Falls Church, VA -- The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs is seeking additional responses to the 2018 Health-Related Behaviors Survey. The survey was emailed to more than 64,000 Soldiers in October 2018. Of that number, only 2,668 Soldiers had responded. DOD Service members have until Feb. 28 to complete the survey.

The DoD asked the independent, non-profit RAND Corporation to design, field and analyze this confidential web-based survey. Data from this survey will be used to improve education, training, treatment and counseling to support the Services and optimize individual and overall health status and fitness.

"This health survey is important to the DoD and the Services, and I strongly encourage you to participate," said Thomas McCaffery, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs.

For those who will be asked to participate, a secure e-mail invitation was sent together with several follow-up reminders by mail and email to complete the survey. The survey will likely take 20-25 minutes to complete and Service members are asked to be as candid as possible when responding.

Although participation in the survey is entirely voluntary, DoD hopes that service members will recognize its importance and find time to sit down privately and answer these health-related questions. The survey can be completed using a government computer during duty hours or a home computer with Internet access. Participants may also use a smartphone or tablet to take the survey.

The HRBS has been conducted approximately every 3 years since 1980 and is used to measure the health related behaviors and lifestyles of military personnel that have the potential to impact readiness.

To protect Service members' privacy, the survey is confidential. This means that DoD, the Services, and the service member's chain of command will never know who has completed the survey. RAND and the survey subcontractor, Westat will never provide DoD with survey responses linked to names, other personal identifiers or military records. These procedures are in place to encourage service members to participate in the survey without fear that anyone will match answers back to names.

As in past years, a summary report with the survey results will be posted to the DoD website as soon as the final report is ready.