Pentagon sees ‘minimal risk’ in repealing ‘don’t ask’: report
Repealing the military’s gay ban would result in only “minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts,” but a “significant minority” of soldiers remain opposed to the idea, a Pentagon report is expected to say.
The Washington Post cites two sources familiar with a draft of the report, to be delivered to President Obama on December 1, who say it will give fuel to both sides in the debate over repealing the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits gays from serving openly in the armed forces.
The Post‘s Ed O’Keefe and Greg Jaffe report:
More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, said two sources familiar with the document. The survey results led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them….
Among other questions, the survey asked if having an openly gay person in a unit would have an effect in an intense combat situation. Although a majority of respondents signaled no strong objections, a significant minority is opposed to serving alongside openly gay troops. About 40 percent of the Marine Corps is concerned about lifting the ban, according to one of the people familiar with the report.
The Post reports that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen received copies of the draft last week, which also presents a plan for repealing DADT if lawmakers decide to do so. It also includes general recommendations regarding gay individuals in the military.
Despite the predictions or fears of groups for and against repealing the ban, the report does not anticipate a large “coming out” by gay men and lesbians serving in uniform, said the person who had read the full draft.
Among several recommendations, the report urges an end to the military ban on sodomy between consenting adults regardless of what Congress or the federal courts might do about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the source said.
The report also concludes that gay troops should not be put into a special class for equal employment or discrimination purposes, the individual said. The recommendation is based on feedback the study group obtained from gay troops and same-sex partners who said they do not want a special classification, according to the source. Gay troops were encouraged to participate in the survey and to submit comments to the anonymous online dropbox.
Read the full Post story here.