Examining United States military sexual misconduct policy processes

Chelsea Sandra Lee Arnold (Steve Hicks School of Social Work, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 8 April 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Sexual misconduct (sexual assault and sexual harassment) in the US military is a long-standing problem. The military has implemented many policies and programs to address sexual misconduct in its ranks. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the processes of military sexual misconduct policy and programs have evolved since the 1940s.

Design/methodology/approach

Punctuated equilibrium and multiple streams theories were the guiding frameworks for this process analysis of the policies and programs implemented to address military sexual misconduct based on existing literature, news media and press.

Findings

Three punctuations are found in military sexual misconduct policy that demonstrate large-scale departures from the periods of equilibrium as the result of either a significant sexual misconduct allegation or new survey findings revealing sexual misconduct prevalence rates. In between these major-issue defining events, incremental policy change has occurred resulting in a period of stasis or return to the status quo requiring correction. Despite returns to stasis, each policy punctuation has built on the prior punctuation, generating new military directives, policies and programs.

Originality/value

Using the lenses of punctuated equilibrium and multiple stream theories, this paper shows how the processes of US military sexual misconduct policies and programs have evolved. The US military and militaries globally can utilize these policy frameworks to help predict future patterns of military sexual misconduct and improve responses to these problems.

Keywords

Citation

Chelsea Sandra Lee Arnold (2019) "Examining United States military sexual misconduct policy processes", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 39 No. 3/4, pp. 235-249

Download as .RIS

DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-07-2018-0114

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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