A newly released study finds that the repeal of the military’s ban on gay and lesbian service members “had no overall negative impact on military readiness” — and in some cases even improved the ability to perform missions.
Professors and researchers at the Palm Center, which promotes studies of LGBT people in the armed forces, interviewed 553 generals and admirals who warned that the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” would hurt military readiness, as well as other activists and opponents of repeal, and came to the conclusion (PDF) that “DADT repeal has had no negative impact on overall military readiness or its component parts: unit cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale.”
“While repeal produced a few downsides for some military members — mostly those who personally opposed the policy change — we identified important upsides as well, and in no case did negative consequences outweigh advantages,” the study authors wrote.
And in some cases, gay and lesbian troops serving openly provided a benefit to the military.
“Contrary to expectations of a post-repeal decline in readiness, we uncovered considerable evidence in our open-ended interviews about ways in which the new policy has enhanced the military’s ability to pursue its mission,” the study said. “More specifically, both experts and service members told us that repeal had enhanced military readiness in the areas of discipline, command, family readiness and spirituality.”
“The evidence we uncovered from our ten research strategies indicates that DADT repeal has not undermined overall readiness, and even well-known opponents of repeal did not identify any persuasive evidence indicating that readiness has declined.”
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