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FORT MEADE, Md. - Soldiers asked to participate in a workplace survey over the next couple of weeks should take a few minutes to complete it, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.
"This volunteer survey is short, and it is important," Odierno wrote in a letter to Soldiers selected to participate in the RAND study.
"This survey is critical to the Army's efforts to monitor its performance over time, and to develop policies that improve the safety of our Soldiers," he said.
About 580,000 service members have begun receiving emails or letters inviting them to participate in the first RAND Military Workplace Study, Defense Department officials said. Active and reserve-component members in all military branches and the Coast Guard are being invited to participate.
The survey is voluntary and confidential. No one at the Defense Department will ever see how an individual service member responds, officials stressed.
"No service member may be ordered or pressured to complete the survey or not to complete it," officials said.
However, Odierno also asked that leaders provide Soldiers an opportunity to complete the survey. He said it can be completed using a government computer during duty hours, answered on a home computer or even a smartphone.
Survey respondents can forward the survey to their personal email addresses and can complete it whenever they have an opportunity.
The study will help commanders at all levels evaluate current military workplace relations, professionalism and personal safety, officials said. It will have important implications for how the military operates.
The survey is being conducted independently of the Department of Defense by experts at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. Results will be presented to President Obama this fall and a full report of the RAND findings will be available to the public in May.