To: Commanding Officers/Officers-in-Charge, Survey Administrators, and Survey Respondents
Subj: POLICIES REGARDING THE U.S. MARINE CORPS GROUND CLIMATE ASSESSMENT SURVEY SYSTEM (GCASS) PROCESS
1. Background. The GCASS process was designed to provide battalion and squadron-level commanders with a means by which to survey their Marines with regard to safety issues, and receive real-time feedback on their attitudes and perceptions. A key goal of this survey method is to identify and correct latent organizational conditions that may lead to increased mishap potential. Following survey administration, battalion/squadron commanders receive feedback concerning key issues regarding command climate, safety culture, resource availability, workload, estimated success of certain safety intervention programs, and other factors relating to safely managing their unit's operations. The GCASS process helps battalion/squadron commanders identify safety concerns (hazards) and highlight areas where they might best focus their efforts (hazard assessment). Battalion/squadron commanders and their safety departments are then in position to use this information to develop strategies (risk decisions) and then implement those strategies (controls) to better their organization's performance.
2. Policy. The following policies have been established regarding the GCASS system. These policies form the cornerstone for successful use of these tools, and protect the features that make the process as valuable as it has come to be:
- Survey Response Anonymity - An individual must be free to respond without fear of reprisal, whether the fear is real or perceived. Without this, the data gathered may be inaccurate and of minimal use to the commanding officer.
- Unit Survey Results are Confidential - Unit survey results belong to the unit. COs/OICs are permitted to view the survey results of the prior CO’s last two surveys. Unit results are not provided to any higher headquarters to avoid the perception that the results are used as a unit safety report card.
- Restricted Access Codes Provided to the CO/OIC - Access to unit survey results are left to the discretion of the unit commanding officer for distribution as they see fit.
- Ability of Higher Headquarters to Access Aggregate Data - Higher headquarters personnel have the ability to review aggregate survey data at a macro-level in order to address community-wide issues.
- Ability to Conduct Unfettered Research/Analysis of Data - Safety researchers in the academic environment have limited access to data, on an "as-needed" basis, to address issues regarding safety climate and culture.
It is imperative that we maintain these attributes in order to gather honest data. Any breach of faith might jeopardize the integrity and future value of this process.