oversight

Gender Issues: Perceptions of Readiness of Selected Units

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-05-13.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                   United States General Accounting Office

GAO                Report to the Ranking Minority Member,
                   Subcommittee on Readiness and
                   Management Support, Committee on
                   Armed Services, U.S. Senate

May 1999
                   GENDER ISSUES

                   Perceptions of
                   Readiness in Selected
                   Units




GAO/NSIAD-99-120
      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548                                                                                   Leter




      National Security and
      International Affairs Division

      B-282402                                                                                       Letter

      May 13, 1999

      The Honorable Charles S. Robb
      Ranking Minority Member
      Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
      Committee on Armed Services
      United States Senate

      Dear Senator Robb:

      Opportunities for women in the military have increased in the last several
      decades. About 14 percent of the total force is women.1 In 1993 and 1994,
      significant legislative and policy changes were made that allowed women
      to serve in many combat-oriented positions previously closed to them.2
      Following these changes, the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps opened
      over 550 additional units to women. More than 13,000 women have joined
      these units.3 Among the units that have opened to women are Army smoke
      and chemical companies, forward support battalions, air defense artillery
      headquarters’ units, military police units, and engineer companies; Navy
      combat ships, including aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships; and
      Marine Corps air wings and many of its units that deploy on ships.

      As you know, readiness is an extremely difficult concept to measure
      because of the many factors that impact it. Generally, these factors are
      categorized into three types: training, equipment, and personnel and GAO
      has done work in all three areas. As you requested, this report focuses on
      personnel, specifically, on the perceptions of men and women on their
      personal readiness, the readiness of men and women in their unit, and unit
      readiness (defined as the unit’s ability to undertake its wartime mission).
      You also asked us to identify issues that servicemembers believe the
      services need to consider as more women join the military. Last, you asked
      us to review other studies of gender issues to determine whether the
      perceptions we gathered were similar.




      1
        The percentages of women vary among the active services. As of September 30, 1998, about 6 percent
      of the Marine Corps, 13 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army, and 18 percent of the Air Force
      were women.

      2Gender Issues: Information on DOD’s Assignment Policy and Direct Ground Combat Definition
      (GAO/NSIAD-99-7, Oct. 19, 1998).

      3
        For this report, the term unit is used in a generic sense. For example, an Army unit opened to women
      could be a forward support battalion, whereas for the Navy, a combat ship could represent a unit.



      Page 1                                                          GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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                      Our review included selected units in the Army, the Navy and the Marine
                      Corps that have opened to women since 1993. We did not include the Air
                      Force in our review because most Air Force units have been open to
                      women since the late 1980s. To determine servicemembers’ perceptions,
                      we administered surveys to 378 men and 351 women in 40 units.4 To
                      supplement the survey results and obtain a more complete picture of
                      readiness issues, we conducted 75 discussion groups with over 500 of the
                      men and women that had participated in the survey. We also interviewed
                      unit commanders or their representatives from most of the units we visited.

                      Because we did not randomly select the units or respondents, our survey
                      and discussion group results reflect the perceptions of the personnel we
                      surveyed and are not projectable to the larger population. Our scope and
                      methodology are discussed in appendix I. Appendix II contains the
                      complete results of our survey and appendix III includes a list of the units
                      we visited.



Results in Brief      The majority of men and women that we surveyed about their personal
                      readiness said they were well or very well prepared to perform their
                      wartime jobs considering their training and their physical and mental
                      preparedness. Table 1 summarizes these perceptions.



                      Table 1: Survey Respondents That Reported They Were Well or Very Well Prepared
                      to Perform Their Wartime Missions
                                                                                        Physical                Mental
                                                                 Training          preparedness          preparedness
                      Gender                                    (percent)              (percent)             (percent)
                      Men                                               77                          90             81
                      Women                                             63                          72             67
                      Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


                      In addition, over 70 percent of men and women said they could deploy on
                      short notice with no problems or only minor problems.

                      We also asked servicemembers about their perceptions regarding the
                      readiness of men and women in their units. Our questions dealt with

                      4
                          There were at least 7,000 men and 1,400 women in the units we surveyed.




              Leter   Page 2                                                           GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
B-282402




training and job performance, willingness and availability to deploy, and
physical preparedness to deploy. Men and women agreed that they were
trained equally to complete their wartime missions and would perform
their wartime jobs equally well. Generally, men believed that they were
more physically prepared and were more willing to deploy. Women
believed that men and women were equally prepared physically and equally
willing to deploy. Since these units had only recently opened to women, we
also asked about the impact women have had on the readiness of their unit.
Although men tended to view the impact of women on unit readiness less
positively than women, more than half the men indicated that women
affect readiness either no differently from men or in a positive way
(see fig. 1).



Figure 1: Perceived Impact of Women on Unit Readiness

60   Percent

                                      53

50                           47

                                               43


40




30
                     27


                                                     20
20



             10
10




 0
         Positive or      No differently   Negative or
         very positive    than men         very negative

               Men

               Women

Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


We also asked men and women to tell us which factors affect readiness
positively and negatively. Men and women agreed on the top three positive
factors and the top three negative factors. According to the men and



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women we surveyed, training at the unit level, command leadership, and
necessary equipment were the three positive impacts on readiness. Survey
respondents cited the number of personnel, condition of equipment, and
funding as the top three negative impacts.

Finally, both men and women perceived their units to be ready to perform
their wartime missions. For example, 86 percent of the men and 80 percent
of the women surveyed were moderately or very confident about their
units’ ability to perform their wartime missions effectively.

