Reports and Publications

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Reports and Publications

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 2016 Focus Report

This summary outlines the findings from the 2016 Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) focus groups. DACOWITS collected qualitative data during visits to 14 installations—representing all four DoD Service branches (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy) and the Coast Guard—from April to May 2016. During the focus groups held at these sites, the Committee addressed four topics:

  1. Gender integration
  2. Strategic communication
  3. Mentorship
  4. Mentorship

Chapters 2–6 list the questions asked for each topic and summarize the responses for each topic.

Enhancing SNAP Quality Control Completion Rates Final Report

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed the Quality Control (QC) process for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 1977 to track and measure errors in both eligibility and benefit determination for the program. States conduct monthly reviews of a statistically representative sample of participating households (active cases) and households for whom participation was denied, terminated, or suspended (negative cases). These reviews measure the validity of SNAP cases and ultimately serve as the basis for the SNAP payment error rate. The SNAP QC process also provides FNS with a probability‐based national sample that supports research on the SNAP population.

National completion rates for SNAP QC reviews have generally declined since peak levels in the 1980s and State‐level completion rates vary widely. The purpose of this study is to examine the factors contributing to incomplete reviews of active cases and to describe best practices associated with high SNAP QC completion rates. Maximizing these completion rates will enable FNS to minimize bias in the QC dataset and most accurately estimate the eligibility and benefit errors made by States.

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 2015 Report

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) (hereafter referred to as the Committee or DACOWITS) was established in 1951 with a mandate to provide the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) with independent advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to servicewomen in the Armed Forces of the United States. Individual members of the Committee are appointed by the SECDEF and serve in a voluntary capacity for one- to four-year terms.

It has been the Committee’s approach since 2010 to divide its work into two areas of focus: Assignments and Wellness. The Committee selected topics for study under each area of focus, and gathered both primary and secondary sources of information: briefings and written respons- es from DoD, Service-level military representatives, and subject matter experts (SMEs); data collected from focus groups and interactions with Service members during installation visits; and literature reviews. These sources of information, along with information DACOWITS gained through studying some of these topics in previous years, formed the basis—or reasoning—for the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee voted on recommendations during its September 2015 business meeting and approved this annual report at its December 2015 business meeting.

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 2015 Executive Summary

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) (hereafter referred to as the Committee or DACOWITS) was established in 1951 with a mandate to provide the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) with independent advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to servicewomen in the Armed Forces of the United States. Individual members of the Committee are appointed by the SECDEF and serve in a voluntary capacity for one- to four-year terms.

It has been the Committee’s approach since 2010 to divide its work into two areas of focus: Assignments and Wellness. The Committee selected topics for study under each area of focus, and gathered both primary and secondary sources of information: briefings and written respons- es from DoD, Service-level military representatives, and subject matter experts (SMEs); data collected from focus groups and interactions with Service members during installation visits; and literature reviews. These sources of information, along with information DACOWITS gained through studying some of these topics in previous years, formed the basis—or reasoning—for the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee voted on recommendations during its September 2015 business meeting and approved this annual report at its December 2015 business meeting.

WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2014

The WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2014 Report summarizes the characteristics of participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nationwide in April 2014. It includes information on participant demographics, income, nutrition risk characteristics, anthropometric and hematological characteristics, and estimates of breastfeeding initiation rates for WIC infants and children.

WIC Food Package Policy Options, II

The report highlights changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) resulting from the implementation of the Interim and Final Food Package Rule. These rules established the contents of the seven WIC food packages designed to safeguard the health of low- income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children who are at nutritional risk. The goal of this report was (1) examine policy options and food allowances implemented by WIC State agencies (WIC SAs) in response to the Final Rule; (2) assess the changes WIC SAs made between the interim and final rules; and (3) discuss strategies used by WIC SAs to contain program costs. The report also illustrates the foods available to WIC participants across the nation and variation in food package policies across state agencies. The data were compiled from WIC State Plans, WIC state agency food lists, and other WIC materials in fiscal year 2015.

Examination of Cash Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits in Puerto Rico

The Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) provides critical nutrition support for low-income residents of Puerto Rico, issuing a monthly benefit that includes both cash and noncash portions. NAP households must redeem at least 75 percent of their benefits electronically through electronic benefit transfer (EBT) at certified retailers, and may redeem the remaining portion (up to 25 percent) in cash. The entire benefit (both the noncash and cash portions) is supposed to be used only for the purchase of eligible food items.1 The purpose of the cash portion is to give participants with limited access to certified retailers a way to purchase food. In February 2014, the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P. L. 113–79, commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill) reauthorized the NAP block grant and included a provision to phase out the cash portion of the NAP benefit coupled with an equivalent increase in the noncash portion (Agricultural Act of 2014, 2014, § 4025).

The 2014 Farm Bill also mandated a study to assess the potential adverse effects for both participants and food retailers of replacing the 25-percent cash portion with noncash benefits. This study examines the history and purpose of the cash portion, barriers to redeeming the noncash portion, and use of the cash portion for the purchase of nonfood and other prohibited items.

An Assessment of the Roles and Effectiveness of Community-Based Organizations in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

This report assessed the roles and effectiveness of the use of community-based organizations (CBOs) to conduct Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applicant interviews, as part of the Community Partner Interviewer (CPI) demonstration projects. The study sought to describe the CBOs that conducted the interviews, explain the nature of the partnerships between the CBOs and SNAP personnel, and examine associations between the CPI demonstration projects and SNAP outcomes, such as timeliness, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Data sources included site visits to SNAP offices and CBO sites in four states, a SNAP client satisfaction survey, analysis of SNAP administrative data, and a review of extant data from SNAP Quality Control reports and state CPI evaluation reports.

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 2014 Report

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), hereafter referred to as “the Committee” or “DACOWITS,” was established in 1951 with a mandate to provide the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) with independent advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to service- women in the Armed Forces of the United States. Individual members of the Committee are appointed by the SECDEF and serve in a voluntary capacity for one- to four-year terms.

It has been the Committee’s approach since 2010, and again in 2014, to divide work into two areas of focus: Wellness and Assignments. The Committee selected speci c topics for study under each area of focus, and gathered both primary and secondary sources of information, including brie ngs from DoD and Service-level military representatives and subject matter experts (SMEs); data and other informa- tion collected from focus groups and interactions with Service members during installation visits; and literature reviews. These sources of information formed the basis for the Committee’s recommendations and reasoning.

The Committee voted on recommendations during its September 2014 business meeting and approved this annual report at its December 2014 business meeting.

Examining the Growth of the Zero-Income SNAP Caseload: Characteristics, Circumstances, and Dynamics of Zero-Income SNAP Households

Volume I: Cross-Sectional, Longitudinal, and Policy Analysis Findings

This report examined the growth of the zero-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) caseload, including characteristics, circumstances, and dynamics of SNAP households with zero income. Data from five waves of the Survey of Income and Program Participation were used to conduct (1) repeated cross-sectional analysis of the characteristics of zero-income SNAP households as compared with other SNAP and non-SNAP households, (2) longitudinal analysis of the dynamics of zero-income status and SNAP participation, and (3) a policy analysis to assess the relationship between zero-income SNAP caseload growth and economic conditions and policy changes.