Pentagon Report Misses Mark
Special Report - December 1, 2010
Yesterday, the Pentagon released the results of its 10-month review of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, which prohibits homosexuals from openly serving in the United States Armed Services. The report found that 30 percent of Service members anticipate a negative effect should the law be repealed, compared to less than 20 percent of Service members anticipating a positive effect. More than half of Service members who responded to a survey believe “that repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would have mixed or no effect.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requested the review of DADT to “assess the impact of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting, retention, and family readiness; and [to] recommend appropriate changes, if necessary, to existing regulations, policies, and guidance in the event of repeal.” During the review, 400,000 active-duty and reserve Service members were given the opportunity to complete a survey related to DADT with 29 percent responding. Nearly 30 percent of the 150,000 military spouses given the opportunity chose to participate. The review team also met with more than 40 groups representing homosexual troops and veterans and their spouses and partners, and considered emails and town hall statements from troops and spouses.
The report’s authors wrote that “aside from the moral and religious objections to homosexuality,” they “repeatedly … heard service members express the view that ‘open’ homosexuality would lead to widespread and overt displays of effeminancy among men, homosexual promiscuity, harassment and unwelcome advances within units, invasions of personal privacy, and a small overall erosion of standards of conduct, unit cohesion and morality.” However, the authors dismissed these views as being “driven by misperceptions and stereotypes” as well as “exaggerated, and not consistent with the reported experiences of many Service members.” They concluded with their assessment that “the risk of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to overall military effectiveness is low,” and despite “some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention” in the short term, they “do not believe this disruption will be widespread or long-lasting, and can be adequately addressed by the recommendations” included in the report.
Those recommendations include increased training and education in lieu of creating separate facilities, allowing any Service member dismissed under DADT to re-enlist, a careful analysis of the costs of extending certain benefits,” looking particularly at creating three categories for benefits, making some “member designated,” which would allow Service members to choose who can receive them, and recognizing that some benefits cannot be extended to same-sex partners because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Additionally, the authors called for a change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice “to remove language forbidding consensual sodomy,” regardless of whether DADT is repealed.
On the same day the Pentagon released its review, the Family Research Council and the Center for Security Policy co-released a public opinion survey of active duty and retired military families that found 63 percent of them oppose repeal of DADT. The Pentagon survey did not ask either Service members or their spouses for their position on repeal of DADT. The FRC survey of 10,000 members from all branches of the military found that opposition to repeal is highest in the Air Force (68 percent), lowest in the Coast Guard (59 percent), and higher among men (67 percent) than among women (58 percent).
"While the American public is clearly divided over open homosexuality in the military, this new data indicates the folks who matter mostthe men and women in uniform who are willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us are overwhelmingly opposed to changing the law,” according to Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney.
“No level of risk should be acceptable merely to advance a radical social agenda,” Said Marine Corps veteran and FRC president, Tony Perkins, in a statement. “Media reports to the effect that a majority of service members 'would not have a problem' with homosexuals in the military overlook the fact that the surveys did not ask whether respondents support repeal of the current law. If most service members say that under a different policy, they would continue to attempt to do their job in a professional manner, that is only what we would expect. This does not mean that a new policy would not undermine the overall effectiveness of the force. And if even a small percentage of our armed forces would choose not to re-enlist, or part of the public would choose not to serve in the first place, the impact on the military would be catastrophic.”
Link to Pentagon DADT Report Web page - November 30, 2010
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Stay - November 16, 2010
Court Stays DADT Injunction - November 4, 2010
Homosexuals In Military Decision Stayed - October 21, 2010
Social Issues Stop Defense Spending Bill - September 23, 2010
Court Refuses "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Case - June 8, 2009
Don't Ask, Don't Tell - Interview - July 24, 2010 Download (mp3) (wma)
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