Gender stereotyping was an issue frequently raised during our discussion
groups with women. They spoke about negative stereotyping regarding
pregnancy, physical strength, and job performance. Women also said that
they believed that they need to prove themselves repeatedly. In other
discussion groups, men frequently mentioned the issue of preferential
treatment for women.

Servicemembers—both men and women—said in our discussion groups
that managing the impact of pregnancies on individual units was the
primary gender-related issue the services needed to address. At the unit
level, the impact of pregnancies on readiness depends on the concentration
of women in a unit, the criticality of their jobs, the unit’s ability to find
replacements, and whether the unit was undermanned. Service personnel
said that the impact of unplanned losses, even in critical positions, would
not affect them as much if they were fully manned to begin with or if the
services would replace those that were lost.

The perceptions from our survey and discussion groups are similar to the
views expressed by servicemembers in other studies of gender issues. For
example, during a study of readiness, RAND 5 asked male and female
respondents to rate the readiness of their units for a combat mission as
high, medium, or low. Over 80 percent of men and women rated their
readiness as medium or high. Discussion group themes were similar as
well. In 1997, men told members of an Army panel studying sexual
harassment that they feared being falsely accused of sexual harassment
and that they believed women received preferential treatment, particularly
in the areas of fitness standards and pregnancy. Women told the same panel



5
 Margaret C. Harrell and Laura L. Miller, New Opportunities for Military Women, Effects Upon
Readiness, Cohesion, and Morale (Washington, D.C.: RAND, 1997). Like our survey, the results of this
study are not projectable.




Page 4                                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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                           that they believed they were treated differently because of their gender and
                           they were often stereotyped based on the actions of a few women,
                           particularly on the issue of pregnancy.



Perceptions on             Our survey on the perceptions of readiness of units opened to women since
                           1993 showed that both men and women had a positive view of their own
Readiness Generally        readiness. Furthermore, most men and women agreed that women either
Positive                   affected readiness no differently from men or affected readiness positively
                           or very positively. In addition, despite concerns about equipment and
                           personnel levels, men and women were confident in their units’ ability to
                           complete their wartime missions.


Both Men and Women         We asked respondents for their perceptions of their personal readiness in
Reported Positively on     terms of their training, physical, and mental preparedness, and ability to
                           deploy on short notice. We found that the majority of both men and women
Their Personal Readiness
                           viewed their personal readiness positively in all areas, and indicated they
                           could deploy on short notice with no or few problems.

                           Regarding training they had received, 77 percent of the men and 63 percent
                           of the women we surveyed said that they were either well prepared or very
                           well prepared to perform their wartime jobs. These percentages are close
                           to male and female responses to a similar question in the 1995 Department
                           of Defense (DOD) Status of Armed Forces Surveys.6 In those surveys,
                           86 percent of men and 70 percent of women responded that, when
                           considering their training and experience, they were well prepared or very
                           well prepared to perform their wartime missions.

                           When asked how prepared they were physically to perform their wartime
                           job, 90 percent of male respondents and 72 percent of female respondents
                           reported that they were well prepared or very well prepared. These results
                           were also similar to the results of a question in the DOD survey. In DOD’s
                           survey, 88 percent of men and 77 percent of women said that they were
                           physically well prepared or very well prepared to perform their wartime
                           missions.


                           6
                             Status of Armed Forces Surveys, 1995 Form B—Gender Issues, Defense Manpower Data Center. This
                           survey was administered to a non-proportional stratified random sample of active duty personnel with
                           at least 6 months of service. We have factored out the responses attributable to Air Force and Coast
                           Guard personnel to make the DOD data we cite comparable to the population we surveyed.




                           Page 5                                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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Our survey also revealed that most of the men and women we surveyed
believed that they were mentally prepared to perform their wartime jobs.
More than 80 percent of the male respondents and 67 percent of the female
respondents said they were well prepared or very well prepared. The
results from our questions on training, physical, and mental preparedness
are shown in figure 2.



Figure 2: Perceptions of Personal Readiness to Perform Wartime Missions
100   Percent
                                90
 90
                                                    81
 80          77
                                      72
                                                          67
 70
                      63

 60


 50


 40


 30


 20


 10


  0

          Training          Physical            Mental
                            Preparedness        Preparedness
                Men
                Women

Note: Figure depicts the percent of those who said that they were well prepared or very well prepared.
Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


Men and women responded similarly when asked about their personal
ability to deploy on short notice (see fig. 3). Specifically, 75 percent of the
male respondents and 71 percent of the female respondents answered that
they could deploy with no problems or minor problems. Moreover,
20 percent of the men and 23 percent of the women reported they would
have moderate problems. Only 5 percent of men and women indicated they
would have major problems deploying or problems so large they would not
be able to deploy.




Page 6                                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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                       Figure 3: Perceptions of Personal Ability to Deploy on Short Notice
                       Percent
                       80
                                    75
                                           71

                       70



                       60



                       50



                       40



                       30
                                                           23
                                                  20
                       20



                       10
                                                                      5   5


                        0
                                 No Problems    Moderate         Major Problems or
                                 or Minor       Problems         Problems that Would
                                 Problems                        Prevent Me from
                                                                 Deploying
                                     Men

                                     Women

                       Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.




Servicemembers’        We asked men and women about several components of readiness.
Perceptions of the     Specifically, we asked them whom they perceived was (1) more physically
                       prepared to complete their mission, (2) more willing to deploy, and
Readiness of Men and
                       (3) better trained to complete their missions. Men and women in our survey
Women in Their Units   responded differently. The majority of the men we surveyed believed men
                       were better physically prepared to complete their missions and more
                       willing to deploy than women. A majority of the men thought that men and
                       women were trained equally to complete their current mission and would
                       perform their wartime jobs equally well. The majority of the women we
                       surveyed believed that men and women were equally prepared physically
                       to complete their mission. A majority of the women also believed that they
                       were as willing to deploy as men, were as well trained as men, and would
                       perform their wartime jobs as well as men. Figures 4, 5, 6, and 7 compare
                       the views of men and women we surveyed.




