DoD Launches New Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Department of Defense launched a new social marketing campaign today called Our Strength is for Defending. This research-based prevention strategy is designed to empower service members to intervene in situations where possible sexual assaults may occur.

“We want to capitalize on the strength of our men and women in uniform to ensure they know how to safely intervene in situations to prevent this horrible crime,” said Kaye Whitley, director, sexual assault prevention and response office.

The campaign’s informational materials and public service announcements address topics such as active bystander intervention; crime reporting: supportive behavior for victims of sexual assault; and services provided by sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates within each of the armed forces. The campaign was developed with the assistance of Men Can Stop Rape, an organization that has successfully deployed sexual assault prevention programs throughout the United States and several countries.

“Although we are rolling out this campaign during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, our goal is to continue to push hard on these messages throughout the year. Prevention requires everyone to be alert 24 hours a day. We need service members to be constantly on guard to protect their friends and co-workers, both on and off the battlefield,” said Whitley.

This will be the department’s fifth year directly participating in this important national event. Special events will be held throughout the month by all of the armed forces in an effort to promote awareness of the strategy and to highlight the department’s efforts to ensure all service members understand their role in preventing sexual assault.


Into an already-full training calendar we will most assuredly see THIS forced in. Likely at the cost of something more crucial to success on the battlefield. Certainly it won’t replace Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Equal Opportunity lectures, TQL, etc.

The terrible irony is that proper “active bystander intervention”, such as cracking the skull of said perp, will get the bystander into career-threatening trouble.

Meanwhile, the enemy, untrained at such things, will still try to kill us. Perhaps we can eventually come up with a “Battlefield Survival Awareness Month”, and “push hard on these messages throughout the year”. Perhaps.

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Policy, Training & Education

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  • Byron

    Maybe a “Navigation Awareness Month”?

  • UltimaRatioReg




  • Sam Kotlin

    Whoever posted this tripe should be banned from the blog. Sexual harassment and rape – DOD statistics just published show a continuation of the sharp rise in these crimes – detract mightily form good order and discipline. Until we treat all service people with equal dignity and fairness, we limit our mission ability. And yes, we can multi-task. And yes felonies should be prosecuted.

    Now is the time for all you macho twits to emerge from the woodwork and show just why this training is needed. C’mon boys, get out your crayolas…

  • Byron

    Which tripe would that be, “Sam”?

  • FOD Detector

    Another new low for USNI.

    Why, rape and sexual assault are just part of the “warrior ethos,” right?

  • Byron

    Before we get into another troll session, I suspect you should ask what URRs intent was. Given CDR Salamanders “Diversity Thursday” in which he highlights another Navy sponsored time and manpower waste, it’s a fair bet that this was his intent.

  • FOD Detector

    Byron: I think it high time you “sit down and shut up” for a bit. Failing that, at least attempt to think before engaging. The mindless cheerleading and pom-pom waving in the hope of being patted on the head is unbecoming.

    SK nailed it; sexual assault and rape directly diminishes our readiness. When a woman serves her country, she can expect harsh living conditions, traumatic violence and life-threatening situations. She shouldn’t have to add being raped by her fellow comrades to this list.

    Sexual assault and rape are on the increase in the military. And when you realize that, in general, 90% of all sexual assaults go unreported–you get an idea of the magnitude of the problem.

    Additionally, what of the impact when a US serviceman decides to commit an act of sexual assault against another nation’s civilian? Not a really effective way of winning hearts and minds.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Whoever posted this tripe should be banned from the blog.”

    All about free speech, as long as it’s yours, Sam?

    And FOD, warrior training is a part of warrior ethos. Discipline? Remember that part you were so dismissive of a few blogs ago? Usually works wonders on this type of problem.

    Unless we shy away from instilling discipline. And warrior ethos. But we’d never advocate that, would we?

  • FOD Detector

    URR: Hiding behind “free speech,” URR? Gosh, doesn’t that take time away from performing pull-ups?

    Seriously, USNI owns your tripe.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Yes, yes. Hiding behind my rights under the 1st Amendment. How terrible of me. I might even go to mass on Easter.

    I tremble at your mighty intellect, there, FOD. Especially the part where you extrapolate advocating rape from comments regarding the appropriateness of making a month-long dog-and-pony show out of such an issue. That is impressive.

    Though forever morally and intellectually wanting in comparison to you, I own my own tripe.

  • I’m embarassed to see this posted on the blog. Regardless of intent.


  • Byron

    Well, AMIGuy, welcome to the New Navy, where we don’t have the money to keep our ships in shape, don’t seem to do that navigation thing too well, but always seem to be able to shove this or that down our sailors throats. It’s for real. The Navy has to deal with it. It belongs here. That’s the purpose of this blog, and for Proceedings.

