This year, the Defense Department Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) turned the polling over to the Rand Corp. It has made big changes in the way the Pentagon previously tried to capture the percentage of women who are victims of sexual assault, also defined as unwanted sexual contact.
In 2012, the last time the Pentagon itself did the questioning, it created a pool of only 108,000 service members to receive emails that provided coded access to the online survey.
Rand expanded the pool, first by asking every active-duty servicewoman — about 200,000 — to take the anonymous survey. And it is asking more than 300,000 men as well, plus troops in the reserve forces.
Much is a stake for the 1.4 million active force. The survey’s biennial release triggers blanket news media coverage. And the numbers set off an uproar from some lawmakers who deride the military culture and upbraid the top brass.