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Pentagon Study Finds DADT Repeal Poses Minimal Risk

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen released the Pentagon study on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) yesterday. The study, which included a comprehensive survey of military service personnel and their spouses on their views of gays and lesbians openly serving in the military, found that the repeal of DADT would pose low risk to military effectiveness. Nevertheless, Republicans have announced plans to block DADT and the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) until the Senate votes on bills to extend the Bush tax cuts. Seventy percent of those surveyed stated they thought would have a positive, mixed, or no effect. Combat troops expressed the most opposition to the repeal, with 40 percent who thought the repeal of DADT would have negative consequences. Moreover, 46 percent of Marines were against the repeal. Both Gates and Mullen endorsed the report and urged Congress to repeal DADT. In mid November, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his plan to bring the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes an amendment that repeals the so-called policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to the Senate floor for a vote in December. In May, the Defense Spending Bill passed in the House but was filibustered in the Senate. The Bill contains an amendment by Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA) that repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if the repeal is consistent with military readiness, effectiveness, and unit cohesiveness and the Department of Defense “has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to implement its repeal.” DADT was instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993 and prohibits the military from inquiring about a service member’s sexual orientation, and also calls for the discharge of anyone who acknowledges being lesbian or gay. Thus far, the policy has led to the expulsion of more than 13,000 troops.

Sources:

NPR 11/30/10; Human Rights Campaign Press Release 11/30/10

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