  • FOD Detector

    URR: Toss Byron a treat.

  • FOD, Sam, you should be ashamed of yourselves. The USNI and the USN have few enough friends as it is. Few people I’ve come across seem to care as much about the Navy as Byron.

    As to the topic at hand, no one is denying that sexual harassment and assault aren’t problems. But to pretend that a simple directive from DoD will solve the problem is asinine. Most in the chain of command will ensure they check all the appropriate boxes to fulfill this directive. But they won’t take concrete steps to prevent sexual harassment and assault.

    How many times have we seen here or elsewhere in the blogosphere the concerns of many about leadership and standards at the deckplate level? How many commands have issues where there is inappropriate fraternization going on, but it is ignored? How many skippers in the fleet don’t do anything because they don’t want to be seen as not treating female sailors with sensitivity, or not being committed to diversity?

    I suspect that Byron and URR are positing that when the Navy returns to the fundamentals of the Naval service, ie, preparing for and fighting our nation’s wars, that the leadership environment will also include a great deal of emphasis on ethics and integrity, and not in a “say the Sailor’s Creed” bullshit way.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    The real issue here is not Sexual Assault. It is the DoD way of addressing a problem that should be and has always been a COMMAND and discipline problem.

    Like other initiatives of this type, this “awareness campaign” will become a gesture; a month of awareness training, and near-paranoia in the armed forces for a while, but without true command emphasis and instilling and enforcement of discipline, that will fade.

    All at the expense of taking up valuable time and effort on the part of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have jam-packed training schedules and a couple of wars to fight.

    The fact that this is NOT viewed as a command problem and discipline problem to be handled by hammering (maybe literally!) the hell out of those who are transgressors but rather by a bunch of feel-good training to tell people what they already know in the first place (that this conduct is WRONG and if observed should be stopped).

    The “campaign” does have one advantage. It can show that someone is doing SOMETHING, regardless of how trite, meaningless, and ineffective, and despite the cost in money and training time much better used elsewhere.

    The full court press on EO training never stopped anyone from being a bigot. Nor did the drug and alcohol lectures do a hell of a lot to keep that under control. Discipline, command emphasis, unit cohesion, pride, and swift and effective punishment, not a costly and time-consuming “campaign”, is where the answer lies. Always has.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    *burma shave*

    4th para, first sentence should read “The fact is that…”

  • SeniorD

    Never did serve on a co-ed ship, although I did do some consulting on one. One thing about this issue has been the ALLNAV means by which it is addressed. What about the individual Commanding Officers having the responsibility and authority to deal with crew issues? What about the Command Master Chief dealing with recalcitrant sailors who don’t toe the line?

    The Admiralty should be sending out guidelines and let the CO and CMC address Unit policies.

  • I rarely contribute but regularly read the posts on this blog. I mainly don’t post/comment because I let those better suited and far more educated on the topics that are published do the talking.

    However, today I feel obligated to say that after reading the post by URR I was moved to express my opinion not necessarily on the context of the post but the comments given in response. While some contributed a position supported with statistics or fact, almost none of the posts are without personal attack.

    I believe there are extremely valid points on both sides of this argument and that the unspoken details missing from these comments should be the vessel for supporting or discrediting the opinion expressed by URR. I’m not qualified to know where this program should “rank” but I do know that there’s a more constructive way of getting good information out there.

    There is a unified concern here and that’s the well being of the men and women of our Armed Forces. That passion is clear and shared uniformly by everyone that’s commented on this controversial topic.

  • sid

    Sexual assault and rape are on the increase in the military. And when you realize that, in general, 90% of all sexual assaults go unreported–you get an idea of the magnitude of the problem.

    Hmm, the forced mixing of genders in a military organization is causing significant problems in maintaining good order and discipline.

    Who woulda guessed that kind of outcome

    “There is a place for women in our military, but not in combat,” he wrote. “And their presence at institutions dedicated to the preparation of men for combat command is poisoning that preparation.”

  • FOD Detector

    Well, XBradTC, if USNI keeps sanctioning garbage like this from URR, they don’t deserve any friends. It’s sad witnessing USNI’s downward spiral, thanks to folks like URR.

    But to pretend that a simple directive from DoD will solve the problem is asinine.

    Ok, let’s do away with all laws and regulations; after all, we still have servicemen breaking them, so let’s just not bother publishing ’em. Great logic there.

    Did you ever think how and why these programs came to pass? Most of them came about because one or more of the services realized they had a big problem. IOW, the old ways weren’t working.