                       Page 7                                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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Figure 4: Perceptions of Relative Physical Preparation to Complete Current
Missions

80   Percent
               72

70                                 66



60



50



40
                     33
                            29
30



20



10

                                                    1
                                                0
 0
         Men More         Men and Women      Women More
         Prepared         Equally Prepared   Prepared

               Men

                Women



Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.




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Figure 5: Perceptions of Relative Willingness to Deploy
80   Percent


70                                  67



60
               54


50                            46


40

                     31
30



20



10

                                                        2
                                                 0
 0
         Men More          Men and Women       Women More
         Willing           Equally Willing     Willing

               Men

                Women

Note: Does not include those surveys with responses “do not know” or “never deployed.”
Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.




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Figure 6: Perceptions of Relative Degree of Training to Complete Current Missions
100   Percent

                                   87
 90


 80


 70                          66


 60


 50


 40
                34

 30


 20
                      12

 10
                                                0   1
  0
          Men Better       Men and Women     Women Better
          Trained          Equally Trained   Trained

                Men

                 Women

Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.




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Figure 7: Perceptions of Relative Ability to Perform Wartime Jobs
100   Percent

 90                                 85


 80


 70


 60                           56


 50         44

 40


 30


 20
                      13

 10
                                                       2
                                                  0
  0
          Men Perform       Men and Women     Women Perform
          Wartime Jobs      Perform Equally   Wartime Jobs Better
          Better

                Men

                 Women

Note: Does not include the survey response “do not know.”
Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


We later asked men and women a summary question about their
perceptions regarding the impact of women on readiness compared to
men. Figure 8 shows the response to this question by gender. Although men
tended to view the impact of women on unit readiness less positively than
women, more than half the men indicated that women affect readiness
either no differently from men or in a positive way.




Page 11                                                      GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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Figure 8: Perceived Impact of Women on Unit Readiness
60   Percent

                                   53

50                          47

                                               43


40




30                   27


                                                    20
20



            10
10




 0
          Positive or     No Differently   Negative or
          Very Positive   than Men         Very Negative

               Men

               Women

Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


Figure 9 shows, by service, male responses to the question of perceived
impact of women on unit readiness. A majority of the Army respondents
believed that women either affected readiness no differently from men or
affected readiness positively or very positively. In the Navy, the majority of
the men we surveyed believed that women affected readiness negatively or
very negatively.




Page 12                                                    GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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Figure 9: Views of Men Regarding the Impact of Women on Readiness by Service

60   Percent

                                                53
                 51
50                                                         50

                                                                48

                                           39
40
                        36


30




20


          13

10                                    8


                                                       3

 0
       Army                        Navy              Marine Corps

               Positive or Very Positive

               No Difference


Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


From a list of eight readiness factors, we also asked men and women to tell
us which factors most positively and negatively affect readiness. Men and
women agreed on the top three factors that positively affect readiness and
the top three factors that negatively impact readiness (see tables 2 and 3).
Training at the unit level, command leadership, and necessary equipment
were the three most frequently selected factors positively affecting
readiness. The number of personnel, condition of equipment, and funding
were the three most often selected negative factors.




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Table 2: Perceptions of Men and Women Regarding Factors That Positively Impact
Readiness
Readiness factors                           Readiness factors
Men                             Frequency   Women                           Frequency
Training at the unit level            182   Training at the unit level            153
Command leadership                    152   Command leadership                    100
Necessary equipment                   105   Necessary equipment                    98
Training at the command level          86   Mix of men and women                   90
Number of personnel                    81   Number of personnel                    88
Condition of equipment                 78   Training at the command level          78
Mix of men and women                   48   Condition of equipment                 74
Funding                                32   Funding                                43




Table 3: Perceptions of Men and Women Regarding Factors That Negatively Impact
Readiness
Readiness factors                           Readiness factors
Men                             Frequency   Women                           Frequency
Number of personnel                   200   Number of personnel                   174
Condition of equipment                142   Condition of equipment                143
Funding                               125   Funding                               104
Necessary equipment                    85   Command leadership                     78
Mix of men and women                   72   Necessary equipment                    68
Command leadership                     63   Mix of men and women                   46
Training at the unit level             45   Training at the unit level             44
Training at the command level          33   Training at the command level          38

Men cited gender mix as the fifth most cited factor having a negative
impact on unit readiness, whereas women cited it as the sixth.

The results of our survey on this question are similar to the results of the
1997 RAND report. RAND asked servicemembers to suggest reasons for
their readiness level and that of their units. Out of 934 surveys, only
2 respondents indicated that gender issues had an effect on readiness,
which according to the study, indicated a general perception that gender
integration played a minor role in individual or unit readiness.




Page 14                                                GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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Male and Female Views on   Both men and women reported high levels of confidence in their units’
Unit Readiness             ability to perform their wartime missions effectively. The majority of the
                           men and women surveyed reported that they were moderately confident or
                           very confident of their units’ ability to perform their wartime missions.
                           Figure 10 illustrates these responses by gender.



                           Figure 10: Degree of Confidence in Units’ Ability to Perform Wartime Missions
                           Effectively
                           100   Percent

                            90
                                                         86

                                                                80
                            80


                            70


                            60


                            50


                            40


                            30

                                                 20
                            20         15


                            10


                             0

                                     No or Little      Moderate or
                                     Confidence        Very Confident

                                           Men

                                           Women

                           Note: Does not include the survey response “no basis to judge.”
                           Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


                           The responses to this question are similar to a question in the 1997 RAND
                           study on new opportunities for women in the military. RAND asked men
                           and women to rate the readiness of their units for a combat mission as
                           high, medium, or low. Regardless of rank, over 80 percent of men and
                           women rated their units’ readiness as medium or high.

