage and a crime,’ will persist as long as it remains within the chain of command.”

A critical step to increase accountability for perpetrators is to remove dispositional authority from the chain of command. This step alone, however, is insufficient to address the problem. The report offers the following additional recommendations to reduce sexual assaults in the military and protect victims:

  • Increase accountability for perpetrators and leadership.
  • Ensure victims’ rights and access to legal services.
  • Criminalize retaliation against victims.
  • Reform the structure of Article 32 hearings and enforce the military’s rape shield law.
  • Require that an official notice and written explanation of a decision not to prosecute be provided to the victim.
  • Tackle sexist attitudes to protect victims through prevention.
  • Improve data collection and reporting.
  • Report existing sexual assault data by installation and command designation in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, or SAPRO, Annual Report.
  • Publicly disclose the questionnaire of the Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members, or WGRA.
  • Improve sampling of male soldiers in the WGRA.

Read the report: Twice Betrayed by Lindsay Rosenthal and Lawrence J. Korb

Listen to the audio from the press call here.

To speak with an expert on this topic, contact Anne Shoup at 202.481.7146 or