    Hard-charging weekend warriors like URR are stuck in the fantasy world that the days of yore were so superior. That a bunch of libburals and PC-types just came in and wrecked the military. No. The fact is the good old days weren’t so good; the military realized this and took steps. And this chaps URR’s posterior because he might have to spend a weekend learning about sexual harrassment instead of playing Marine.

  • FOD Detector

    Sid: You’re raisinbg another issue altogether.

    If you don’t believe females should serve or should serve in limited roles–that’s a separate issue.

    Women do serve today. And they should not be attacked by their fellow servicemen.

  • sid

    Women do serve today. And they should not be attacked by their fellow servicemen.

    And the same problems that were around 33 years ago have only gotten worse.

  • FOD Detector

    Sid: So your answer is to prevent our servicemen from being rapists, we should forbid women from military service.

    Deep thinking there.

    URR: I’m sure you’ll be keeping in touch with your inner warrior from your couch.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “URR: I’m sure you’ll be keeping in touch with your inner warrior from your couch.”


  • sid

    Sid: So your answer is to prevent our servicemen from being rapists, we should forbid women from military service.

    Silly postulation FOD. Any chance we can discuss this like grownups?

    The problem for the past three decades…I was around to see it all start…has been the misplaced notion that the inevitable sexual tension in such a pressure cooker environment can somehow be made to go away with training.

    Hasn’t worked yet.

  • Spade

    So, uh, how did some here make the logical leap from “this training is way overdone, of dubious use, and a distraction from real training” to “boy I sure do love rape!” Because there’s enough strawmen in this thread for a 100 acre farm.

    Also, SK might this: “Sexual harassment and rape – DOD statistics just published show a continuation of the sharp rise in these crimes – detract mightily form good order and discipline” backwards?

    Does sexual harassment and rape detract from good order and discipline, or is it a symptom of a lack of good order and discipline? And if so, is it wise to focus so much time, energy and money on the symptom rather than the disease? I do remember months back an Admiral of some kind or another visited San Diego and was furious at the lack of basic military discipline he witnessed. His email went around the blogs.

    Also: FOD stop posting like a 12 year old. Amazingly enough, there is a way to disagree with people without sounding like a petulant teenager. Note my post! I just disagreed with Sam and I didn’t insult him or try to cut down his argument! And then Sam might see it and respond in kind. And thus a discussion occurs. Shocking, I know.

  • virgil xenophon

    I’m with sid all the way on this. What we have here is Lysenkoism at it’s worst. Stalin and Lysenko were going to produce the “New Soviet Man” through the marriage of ideology and superior genetics. Here we have an attempt by the Navy to ape Lysenko and Stalin by commanding biology to bend to the “progressive” ideologues of the Navy with about as much success as King Canute had with the tides. Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The Navy keeps forcing 19 yr old males and females to live and work in close quarters with no effect on their hormones–and when things don’t go right, advocates even more of the same–a truly insane concept.

  • No Ad Hominem attacks.
    FOD you have been banned for 30 days.
    The USNI Blog will press on as an open forum for respectful debate on any issue of substance.

  • Byron

    Folks, don’t think the Admin meant for everyone to dog it off; She meant for the discussion to be civilized.

    Fire away! 🙂

  • Sam Kotlin

    Have seen no one comment on the direct impact on crew performance and mission readiness of the judicial proceedings attending charges of rape or sexual harassment. As with drug busts and gay witchhunts, a ship’s crew is polarized and traumatized by all the formality and proceedings, the wardroom is bogged down, and the command leadership is focused on something that never should have happened in the first place.

    The phrase ‘good order and discipline’ takes on real meaning during times of major investigations and trials, in these cases all because someone in the crew lost respect for a shipmate.

    These incidents are toxic to readiness. A smart Navy does all it can to prevent them. To argue otherwise is to misunderstand the meaning of leadership.

  • sid
  • Fouled Anchor

    Like most all things bad in the military, it’s a matter of leadership, and I believe rarely does a “program” fix a situation. Things get fixed by concerned, smart, focused leaders. Or, as URR wrote: “Discipline, command emphasis, unit cohesion, pride, and swift and effective punishment, not a costly and time-consuming “campaign”, is where the answer lies.”

    I took URR’s posting in what I believe was the manner intended: to point out that we spend an awful amount of time on non-combat related training, and very possibly at the expensive of combat related training. I think a review of the bootcamp curriculum and General Military Training schedule would bear that out. We pounded the red, yellow, and green lights of sexual harassment into Sailors heads until it became a joke.

    Our Navy is better than one that has high numbers, or a high ration, of sexual assaults. But I would also suggest that the rise in reported sexual assaults in the Navy has at least as much to do with the success of our programs than it does with an actual increase in crimes. I would hazard a bet that the 90% unreported figure is more accurate in the civilian world because existing Navy programs offer a higher degree of confidence and confidentiality. At least I hope that is the case.

