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About the Survey

The Armed Forces Workplace and Equal Opportunity (WEO) Survey fulfills the Congressional mandate to conduct a survey to assess racial/ethnic relations in the Military. Information collected in this survey will be used to research a variety of topics, including attitudes and perceptions about relations in the Military, workplace climate, readiness, well-being, training, and policy effectiveness. This information will assist in the formulation of policies which may be needed to improve programs and services for military members. Results will be provided to DoD, Congress, each military department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Historically, the WEO survey was fielded every four years separately to Active and Reserve component members. Starting in Fall 2022, the survey will field every two years to a combined sample of Active and Reserve component members to collect more timely data that yields a Total Force picture. The WEO surveys have been fielded to active duty members since 2005 and to Reserve component members since 2007.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did you pick me?

OPA uses well-established, scientific procedures to randomly select a sample that represents the Defense community based on combinations of demographic characteristics (e.g., Service, race and ethnicity, paygrade, gender).

Why should I participate?

This is your chance to be heard on issues that directly affect you and your unit, including satisfaction with aspects of military life, policies and practices regarding general workplace respect issues, diversity and inclusion, and relations in the Military.

Why does this survey ask personal questions?

OPA reports overall results, as well as by other characteristics, such as race/ethnicity and gender. To complete these analyses, we must ask respondents for this type of demographic information. Analyzing results in this way provides Defense leaders information about the attitudes and concerns of all subgroups of personnel so that no groups are overlooked. Sometimes sensitive questions are asked in order to improve personnel policies, programs, and practices. Your answers to any personal questions are strictly used for this purpose and will not be used to identify individual respondents. As with all questions on this survey, your responses are confidential. This survey has also received a federal “Certificate of Confidentiality” that provides OPA with additional protection against any attempt to subpoena confidential survey records.

Will my answers be kept private?

All data will be reported in the aggregate and no individual data will be reported. We encourage you to safeguard your Ticket Number to prevent unauthorized access to your survey. In addition, to ensure your privacy, be aware of the environment in which you take the survey (e.g., take the survey when no one else is home, take care to not leave the survey unattended). Survey responses received are confidential. OPA has received a federal “Certificate of Confidentiality” that provides additional protection against any attempt to subpoena confidential survey records. However, if you indicate a direct threat to harm yourself or others within responses or communications about the survey, because of concern for your welfare, OPA may notify an office in your area for appropriate action.

What is a “Certificate of Confidentiality”?

A “Certificate of Confidentiality” is an additional privacy assurance provided by the Department of Health and Human Services that the identifiable information and responses of a research project's respondents will be protected from compelled disclosure in administrative, legislative, or other investigative proceedings (e.g., protection from a subpoena). Section 301(d) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 214(d)) authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide these certificates to qualifying biomedical and behavioral research of a sensitive nature. While the certificate protects against involuntary or forced disclosures of information (e.g., a subpoena) that could identify survey respondents, it does not limit voluntary disclosure of this information in matters such as child abuse or a respondent’s threatened violence to self or others.

Why do you use my contact information to invite me to participate in this survey? Isn’t this survey supposed to be anonymous?

This survey is “confidential,” not “anonymous.” In confidential surveys conducted by OPA, the identifying information of respondents is only used by government and contractor staff engaged in, and for purposes of, survey research (e.g., selecting, contacting, and tracking the participation of respondents). Individual survey responses received by OPA are kept in separate files from the personally identifiable information of respondents used to solicit survey participation and OPA only tracks survey responses back to individual respondents if a respondent indicates potential harm to self or others in survey responses or communications about the survey. Otherwise, survey responses are not tracked back to individual participants by OPA and survey results are reported in the aggregate so that no individual respondents can be identified. OPA’s use of the word “confidential” is similar to its routine use in privacy statements within the health professions to denote that the information collected can potentially identify the individual respondent, but this information will not be shared with others unless compelled by law or written consent.