The annual DoD authorization bill being drafted in the House would require a GAO report, to be submitted by next March, on the department’s sexual assault and harassment prevention and response programs for civilian employees.
“The committee is concerned about sexual harassment and assault prevention and response procedures within the civilian workforce of the Department of Defense. The committee notes that civilian employees report harassment and assault at higher rates than their uniformed counterparts, and in some instances express dissatisfaction with their management’s handling of these complaints,” according to a summary from the Armed Services Committee.
The report would have to include information such as the utilization rate of the sexual assault services by civilian employees; an assessment of the quality and timing of preventive training; the staffing level of the prevention and response systems, Department of Defense counselors, victim advocates, and special victims counsels for civilian employee sexual assault victims; and a comparison of the resources to those available for military personnel.
Sexual harassment and assault has drawn significant attention on the military side of DoD in recent years. Most of the attention regarding federal employees has come from the MSPB, which recently reported that while almost all federal employees know the policies against it, agencies “still have work to do to put policy into practice.”