  • Thanks for the injection of a bit of civility, Spade. And Virgil, women in the service are here to stay. Like it or not, there you go. The question becomes, how do we get the best results for the Navy (and my own concern, the Army) in an integrated force. Some level of command interest in the subject of sexual harassment and assault is obviously needed. But URRs take that this is ultimately more about being seen to do something, rather than doing something has the ring of truth to it.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    It seems to me that this post is attempting to point out a misalignment in training priorities for the Department of Defense. That is certainly a valid topic for discussion, but I am left to wonder why this particular program was singled out as the example of our “misplaced” priorities.

    If I read the announcement correctly, this will be a social marketing campaign, but I do not necessarily see any additional training requirements associated with the program’s execution. It appears to be largely a passive information campaign with some “voluntary” events that will be attended on a not to interfere with the mission basis. Perhaps DoD will post some of these informational materials on their websites, tri-folds will be available, posters will be put up, emails or messages will be sent, or there might be an announcement or two on AFN. While these activities will take a fairly limited number of resources to execute, I really do fail to see that this is as big of an issue as the tone of the post implies.

    It really is a question of where do you draw the line between wasted effort and real requirements. One thought that pops to mind is that there may be a positive recruiting aspect to a campaign of this nature. As a disciplined organization, DoD must not be even perceived (by the greater public) as not ACTIVELY combating crimes of this nature. In recruiting, as in COIN, perceptions matter, and an information op of this nature is one way of managing broader perceptions.

    I think we can all agree that ACTIVE intervention in sexual assault situations (either by preventing the occurrence or by harshly disciplining the perpetrators while rehabilitating the victims) is one of our roles as “the sheep dogs” who have been given the honor of defending this country and the ideals that it represents.


    B. Walthrop

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Sorry for the double post, but the idea of having a Battlefield Survival Awareness Month seems like a great idea. Celebrating the survivors of our profession while honoring those that have sacrificed (Memorial Day) is a fantastic idea. Corpsman Up! Calling positive attention down on the position of the Death Cheaters seems like a good idea.


    B. Walthrop

  • Byron

    Sid, you owe Admin for an new keyboard and monitor! 🙂

  • UltimaRatioReg


    “but I do not necessarily see any additional training requirements associated with the program’s execution. It appears to be largely a passive information campaign with some “voluntary” events that will be attended on a not to interfere with the mission basis.”

    If it were so, we wouldn’t have an issue with “programs”. But it rarely happens that way. There will be mandatory lectures and formations and the like, and the “not to interfere with the mission” part will be a bit of a laugh.

    Sam’s point regarding the effects of such events (attacks) have on discipline is true, but my point, and that of others, is that this is the LAST method many would choose to solve the problem. It is fluff. Show.

    And the cost of engaging civilian advocacy groups to deal with something the DoD should police is two-fold. It is monetary, and it is cultural. Almost inevitably, there will be recommendations that cooler heads would recognize as inappropriate for the Armed Forces, but we will adopt them anyway. And the down-range impact will be greater and more negative than anticipated.

  • Sam Kotlin

    Look, the problem’s serious! It’s hard to find any attempt to fix it wrong. Just fix it. This ankle-biting about the efficacy of big programs to solve big problems is out of place.

    I stand by my comment made privately to some involved in running this blog: the original poster’s comments in the original posting are unworthy of the Naval Institute. AMIGuy said the same thing. An organization founded on editorial excellence needs to find some in its selection of posters.

  • virgil xenophon

    Well yes, women are here to stay–I guess. But I still say that everyone is whistling past the grave-yard trying to square the circle of human biology and hormones on this one. Those who would “program” the requisite sexual discipline are swimming against the tide of 5,000+ yrs of genetically driven evolutionary biology. And good luck with that…..

  • SK, no one is arguing that sexual harassment and assault aren’t serious problems. But if it is such a problem, why is the answer another program that consists either of sitting in a classroom or putting up posters?

    Where is the guidance to COs and CMCs that they will be held accountable for the performance of their commands? For an author to raise this issue ties directly to the issue of leadership and accountability in the service, which are core areas of concern to USNI. If you think you have a better take on it, write your own post and ask admin to guest post it.

  • Sam Kotlin

    After the race riots in the mid-’70s, the Navy embarked on a program called UPWARD – Understanding Personal Worth And Racial Dignity. It seemed similarly sappy. But it worked, exposing hidden beliefs and surprising individuals who thought they were above prejudice. UPWARD marked the turning point in a long and not-honorable history of racial prejudice in my Navy. And it trained the trainers. It leaned on the leadership. It put the COs and CMCs on notice that they set the standards and the standards had changed.