                           We also asked respondents to provide their perceptions of their units’
                           readiness with regard to several different aspects, including training,


                           Page 15                                                       GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
B-282402




equipment, and changes in the number of personnel. Male and female
responses were similar on these three aspects.

Both men and women in our survey indicated that their units’ readiness had
suffered because of changes in the number of personnel available for duty
(see fig.11). Over 80 percent of the servicemembers we surveyed said that
personnel changes had a moderate or major impact on the readiness of
their units. In our survey, we defined moderate impact as “the number of
personnel available is somewhat short of the number required,” whereas
we defined major impact as “the number of personnel is very short of the
number required.”



Figure 11: Perceptions of the Impact of Personnel Shortages on the
Readiness of Units
50   Percent                                                  47
                                                 45
45

                                            39                     39
40


35


30


25


20


                                 14
15
                          12

10


 5
           2     2

 0

       No Impact        Minor            Moderate         Major Impact
                        Impact           Impact
               Men

               Women

Note: Does not include survey response “no basis to judge.”
Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


Slightly more than half of the men and women responded that their units
were well trained or very well trained to perform their wartime mission



Page 16                                                       GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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(see fig.12). And approximately 20 percent of the men and women said that
their units were poorly or very poorly prepared.



Figure 12: Perceptions of How Well Trained Units Are to Perform Their
Wartime Missions
60   Percent                                           56
                                                53


50




40




30                            28
                                    27


               20
20                   17




10




 0

        Very Poorly or    Neither Well nor   Well Prepared or
        Poorly Prepared   Poorly Prepared    Very Well Prepared



               Men

               Women

Note: Does not include the survey response “do not know.”
Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.


Both male and female respondents reported that if they included
equipment in their consideration of preparedness, their units were less
prepared (see fig.13). Specifically, regarding equipment, less than half of
the respondents said their units were well or very well prepared.
Additionally, approximately one-third of the male and female respondents
reported that their units were poorly or very poorly prepared to perform
their wartime missions.




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                     Figure 13: Perceptions of Units’ Ability to Perform Their Wartime Missions
                     Considering Their Equipment
                     40   Percent

                                                                        35
                     35
                                                                             34



                     30                          28      28


                     25                     23                 24



                     20



                     15



                     10        8     8
                                                                                    6
                                                                                          5
                      5



                      0
                            Very           Poorly      Neither Well   Well        Very Well
                            Poorly         Prepared    nor Poorly     Prepared    Prepared
                            Prepared                   Prepared

                                   Men

                                   Women

                     Note: Does not include the survey response “do not know.”
                     Source: 1998 GAO Survey on Readiness Issues.




Gender Issues That   In our discussions with servicemembers, we asked participants what issues
                     they believed the services needed to address as the number of women in
Servicemembers       the military increases. The issues that surfaced tended to vary according to
Believed Require     gender and indicated that some significant gender integration challenges
                     remain. The female discussion groups raised concerns that many men in
Additional Service   the military view women in a stereotypical manner. The male discussion
Consideration        groups, on the other hand, raised concerns about what they perceived to be
                     a pattern of preferential treatment of women and concerns about sexual
                     harassment accusations. Both men and women raised the issue of
                     managing the impact of pregnancy on unit operations.

                     A prominent issue among the women in our discussion groups involved
                     gender stereotyping. Many of the women we talked with indicated that men
                     lack confidence in a woman’s ability to do her job. Women told us that



                     Page 18                                                      GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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when a man arrives in a unit, everyone assumes that the man can do his
job, but a woman has to prove herself repeatedly before she is accepted.
For example, a female mechanic in the Army said that she had to overcome
a belief among the men in her unit that women could not be good
mechanics. She also said that she had to prove her abilities more than a
man would have had to.

In another example, a Navy woman said that the men on her team tried to
discourage her from participating with the team when they were assisting
another ship that was on fire. The men did not think she had the physical
strength to handle a fire hose. She participated with her team, proved she
could do the job, and won the acceptance of her team. Many women also
believed that they are scrutinized much more closely than men and that the
failure of one woman is generalized to all women. Women also provided
examples of men attempting to provide them with unwanted assistance.

An issue of concern that arose frequently in our discussion groups with
men involved what they perceived to be preferential treatment of women.
For example, some Navy men said that women tend to receive better
bunking arrangements on ships, while men have to endure more crowding.
Another area of perceived preferential treatment involved discipline. Some
men cited situations in which a man would be disciplined for particular
behavior, but a woman that did the same thing would not be disciplined.
Finally, some men said that they would often help women that did not have
the physical strength to do their jobs and that this took them away from
their own duties.

Another concern raised in our discussion groups with men was what they
perceived to be a rush to judgment in cases where men are accused of
sexual harassment. They perceived that men were removed from their
units as soon as they were charged, before any investigation. Many men
were concerned that the mere charge was enough to ruin a man’s career,
whether he was found guilty or not. Men frequently mentioned that they
believed that many charges of sexual harassment were unfounded and that
false accusers did not seem to suffer any consequences.

An issue raised in both the male and female discussion groups was the
impact of pregnancy on units. Depending on the nature of the job and the
existence of environmental hazards, a commander may immediately
remove a pregnant woman from her job. In addition, pregnant women are
essentially unavailable for deployment for about a year—counting their
pregnancies and the 4 months following the birth of their children. Because
pregnancy is not a permanent medical condition, the services do not
always replace pregnant women. This can place additional burdens on the

Page 19                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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                  remaining personnel in the unit, particularly if the unit is already
                  undermanned. Overwhelmingly, the men and women in our discussion
                  groups said that the readiness impact of unplanned losses due to pregnancy
                  or other medical or disciplinary reasons would be minimized if
                  replacements were made available.



