Military suicide and sexual assault remain intractable problems, despite extraordinary efforts by the Department of Defense and Congress. What more can be done in the next administration? A place to start is with better data. This suggestion might not seem that far-reaching, but it is actually nothing short of revolutionary. Better data will allow policymakers to tailor interventions, measure program effectiveness, and establish goals by which to measure success — tasks all but impossible today.
While it seems hard to argue against collecting and publishing better data, the Department of Defense seems loath to do so. After all, opacity is not a bug, but a feature – indeed a central stratagem – in large bureaucracies.