    I’ve no argument with pushing COs and CMCs to do their job, but I share Ernie King’s distaste for what he called ‘orders to follow orders.’ If exhortation alone could bring a real solution, there’d be no need for more. It hasn’t, the need is there, and sniping at a positive effort to see to mission effectiveness is out of place in a forum hosted by the Naval Institute.

  • sid

    XBrad, I understand that women will continue to serve in the military…And that the ban on combat jobs is effectively dead.

    The vast majority serve honorably…and unmolested.

    Given that fait accompli, Virgil’s point is correct. Quit trying to believe any kind of “new” management technique will erase the occasional kerfluffles -and continual low grade sexual tension- that will surely occur when placing men and women together in such close, often hyper-charged environments.

    Check out that link to Mary Read above. Even in the most egalitarian of shipboard social models…that of the Caribbean Pirates…women aboard constituted an inherently disruptive influence.

    My observations suggest this is most often NOT the fault of the women, as much as it is in the way men have a propensity to act when in the presence of them.

    After witnessing the biggest fight I ever saw at the Gitmo EM club…All sparked because a guy off the Puget Sound felt spurned by a comely shipmate..I came up with this phrase:

    Testosterone. The World’s Most Dangerous Drug.

  • virgil xenophon

    You know, further reflection on this topic draws me back to the ’72 Olympics. It was during the weightlifting that a Bulgarian, Romanian–whatever, was going for a new Olympic record in the clean and jerk. Now, anyone who has done any kind of heavy lifting at all knows how ABSOLUTELY VITAL
    CONCENTRATION IS to the successful effort. And that the LAST THING IN THE WORLD one needs at the critical moment when one is trying to marshal all one’s physical and mental energy to complete the lift is an outside distraction of any kind–let alone a physical one that can affect one’s actual balance, let alone mental concentration.

    Well, this guy gets the weight to his shoulders and, as he’s standing there, marshaling his energy and positioning himself for the final part of the lift, his hair falls down over his eyes and the guy LOOKS UP, and TRIES TO BLOW IT OUT OF HIS EYES! Talk about a distraction! One that affected not only his mental concentration but his physical stance as well–as even the slightest head movement will do at crucial moments like that under all that weight. My point? This guy HAD TO KNOW IN ADVANCE that his hair might do that–indeed probably had many times before in training. SO, the question arises:
    With a life-time of effort and training, personal deprevation, etc., and an Olympic Gold Medal and a life-time’s worth of dreams on the line, why oh why would the guy allow something that he KNEW IN ADVANCE would be a NEEDLESS and potentially HARMFUL distraction to exist? Why didn’t he get a burr haircut and TOTALLY ELIMINATE the possibility of negative consequences and possible “mission failure” by dragging his long hait to the Olympics with him? (And FAIL HE DID!)

    Moral? Why do the Armed Services, KNOWING IN ADVANCE the problems that mixing of the sexes in close quarters bring, create a SELF-INFLICTED WOUND by introducing into the mix conditions absolutely known IN ADVANCE to absolutely guarantee that dysfunctional conditions will arise as a consequence thereof? What sort of irrational, spineless, suicidal death-wish do the PC “Big Kids” have?

  • P.M. Leenhouts CAPT USN (Ret)

    Like it or not, we’re coed. That’s not going to change. Arguments that we should reject half of the potential Sailors from our population because they’re of the wrong sex are puerile.

    Sexual harassment, assault and rape in our ships and commands detract from combat readiness. (So do false accusations, but that’s another issue.)

    Fundamentally, CO’s are responsible for their commands. If they’re not producing what Navy and the Combatant Commanders want, then they should be relieved. There is a large pool of qualified candidates who will step up to the plate.

    We’re arguing about an important subject without the benefit of any metrics at all.

    Navy could post the numbers instead of restricting the numbers of verified (not reported) harassment/assault/rape cases by ship or command. Perhaps this is available somewhere.

    It would be interesting to see what the ships “doing it right” are actually doing. That is, what is “USS ship/Command A” doing that USS Ship/Command B” is NOT doing.

    Every CO, Master Chief and Sailor out there wants to serve in the top ships/commands whehter they actually come right out and say it or not. They don’t want to serve in the losers, and they don’t want to serve with losers.

    As Napolean is reputed to have said, “there are no bad soldiers, just bad generals” – and – the old canard – “fish rot from the head.”

    It is the Commanding Officers problem to get this, and every other thing related to their command, right. Get it right and the command will thrive. Get it wrong, and the command will eventually fail. (No, there aren’t enough hours in the day for every.little.thing. This isn’t one of them).