Agency Comments   We provided a draft of this report to the Office of the Secretary of Defense
                  for review. The Department did not provide any comments.


                  We are sending copies of this report to Senator John Warner and Senator
                  Carl Levin and Representative Floyd D. Spence and Representative
                  Ike Skelton in their capacities as Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of
                  the Senate and House Committees on Armed Services. We are sending
                  copies to Senator Wayne Allard and Senator Max Cleland and to
                  Representative Steven Buyer and Representative Neil Abercrombie in their
                  capacities as Chairman or Ranking Minority Member of the Senate and
                  House Committees on Armed Services, Subcommittees on Military
                  Personnel. We are also sending copies of this report to the Honorable
                  William Cohen, Secretary of Defense; the Honorable Louis Caldera,
                  Secretary of the Army; the Honorable Richard Danzig, Secretary of the Navy;
                  and General Charles C. Krulack, Commandant of the Marine Corps. Copies
                  will also be made available to others upon request.

                  If you or your staff have questions concerning this report, please call
                  me at (202) 512-5140. The major contributors to this report are listed in
                  appendix IV.

                  Sincerely yours,




                  Mark E. Gebicke
                  Director, National Security Preparedness
                   Issue Area




                  Page 20                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Page 21   GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Contents



Letter                                                                                              1


Appendix I                                                                                         24
Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology

Appendix II                                                                                        27
Responses to Survey
Questions, by Gender

Appendix III                                                                                       37
Locations Visited and
Units Surveyed

Appendix IV                                                                                        40
Major Contributors to
This Report

Figures                  Figure 1: Perceived Impact of Women on Unit Readiness                      3
                         Figure 2: Perceptions of Personal Readiness to Perform
                           Wartime Mission                                                          6
                         Figure 3: Perceptions of Personal Ability to Deploy on Short Notice        7
                         Figure 4: Perceptions of Relative Physical Preparation to Complete
                           Current Missions                                                         8
                         Figure 5: Perceptions of Relative Willingness to Deploy                    9
                         Figure 6: Perceptions of Relative Degree of Training to Complete
                           Current Missions                                                        10
                         Figure 7: Perceptions of Relative Ability to Perform Wartime Jobs         11
                         Figure 8: Perceived Impact of Women on Unit Readiness                     12
                         Figure 9: Views of Men Regarding the Impact of Women on
                           Readiness by Service                                                    13
                         Figure 10: Degree of Confidence in Units’ Ability to
                           Perform Wartime Missions Effectively                                    15
                         Figure 11: Perceptions of the Impact of Personnel Shortages
                           on the Readiness of Units                                               16


                         Page 22                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
         Contents




         Figure 12: Perceptions of How Well Trained Units Are to
           Perform Their Wartime Missions                                           17
         Figure 13: Perceptions of Units’ Ability to Perform Their
           Wartime Missions Considering Their Equipment                             18

Tables   Table 1: Survey Respondents That Reported They Were
           Well or Very Well Prepared to Perform Their Wartime Missions              2
         Table 2: Perceptions of Men and Women Regarding Factors
           That Positively Impact Readiness                                        14
         Table 3: Perceptions of Men and Women Regarding Factors
           That Negatively Impact Readiness                                        14




         Abbreviations

         DOD        Department of Defense
         MOS        military occupational specialty



         Page 23                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix I

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                                                                  AppIexndi




              Our objectives were to obtain the perceptions of men and women regarding
              the impact women have had on units opened to them since 1993.
              Specifically, we obtained the perceptions of men and women on their
              personal readiness, the readiness of men and women in their unit, and unit
              readiness. We also identified issues that servicemembers believed the
              services need to consider as more women join the military and we
              reviewed other studies of gender issues to determine whether the
              perceptions we gathered were similar.

              The scope of our review included units opened to women since 1993 in the
              Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps. We did not include the Air Force in
              our review because the majority of its units have been open to women
              since the late 1980s. We excluded Air Force statistics when we compared
              our survey results to Department of Defense (DOD) data.

              To determine servicemembers’ perceptions, we administered 737
              questionnaires1 and led 75 discussion groups with over 500 men and
              women in 40 selected units opened to women since 1993. Data that the
              services provided showed the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps units
              we visited contained at least 7,000 men and 1,400 women.

              We selected units based on their availability, the number of women in the
              units, and location. Using criteria that we established, service officials at
              each location selected the units we visited. These officials notified the
              units, and based on their availability, at least 5 to 10 men and women
              completed our survey and attended our discussion groups. Because we did
              not randomly select the units or the survey respondents, our survey results
              reflect only the perceptions of the personnel we surveyed and are not
              projectable.

              In the survey, we asked respondents to give us their perceptions of their
              personal readiness, the readiness of women and men in their units, and unit
              readiness. In asking for perceptions, we asked respondents to consider a
              wide range of issues that could affect readiness. For example, we asked
              respondents to consider their training, equipment, and changes in the
              number of personnel available for duty when evaluating their unit
              readiness. In asking respondents about the readiness of men and women in



              1
                The total number of surveys is eight more than the sum of the men and women that completed our
              survey because eight respondents did not check either male or female when asked about their gender.




              Page 24                                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix I
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




their unit, we asked them to take into account training, physical
preparedness, and availability for deployment, among other factors.

