Wednesday, April 04, 2012

CNO has lost confidence in his officers & SNCOs

I'm not gobsmacked about this - I am set back.

The Chief of Naval Operations has stated the following;
I am convinced that our unit commanders and senior enlisted leaders do not understand the significance of this issue, and do not place this high on their agenda.
You can get the full context below - but let's pull this apart.

I only retired a little more than two years ago - and I know one thing - sexual assault is not a training issue. "... do not understand ... " Please. They can chant it in their sleep.

As a father, husband, and brother - who served with fathers, husbands, and brothers along with mothers, wives, and sisters - I take it as an exceptional insult that:

1) The CNO thinks that as men and women, his leaders do not understand the importance of sexual assault: a crime that impacts a woman her entire life and impacts their relationship with every man in their life from there on out.
2) He thinks that only Flag Officers and SES can solve this. Really?

Read the below for context and I'll see you on the other end.
-----Original Message-----
From: [redacted] [[redacted]]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 3:06 PM
To: [redacted]

Admirals and Senior Executives:

A note here about Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

My staff proposed a more detailed email. I decided you all don't need more detail and events on this subject. But, we do need a mindset change. This past week VCNO released a NAVADMIN that describes our plan for April's Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Please read it.

I am really concerned about our lack of progress in preventing sexual assault. We have been after this in earnest since Sep 2009. There has been no discernable [sic] change in the number of sexual assaults. There is quite a bit of "activity" at headquarters - all levels of headquarters. Victim care is much better, JAG and NCIS training has and will continue to improve litigation. But, this is after the assaults occur. That approach (focus on injured people) would be ridiculous if this were a safety problem. But, it is a safety problem. Our people are unsafe due to sexual assaults.

There is a growing feeling in the Congress that we are unable to deal with the problem and they need to take this from the DOD. Legislation has been proposed. Think about that - we cannot prevent our people from assaulting each other - so Congress might have to tell us how to reconcile it.

I need your help - both Flag and SES. This problem reminds me of the drug abuse problem we had in the 70s and 80s. But, there is no elegant deterrent like the urinalysis program to help us.
I am convinced that our unit commanders and senior enlisted leaders do not understand the significance of this issue, and do not place this high on their agenda. For example: when I tour work spaces, I see sex-related (some is deviant) cartoons, posters, published jokes and the like in spaces all around our Navy - afloat and ashore. We don't even know to "take that down" when the CNO is walking the space. That is a corrosive atmosphere. Alcohol fuels most all assaults and is the "weapon of choice." Note, it is rarely two drunk kids that allowed things to get out of hand. It is, by far, mostly premeditated. This is a challenge for our time. It is undermining our readiness.

I think you get my point. Take this month to reflect and commit to resolve. We'll talk more at the NFOSES.

All the best,
We are swamped with sexual assault training and awareness. That hasn't worked; doing more of it won't work either. .

First of all; you probably need to ditch the data you are working with. What the data you are working with developed and reported by a team of criminologists and statisticians? This is a criminal issue that needs good data to understand and attack. If your surveys are being run by anyone else, then they are garbage and you need to start over.

If you have a good survey, then publish the data, both analyzed and raw, so everyone can see what you are being shown, what the variables are. The Executive Summary or PPT will not do. Heck - even liberal arts goofs like me have two semesters of graduate school statistics; we can understand it; and if you are serious about the actual problem more than agendas in Congress, then you will.

We can look at the regression analysis that show what combination of factors, both personnel and situational, produce the most potential for assault. No data sets, parameters, or questions should be "too uncomfortable" "too controversial" or put behind some politically correct cordon sanitaire. We are adults and this is serious.

Then lets look at sexual assault data from the British, Dutch and other European naval services who have had women longer, actually drink alcohol on ships, and have "mature" items in spaces that I am sure will give your women's issues advisers in OPNAV the vapors.

Posters are not the problem. Alcohol is not the problem. Training is not the problem.

Flag Officers and SES prattling on in front of a captive audience is not the solution.
UPDATE: Here is the 2010 report, thanks to my ever talented and diligent front porch underground. You need to go to ~pg 380 of the PDF to start seeing USN data. Here is a brief pull quote:
There were a total of 352 subjects in 325 sexual assault investigations initiated and completed in FY10 for the USN. Of the 352 subjects 267 (76%) were members of the USN, six percent (6%) were from other Services, five percent (5%) were civilian, and 13% were unknown.

One percent (1%) of the suspects were female, the same percentage reported in FY09. Ninety-four percent (94%) of the suspects were male, with the remainder being unknown.

Of interest are the age categories, which indicate the suspects in sexual assault investigations tend to be slightly older than victims. The largest age group was 20-24 (26%) followed by subjects between 25-34 years of age at 18%. Approximately 43%, of subjects’ ages were not reported.

The largest rank for suspects in sexual assault investigations is E-1 to E-4 at 35%, followed by E-5 to E-9 at 21%.
Could not be prosecuted - In FY10, there were 450 final dispositions for subjects accused of sexual assault. Sixty-one percent (274) of these cases could NOT be prosecuted for the following reasons: lack of jurisdiction (13), the offender was unknown (16), the allegation was unfounded meaning it was false or the allegation did not meet the elements of a sexual assault offense (44), probable cause existed only for a non-sexual assault offense (18), the subject died (0), evidence was insufficient (70) or the victim declined to cooperate with investigation and / or prosecution (113).

Initial civilian jurisdiction - In 21 of the remaining cases, civilian authorities initially assumed jurisdiction. Of these cases, 8 were either pending or the disposition was unknown at the time this report was written. NCIS files indicate that the victim declined to cooperate in 1 case. Of the remaining 12 cases in which dispositions were known, charges were filed in 8 cases or 67% of cases. Further analysis is not possible due to lack of information regarding these cases.

Presented for disposition - As a result of the foregoing, 155 of the remaining subjects were presented to commands for a disposition decision. Commanders declined action in 30 cases pursuant to RCM 306(c)(1). Of the remaining 125 subject cases, courts martial charges were preferred (initiated) against 70 subjects, non-judicial punishment was imposed on 36 subjects, 5 subjects were administratively discharged and other administrative actions were taken against 14 subjects. In other words, courts-martial charges were preferred in 46% of the cases in which any type of action was possible.
There is a lot more here to point the CNO in the right direction. Saying that your Commanding Officers and Command Master Chiefs can't find their a55 with both hands is not it.


DamnJAG said...

Just how is a CO supposed to convince the CNO that he/she "gets it"?

Jeff Anderson said...

As an instructor at an A school I watched CO'S mast where a kid caught literally with his pants down in a hotel room with underage girls was given 30/30 and got to return to school. The CO's comments in this open mast were how he embarrassed the this case I think the CO totally blew it and showed an entire schoolhouse that this behavior is acceptable.