  • Virgil, sure there was some PC pressure to admit women to the service, but the real drivers in the 70s and 80s was demographics and the propensity to serve. There just weren’t (and aren’t) enough qualified men with a willingness to serve to fill all the slots we have. Every time I find myself doubting the wisdom of the Navy’s “smart manning” proposals, I remind myself that in large part is isn’t just about cutting the budgets, but finding people to man ships at all.

    Not to keep flogging a dead horse but if the Navy and DoD were taking the issue at hand as seriously as the UPWARD program took racial tensions, we’d see more than this current program. I’ll repeat myself: this program is more about being seen to do something, than about doing something.

  • sid

    Virgil, sure there was some PC pressure to admit women to the service, but the real drivers in the 70s and 80s was demographics and the propensity to serve.

    Xbrad, that was the rhetoric; it was not the reality.

  • sid, let me modify the statement:but the real drivers in the 70s and 80s was demographics and the propensity to serve with the pay and benefits available at the time.

    Unlike Navy recruiters, as an Army recruiter, I had no quotas to achieve in terms of ethnicity or gender, but we still spent a lot of time looking at the available slice of the population. There just was no way to make the numbers without a certain percentage of the force being women. Admittedly, this was in the late 90s, but every USAREC study I saw showed the same trends. Basically what I’m saying was it was easier to open slots to women, than it was to increase pay and benefits enough to attract sufficient numbers of men.

  • sid

    I remind myself that in large part is isn’t just about cutting the budgets, but finding people to man ships at all.

    Women in the military was very certainly a forced social issue couched in economic terms.

    “Optimal” manning is very certainly about economics and not about demographics.

    How many served in uniform during WWII?

    Something like 12 million men?

    The US population in 1944 was ~138.4 million.

    Today it is ~304 million.

  • virgil xenophon

    I going to save everyone all the trouble and answer my own question. The sad, pathetic truth is that the big kids–NOT IRRATIONALLY–greatly fear that the PC feministas in Congress, and their “progressive” male followers on the left–no friends of the military they–would only too willingly kill off a key wpns system out of spite and pique–defense needs be damned– were their demands for “equality” in the service branches not met. And while various estimates have been introduced which suggest that the fighting effectiveness of the armed forces is reduced anywhere from 5-20% by the presence of women, this is seen as a small price to pay, as this means we are only about 180% better than our major competitors rather than 200%. But if a key wpns system is killed–there might go our entire technological edge and we would be back on no more than an equal footing at best with our enemies. THIS is what the big kids fear–and why they will put up with all sorts of illogical nonsense in this regard.
    Very simply–they are afraid of the women.

  • Sam Kotlin

    So unsurprising to see misogynism still rampant among military men. Does anyone wonder why there’s a problem?

  • Sam K, misogyny is still rampant among the culture of our youth. As the service is in many ways representative of our society, is it any surprise?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “I stand by my comment made privately to some involved in running this blog: the original poster’s comments in the original posting are unworthy of the Naval Institute. AMIGuy said the same thing. An organization founded on editorial excellence needs to find some in its selection of posters.”

    Sam, seems you are entitled to your opinion. It might be refreshing if others were entitled to theirs. And not just yours.

    If the problem is serious, let the solution be serious. If this kind of “command to command” thing was uncommon, it would not be a problem. But it would seem that every time one turns around, there is a new and rather extensive training “requirement” that eats time and resources.

    I spent my time as a S-3 and as an XO. The amount of time and energy we had to devote to the issue or program du jour took a BIG bite of training time and opportunity. And the emphasis that those programs got was greatly outsized. If one was compliant with all of the mandatory training that these programs required, one was a part of a “good” unit, regardless of mastery of combat skills. And Heaven forbid, if a unit was NOT in compliance, one was “bad” indeed, irrespective of the same combat mastery.

    Emotion, posturing, personal attacks, and emotional appeals to the gravity of the wrong issue aside, I consider the above matter worth writing about. Seems others do too. The very issue has been addressed obliquely on many occasions here.

    The issue, CAPT Leenhuis, is NOT sexual assault. It is a wasteful and ineffective “corporate” knee-jerk solution to the problem that, as one above has said, spends an inordinate amount of time (yet again) treating the symptom and not the disease.

  • Sam Kotlin

    Outta here… Again. Bye, Mary.

  • Byron

    My two cents: Easiest way to solve the problem is to come down HARD on anyone, male or female, that breaks the rules. And by hard, I mean BCD, complete loss of benefits, imprisonment, the maximum allowed under UCMJ. You keep telling the children no, and then just tap them on the wrist, they won’t believe you. You put them over your knee and whale the living daylights out of them, they’ll believe for sure.