We held discussion groups to identify issues that servicemembers believed
the services need to consider as more women join the military. Our
discussion groups ranged from 1 to 20 servicemembers. We met with men
and women separately and met with junior enlisted, senior enlisted, and
officer personnel separately as well. To promote a candid discussion, group
moderators were the same gender as the group participants. We asked
personnel to discuss the impact of introducing women into their units and
to identify issues the services needed to address as more women entered
the military. We included the most frequently mentioned topics in this
report.

We obtained and reviewed studies done by DOD and others to determine
whether our survey respondents and discussion group participants’
perceptions were similar to those gathered by other researchers.

To obtain the perceptions of Army servicemembers, we visited 20 Army
units located at Fort Hood, Texas, and 13 units located at 5 installations in
Germany. Personnel completed 411 surveys—215 men, 193 women, and
3 that did not indicate gender. The Army units we visited included chemical
companies, forward support battalions, military police units, and
engineering units. Based on data provided by the Army, the percentage of
women in the 20 Army units located at Fort Hood, Texas, ranged from
8 percent to 52 percent. The number of women in these units ranged from
8 to 36. Also, at Fort Hood, we interviewed 14 unit commanders or their
representatives and conducted 4 group discussions. At the 5 Army bases in
Germany, we surveyed 13 units. The percentage of women in the units
varied from 3 percent to 45 percent; the number of women ranged from 5 to
34. We held 30 discussion groups in Germany and interviewed
12 unit commanders.

We visited four Navy units: a fixed-wing fighter squadron, an aircraft
carrier, an amphibious assault ship, and a dock-landing ship. Units were
selected based on their deployment schedules. The percent of women in
these units ranged from 8 percent to 34 percent, and the number of women
in the units varied from 17 to 297. We administered 246 surveys to 121 men,
123 women, and 2 that did not indicate gender. We conducted 29 group
discussions.




Page 25                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix I
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




We visited three Marine Corps aviation units that were opened to women
when the Navy opened combatant ships to women. We administered
77 surveys--42 men and 35 women--interviewed 3 unit commanders, and
conducted 12 group discussions. Data provided by the Marine Corps
showed that the percent of women in the three units we visited ranged
from 5 percent to 9 percent. The number of women ranged from 38 to 155.

We performed our work between July 1998 and March 1999 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.




Page 26                                      GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix II

Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender                                                            ApIpexndi




              1. Taking into account your training, how prepared are you to perform your wartime
              job?
                                                         Male                        Female
                                                 Count          Percent   Count               Percent
              Very poorly                            9              2.4         7                 2.0
              Poorly prepared                       19              5.0         38               10.8
              Neither well nor poorly prepared      60             15.9         85               24.2
              Well prepared                        187             49.6       158                45.0
              Very well prepared                   102             27.1         63               18.0




              2. How prepared are you physically to perform your wartime job?
                                                         Male                          Female
                                                 Count          Percent   Count               Percent
              Very poorly                            3              0.8         8                 2.3
              Poorly prepared                        4              1.1         22                6.3
              Neither well nor poorly prepared      31              8.2         68               19.4
              Well prepared                        195             51.6       179                51.0
              Very well prepared                   145             38.4         74               21.1




              3. How prepared are you mentally to perform your wartime job?
                                                         Male                          Female
                                                 Count          Percent   Count               Percent
              Very poorly                            2              0.5         6                 1.7
              Poorly prepared                       14              3.7         29                8.3
              Neither well nor poorly prepared      55             14.6         81               23.1
              Well prepared                        173             45.9       161                45.9
              Very well prepared                   133             35.3         74               21.1




              Page 27                                             GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix II
Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




4. If you were required to deploy on short notice, how many problems would you
have deploying?
                                               Male                      Female
                                     Count            Percent   Count         Percent
No problems                            105               27.8      92             26.2
Minor problems                         179               47.4     158             45.0
Moderate problems                       76               20.1      82             23.4
Major problems                          16                4.2      15              4.3
Problems so large they would               2              0.5       4              1.1
prevent me from deploying




5. If you were required to deploy on short notice, which issue(s)—if any—would you
require assistance with?
                                               Male                      Female
                                     Count            Percent   Count         Percent
Would not require any assistance       134               26.7      95             18.9
Family                                 135               26.9     139             27.7
Medical condition/physical fitness      19                3.6      41              8.2
Financial situation                     88               17.5      86             17.1
Personal property                      108               21.5     126             25.1
Other                                   18                3.6      15              3.0




6. Taking into account the training of personnel in your unit, how prepared is your
unit to perform its wartime mission?
                                               Male                      Female
                                     Count            Percent   Count         Percent
Very poorly                             13                3.4      11              3.1
Poorly prepared                         56               14.8      45             12.8
Neither well nor poorly prepared        99               26.2      89             25.4
Well prepared                          147               38.9     141             40.2
Very well prepared                      40               10.6      40             11.4
Don’t know                              23                6.1      25              7.1




Page 28                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix II
Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




7. Taking into account the equipment in your unit, how prepared is your unit to
perform its wartime mission?
                                               Male                      Female
                                       Count          Percent   Count         Percent
Very poorly                               30              8.0      28              8.0
Poorly prepared                           83             22.0      94             26.8
Neither well nor poorly prepared         102             27.1      81             23.1
Well prepared                            126             33.4     114             32.5
Very well prepared                        23              6.1      17              4.8
Don’t know                                13              3.5      17              4.8




8. If your unit was deployed to a potential war zone, how much confidence do you
have in your unit’s ability to perform its mission effectively?
                                               Male                      Female
                                       Count          Percent   Count         Percent
No confidence at all                       8              2.1       7              2.0
Little confidence                         44             11.6      58             16.5
Moderately confident                     171             45.2     153             43.6
Very confident                           136             36.0     108             30.8
No basis to judge                         19              5.0      25              7.1