    And yes, we agree that lack of proper relations between the sexes (and assault is the extreme) is a bad thing. What is being discussed is whether or not sending a blast of gas from the Pentagon is the way to make it go away. And women in the military? Here to stay. Work it out. You’re adults, time to get over it.

  • virgil xenophon

    On another analytical level there is a parallel her between the undue emphasis on the corrective programs UltmaRatioReg bemoans and military inspections in general. In the year 1969, for just one remembered example, the USAF TFW I was attached to had no less than 26 major Inspections of all kinds in one year–which saw, for example, the AEC brief out of their inspection of our nuke storage facility IN THE MIDDLE OF our ORI! At some point, one has to attend to un-interrupted periods of tng segments in order to learn and achieve competency in the basics of the mission. A parallel is the philosophical divide in education as between constant testing versus spending time on the subject matter being tested to death. Obviously some Aristotelian “Golden Mean” should ideally be achieved, but I think the article and many voices here believe the tail to be wagging the dog.

  • P.M. Leenhouts CAPT USN (Ret)

    URR: “The issue, CAPT Leenhuis, is NOT sexual assault.”

    Yes, the issue IS all about sexual assault. Talk about missing the forest for the trees. The programs are devised to stop it. SOME commands have not stopped it – you can bet OPNAV has the numbers. So – instead of “commanders commanding”, the Pentagon is taking it on because Congress (and Navy) don’t like the publicity and it is easily seen that it is injurious to good order, morale and, most importantly, combat readiness. Solve the problem and a good argument could be made for letting the program(s) dry up and blow away.

    Byron’ comment (“Easiest way to solve the problem is to come down HARD on anyone…)” is on target as regards the punitive side of the equation. (My only disagreement is to point out that we are most emphatically not dealing with children, but with Sailors who volunteered for the Service). No “wink wink nod nod”, no “boys will be boys”, no “girls gone wild”. Treat our Officers and Sailors like adults and ashore and afloat.

  • Byron

    Captain, I never said they were children. My point is that when they find a situation where authority is not coupled with retribution, that much like small children, they will continue to stretch the envelope of correct behavior. I’ve been a supervisor in many different situations, and I’ve seen this same behavior so many times it isn’t funny. You let people know what’s expected of them, what’s acceptable and what’s not, and you prove to them what the consequences are when those boundries are broken.

    Think “iron fist inside velvet glove”.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Talk about missing the forest for the trees.”

    Exactly. The forest is combat readiness. Such programs as being outlined in my post are expensive, time consuming, and style over substance.

    Issues such as drug use, DUI, and gang activity also detract from said readiness. Programs like we have above did very little in the past to influence any of those transgressions, and were a drain on valuable training time to tell Marines and Sailors things they already knew to begin with.

    All of the problems I just noted were prevalent in Southern California in the late 1980s. But for all of the CDACC presentations and mandatory formations, we often did not follow through with the punishment that Byron recommends.

    We kept guys with two or three drug pops. We didn’t want to, but got them jammed down our throats. We didn’t prosecute some for gang activity, sometimes because of being perceived as not being “diverse”, other times because we weren’t somehow serious about the problem. DUI/DWI remained an issue, probably still does.

    These matters are NOT solved with high-profile look-what-I’m-doing “programs”, but with leadership. Inspect what you expect. Make your folks toe the line.

    But do not continue to waste their time and training opportunities on stuff like this. As I said above. Serious problem. Be SERIOUS about solving it. This ain’t it. A good recipe for ANY problem, not just this one.

  • b2


    I never heard you use a $5 word like “puerile” on the platform. “502 you’re going puerile, add power”. LOL. Always wanted to know: how in hell were you able to take them inverted pics while flying single seat? 😉

    I understand the meaning of the post by Ratio- another “process- feel good- mandate” that takes away from warfighting.

    I understand the angst from VX/Sid other dino’s like ourselves who look back to the fundamental question “why are we co-ed in the first place?”. Even though we all know THAT issue is the status quo and will never go away. We have to face up to it.

    Somebody up above mentioned it was a “felony”. I am sure sexual assault is covered by the UCMJ, right? Why not just reinforce existing training on the UCMJ. Read the Navy Times- there is a wide range of offenses published week to week ..Murder, conspiracy, treason, theft, sexual assault and even poaching by them poor Ensigns who shot up some birds. Context- Why should this criminal act get a a higher priority than the others?

    What I don’t understand is the in-you-face of a “Fod detector” whose modus operandi reminds me of one particular character out of the book “Animal Farm”.

    First post of Byron way up above says it all about “nav training”- I’d only add- give our pilots more flight time, too.


  • PK

    this is a long argument and one that i believe that will not end possibly in this century.

    the major problem is that the male side of the house deep down sees the female side of the house as erratic or unpredictable.

    a long long time ago the good ship Norton Sound was told that they would get a draft of weomen to serve aboard. lots of screaming and shouting (the old boat lived in Port Hueneme and tested various weapons and electronics platforms, never got more thatn 40 feet from home pier) scuttlebut was that the skipper was the guy that got the short straw as no one wanted the ship once the announcement was made.

    well the new guy basically fortified the weomens quarters. he installed a lady commander as the keeper of the keys…. held training sessions the whole nine yards.

    after a while the whole thing blew up in his face. (we could see the purple glow from backscatter radiation from the los angeles area.)

    turned out that about half the weomen on the ship were pregnent and the other half were thinking about it.

    word was that he could fortify the place but couldn’t keep the delicate little hands from opening the hatch from inside on the midwatch.

    it made a national scandle for about three weeks.

    years later the congressweomen that forced the whole thing on them got married and had a total change in attitude.

    institutional Navy depends on very conservative attitudes and conduct to enforce discipline and duty. people work to a given set of standards for careers and lifetimes to accomplish certain tasks and concepts.

    then along comes a group that has considerable political horsepower and tells them to do things on the order of painting the hull pink because grey is “depressing”.

    and they’e not even allowed to scream.

    many outsiders don’t even approach understanding this concept and make equally stupid criticisms of it.


  • virgil xenophon

    Yes, you’re right, b2, it appears co-ed IS here to stay, but so are the problems that it engenders, despite the increasingly stringent and authoritarian measures used to try and reverse the effects of biology. It seems not to have dawned upon the upper echelons of the command structure that what they have enjoined in their attempt to master genetics and biology is a sisyphusian task that will never end, nor be resolved to the “satisfaction” of the powers that be. And, given that fact, the rising frustration levels that this state of affairs invariably engenders inevitably leads only to successive rolling witch hunts, repressive measures and the damaging/ending of careers of otherwise innocent, good commanders unfortunate enough to be present (or even in the vicinity) when “bad” things happen (think Tailhook.)

    Over time, the increasing politicization of the force in an attempt to shape it to the Politically Correct mold/template desired warps and distorts the force like a metastasizing cancer until those PC elements seen as “ploblem” areas become an end in themselves. In effect, the “socialization” of the force becomes THE mission, not combat readiness, no matter how much lip service is paid to the combat role.

    We used to joke about the Soviets with a political officer in every unit who was the co-commander, and the extent to which “political” decisions trumped military ones even at the small unit level. Look around, even today we have duplicated their system informally, if not formally. Careers are ruined if the requisite quota of minorities are not promoted etc. An extensive informal–and mucho denied–“back-channel” system of “jungle-telegraph” tom toms has arisen surely as extensive and as powerful as the more formal system of political control of the old Soviet system. At least the Soviets had the intellectual honesty rooted in a firm belief that their system was better that they were unafraid to formalize it in the full light of day.

    So now we have “shadow” command structure of informal controls which is rapidly morphing into an out-in-the-open formal one which makes no pretense of hiding it’s goals–and is determined to force
    it’s “needed” changes in the obvious belief that if only the right combination/mix of command emphasis is applied, the problem of human pheromones will be “solved” once and for all. Sisyphus would be proud.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “The phrase ‘good order and discipline’ takes on real meaning during times of major investigations and trials, in these cases all because someone in the crew lost respect for a shipmate.”

    That’s nonsense. Good order and discipline takes on real meaning in the furnace of combat. The fact that someone could seriously think otherwise shows how far from course we have drifted.

  • UltimateRatioReg;

    I can’t believe the USNI allowed you to post this blog with your title. You’re focus of the topic through a framework of “combat” is acceptable to many, but not to me. Obviously you have no one in your life that has been raped.

    I won’t be visiting this USNI blog again.

    Guy Stitt.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Mr Stitt,

    Don’t assume anything.

    This topic, not sexual assault, but knee-jerk, time-consuming, and ineffective training that takes away from training in vital combat tasks, is and should be a topic for discussion. And this blog, and DoD in general, should be ready to address such.

    You are free to visit or not visit whichever blogs you choose. But to take offense at why I and many others consider not just a legitimate but vitally important issue regarding drains on precious training time is disappointing. Nowhere have I or anyone else said that sexual assault is not a terribly important issue. In fact, many times it has been stated quite the contrary. That might have escaped your notice.

    But you will interpret as you care to, and if emotion based on that interpretation replaces logic, this exchange will become unproductive and degenerate into personal attacks and insults.