9. How has your unit’s wartime readiness been impacted by changes in the number
of personnel available for duty?
                                               Male                      Female
                                       Count          Percent   Count         Percent
No impact, the number of                   6              1.6       7              2.0
personnel available is the number
required
Minor impact, the number of               44             11.6      40             11.5
personnel available is adequate
Moderate impact, the number of           137             36.2     134             38.6
personnel available is somewhat
short of the number required
Major impact, the number of              167             44.2     115             33.1
personnel available is very short of
the number required
No basis to judge                         24              6.4      51             14.7




Page 29                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix II
Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




10a. In your unit, which gender is better trained to complete the current mission?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Men                                   127                34.0      43             12.3
Both are equally trained              246                65.8     304             86.9
Women                                      1              0.3       3                0.9




10b. In your unit, which gender is better prepared physically to complete the current
mission?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Men                                   266                71.5     116             33.4
Both are equally prepared             106                28.5     229             66.0
physically
Women                                      0              0.0       2                0.6




10c. In your unit, which gender is assigned outside the unit more often?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Men                                   133                36.0     115             33.6
Both are assigned equally often       179                48.5     187             54.7
Women                                  57                15.5      40             11.7




11a. In your unit, which gender is more often unavailable to deploy due to
disciplinary reasons?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Men                                   162                43.9     214             62.4
Both are equally unavailable          174                47.2     116             33.8
Women                                  33                 8.9      13                3.8




Page 30                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix II
Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




11b. In your unit, which gender is more often unavailable to deploy due to medical
reasons?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Men                                    13                 3.5      30                8.8
Both are equally unavailable          104                28.0     171               50.2
Women                                 254                68.5     140               41.1




11c. In your unit, which gender is more often unavailable to deploy due to family
reasons?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Men                                    25                 6.8      28                8.1
Both are equally unavailable          182                49.2     196               56.7
Women                                 163                44.1     122               35.3




12. What are the other reasons why members of your unit are unavailable to deploy?




13a. In your unit, which gender is more willing to deploy?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Men                                   169                45.0      83               23.7
Both are equally willing              144                38.3     182               52.0
Women                                      1              0.3       6                1.7
Don’t know or have never               62                16.5      79               22.6
deployed




Page 31                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
        Appendix II
        Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




        13b. In your unit, which gender has more problems deploying?
                                                       Male                      Female
                                           Count              Percent   Count         Percent
        Men                                        8              2.1      10              2.9
        Both have the same number of          157                41.9     166             47.6
        problems
        Women                                 150                40.0      78             22.4
        Don’t know or have never               60                16.0      95             27.2
        deployed




        13c. In your unit, which gender performs their wartime job better?
                                                       Male                      Female
                                           Count              Percent   Count         Percent
        Men                                   133                35.5      34              9.7
        Both perform equally well             169                45.1     217             61.8
        Women                                      1              0.3        5             1.4
        Don’t know or have                     72                19.2      95             27.1
        never deployed




        14. Overall, compared to men, how do women impact the readiness of your unit?
        Women impact readiness…
                                                       Male                      Female
                                           Count              Percent   Count         Percent
        Very positively                            6              1.6      26              7.6
        Positively                             32                 8.6      67             19.5
        No differently than men               175                47.2     183             53.2
        Negatively                            148                39.9      66             19.2
        Very negatively                        10                 2.7        2             0.6




        15. Please describe the reasons that most influenced your answer to question 14?




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 rtet   Page 32                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
                                            Appendix II
                                            Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




16. Which of the following factors most affect the readiness of your unit?
                                                       Male                                                         Female
                                      No                         No                                    No                        No
                                response         –       + response            –          +      response      –         + response            –      +
Number of personnel                   97    200         81          25.7    52.9    21.4                90   174         88           25.6   49.4   25.0
Mix of men and women                 258        72      48          68.3    19.0    12.7               216    46         90           61.4   13.1   25.6
Necessary equipment                  188        85    105           49.7    22.5    27.8               186    68         98           52.8   19.3   27.8
Condition of equipment               158    142         78          41.8    37.6    20.6               135   143         74           38.4   40.6   21.0
Training at the command level        259        33      86          68.5     8.7    22.8               236    38         78           67.0   10.8   22.2
Training at the unit level           151        45    182           39.9    11.9    48.1               155    44     153              44.0   12.5   43.5
Command leadership                   163        63    152           43.1    16.7    40.2               173    78     100              49.3   22.2   28.5
Funding                              221    125         32          58.5    33.1     8.5               205   104         43           58.2   29.5   12.2
Other                                344        14      18          91.5     3.7     4.8               324    10         18           92.0    2.8    5.1




                                            17. To what extent are you performing work that uses your MOSa/rating/code skills?
                                                                                                      Male                               Female
                                                                                              Count          Percent          Count            Percent
                                            Not at all                                           26                6.9           27                  7.7
                                            Small extent                                         57             15.2             72                 20.6
                                            Moderate extent                                      81             21.5             57                 16.3
                                            Large extent                                         91             24.2             75                 21.4
                                            Very large extent                                   121             32.2            119                 34.0
                                            a
                                                Mos is military occupational specialty.




                                            Page 33                                                            GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix II
Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




18. In your unit, to what extent are most men in your MOS/rating/code performing
work that uses their occupational skills?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Not at all                                 8              2.1       8              2.3
Small extent                           44                11.7      34              9.8
Moderate extent                        87                23.2      70             20.2
Large extent                          164                43.7     128             37.0
Very large extent                      72                19.2     106             30.6




19. In your unit, to what extent are most women in your MOS/rating/code performing
work that uses their occupational skills?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
Not at all                             19                 5.2       7              2.0
Small extent                           88                24.1      66             19.2
Moderate extent                       110                30.1      97             28.3
Large extent                          103                28.2     106             30.9
Very large extent                      45                12.3      67             19.5




20. If you believe that most women and/or men in your MOS/rating/code are not
performing work that uses their MOS skills, please explain why you believe this is
happening.




21. How old were you on your most recent birthday?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent   Count         Percent
18-20                                  29                 7.7      47             13.4
21-24                                  91                24.1     115             32.8
25-30                                 129                34.1      85             24.2
31-34                                  60                15.9      44             12.5
35-40                                  54                14.3      47             13.4
41 or older                            15                 4.0      13              3.7




Page 34                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix II
Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




22. What is your pay grade group?
                                               Male                      Female
                                    Count             Percent   Count         Percent
E1-E3                                  61                16.1      74             21.1
E4-E6                                 189                50.0     187             53.3
E7-E9                                  26                 6.9      32              9.1
CWO1-CWO5                              11                 2.9       1              0.3
01-04                                  88                23.3      53             15.1
05-06                                      3              0.8       4              1.1




23. What is your service?
                                               Male                      Female
                                    Count             Percent   Count         Percent
Army                                  215                56.9     193             55.0
Navy                                  121                32.0     123             35.0
Marine Corps                           42                11.1      35             10.0
Air Force                                  0              0.0       0              0.0
Coast Guard                                0              0.0       0              0.0




24. How many years of active duty service have you completed, including enlisted,
warrant officer, and commissioned officer time?
                                               Male                      Female
Years of service                    Count             Percent   Count         Percent
1 -5                                  177                47.2     207             60.2
6-10                                   97                25.9      52             15.1
11-15                                  58                15.5      44             12.8
16-20                                  38                10.1      38             11.0
Greater than 20                            5              1.3       3             0 .9




Page 35                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix II
Responses to Survey Questions, by Gender




25. What gender are you?
                                                        Count                 Percent
Male                                                       378                    51.9
Female                                                     351                    48.1




26. What is your current marital status?
                                               Male                      Female
                                   Count              Percent    Count        Percent
Never married                         117                31.0      138            39.5
Married                               228                60.5      142            40.7
Separated                                  7              1.9       20             5.7
Divorced                               25                 6.6       47            13.5
Widowed                                    0              0.0        2             0.6




Page 36                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix III

Locations Visited and Units Surveyed                                                                        AIpIexndi




Army

Fort Hood, Texas

13th Corps Support Command         181st Chemical Company
                                   46th Chemical Company
                                   74th Engineer Company
                                   31st Chemical Company

4th Mechanized Infantry Division   Headquarters, 204th Forward Support Battalion
                                   A Company, 704th Main Support Battalion (Supply)
                                   C Company, 704th Main Support Battalion (Medical)
                                   D Company, 704th Main Support Battalion (Maintenance)
                                   Headquarters, 4th Forward Support Battalion
                                   A Company, 4th Forward Support Battalion (Supply)
                                   E Company, 4th Forward Support Battalion (Medical)
                                   4th Military Police Company
                                   Headquarters, 1-44th Air Defense Artillery Battalion

1st Calvary Division               Headquarters, 15th Forward Support Battalion
                                   A Company, 15th Forward Support Battalion (Supply)
                                   B Company, 15th Forward Support Battalion (Maintenance)
                                   C Company, 15th Forward Support Battalion (Medical)
                                   Headquarters, 4-5th Air Defense Artillery Battalion
                                   68th Chemical Company
                                   545th Military Police Company




                                   Page 37                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
                                   Appendix III
                                   Locations Visited and Units Surveyed




Germany

1st Mechanized Infantry Division   Wurzburg
                                   101st Military Intelligence Battalion
                                   1st Military Police Company

                                   Schweinfurt
                                   Headquarters, 299th Forward Support Battalion
                                   A Company, 299th Forward Support Battalion (Supply)
                                   B Company, 299th Forward Support Battalion (Maintenance)
                                   C Company, 299th Forward Support Battalion (Medical)
                                   Headquarters, 9th Engineer Battalion

                                   Vilseck
                                   Headquarters, 201st Forward Support Battalion
                                   A Company, 201st Forward Support Battalion (Supply)
                                   B Company, 201st Forward Support Battalion (Maintenance)
                                   C Company, 201st Forward Support Battalion (Medical)

V Corps                            Bamberg
                                   Headquarters, 54th Engineering Battalion

                                   Ansbach
                                   6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion




                                   Page 38                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
                            Appendix III
                            Locations Visited and Units Surveyed




Navy

Norfolk, Virginia           VF-14, Oceana Naval Air Station
                            USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier
                            USS WASP amphibious assault ship
                            USS Gunston Hall dock landing ship



Marine Corps

Cherry Point, North         Marine Aircraft Group 14
Carolina                    Marine Aircraft Control Group 28



New River, North Carolina   Marine Aircraft Group 29




                            Page 39                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
Appendix IV

Major Contributors to This Report                                        ApV
                                                                           Ienxdi




National Security And   Carol R. Schuster
                        William E. Beusse
International Affairs   Carole F. Coffey
Division, Washington,   George M. Delgado
                        Jack Edwards
D.C.

Atlanta Field Office    Lorelei St. James
                        Karen Thompson
                        Kurt Burgeson



Dallas Field Office     Robert Malpass
                        Fred Lyles



Los Angeles Field       Cheryl Gordon

Office

Norfolk Field Office    Jim Lewis




(703265)      eL
               rtet     Page 40             GAO/NSIAD-99-120 Gender Issues
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