One Year Later, Study Finds No Harm To Military From DADT Repeal

Not surprisingly, a new study finds that repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell has not caused any harm to the military.

Replicating the results of other surveys that have come out in recent months, a new study says that allowing gays and lesbians to service openly in the military has not caused any measurable harm to the military:

The repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011 has not had a negative impact on force readiness, recruitment or retention, contrary to predictions that it would, according to a new study published Monday.

The policy, implemented in 1993 while then President Bill Clinton was pushing for openness in the military, was repealed on Sept. 20 last year. Before its enactment and the repeal, service members had said having openly gay troops would harm the military.

But the study by the Palm Center, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military, determined those concerns were unfounded. The research by nine scholars, some professors at military academies, began six months after the policy (known as DADT) ended and wrapped up near the one-year mark.

The scholars said they interviewed opponents and advocates of the repeal, as well as active duty service members who are gay, and conducted on-site field observations of four military units, among other research. They also reached out to 553 of the nearly 1,200 generals and admirals who signed a 2009 letter saying the repeal would undermine the military and eventually got interviews with 13 officers.

“Our conclusion, based on all of the evidence available to us, is that DADT repeal has had no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale,” according to the study. “Although we identified a few downsides that followed from the policy change, we identified upsides as well, and in no case did negative consequences outweigh benefits. If anything, DADT repeal appears to have enhanced the military’s ability to pursue its mission.”

This isn’t entirely surprising, of course. There had been numerous studies prior to the Congressional repeal of DADT that reported that there was no evidence that there would be any negative impact from the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. After repeal had become law, the military itself did careful research to determine the impact that repeal would have and how to best implement it, and generally found that there was no real evidence that allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military would cause harm to unit cohesion or any of the other areas that the military was concerned about. Indeed, there was some anecdotal evidence that repeal would actually benefit the military as a whole because it would eliminate the need for people to hide their private lives and worry about having their military careers ruined by an anonymous tipster.

DADT repeal was, of course, widely opposed by Republicans with a few notable exceptions in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. During the primary campaign, candidates such as Rick Santorum suggested that they would reinstate DADT if they were elected President, a position that seemed to have a fairly large level of support in the party as a whole. Additionally, while the Republican Platform does not explicitly call for DADT to be reinstated, it does contain this language:

The foundation of our military lies in the men and women who wear our country’s uniform, whether on active duty or in the Reserves and National Guard, and the families who support them. Under no circumstances will we reveal any secret or detail of a military operation that could put our people into additional harm’s way. The members of our military should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.

Most of the time when conservatives spoke out against DADT repeal, they called allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve as “social experimentation,” as if treating people equally was some kind of new-fangled thing. I don’t think that this passage indicates that a Republican President would reverse course on DADT repeal, though. The ship on this issue has largely sailed. It’s been a year now since the repeal became official, and before that happened it enjoyed the support of the vast majority of the command-level officers serving in the Pentagon, as well as the American people. Indeed, I think the fact that the platform doesn’t explicitly call for DADT to be reinstated is a fairly blatant admission by the GOP that they would never be able to achieve this goal and that they don’t intend to spend any political capital on it if they do gain power.

This study, though, does remind me somewhat of the arguments that many on the right make against same-sex marriage. They claim that it will lead to the degradation of the family and the institution of marriage, although one wonders how they can look at the divorce rates in this country and make that argument with a straight face.  They claim that it will harm children, even though there’s no credible evidence that children raised in same-sex homes end up any worse off than children raised in a “traditional” family (not to mention the fact that adoption by a gay couple seems far better than being raised in a single parent household.) They make all kind of other claims about the alleged harms that would come if we recognized the equal rights of same-sex couples under the law.  Given how wrong they were about the alleged dangers of repealing DADT, a fact that should have been recognized simply by observing the status of American allies who have allowed gays to serve openly, including Israel), one wonders why their claims are even taken seriously at this point. We now live in a world where same-sex marriage has been the law in many states for many years, and yet, just as with the repeal of DADT, none of the doom and  gloom that opponents have predicted has come to pass. They were wrong about DADT, they will be proven wrong about same-sex marriage. It’s time for them to move on.

Here’s the study from The Palm Center:

DADT Repeal One Year Out

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. stonetools says:

    Thank you, President Obama. You finished the good work that Bill Clinton started and the Republicans demagogued against. Yet another reason to vote for Obama, Doug, if you had an open mind about this.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Excellent post. A long, well-sourced, well thought-out post. (He says, reminding people who have been a bit extreme in their criticisms of Doug.)

    Don’t expect mere facts to have any impact whatsoever on conservatives, ranging from the increasingly desperate-for-relevance John McCain down to the hardcore Bible-thumping and Book-of-Mormon-thumping loons who make up the heart and soul of the GOP.

    It was never even slightly about the effect on the military. It’s pure bigotry. Bigots don’t change positions for mere facts.

  3. Argon says:

    And the score remains…

    GOP projections of fear: 0
    Reality: infinity

  4. EMRVentures says:

    So, after years upon years of gays serving in the military, last year’s decision to let gays serve in the military has not, in fact, harmed the military. We’re all as surprised as you, Doug.

    I have no well-informed basis for saying this, but I have to think that compared to the racial and gender integration of the military, this one was easy.

  5. Hoot Gibson says:

    Everyone should remember that it was Bill Clinton—-the guy every leftwinger is now swooning over—who implemented DODT.

    Facts can be inconvenient—-for mindless partisans.

    Could Bill Clinton be nominated by the Dem Party today for POTUS?

    Not likely with his NAFTA, DOMA, DODT, welfare reform,balanced budget etc.

    The leftwingers always shriek about how far to the right the GOP has gone, but hey, just take a look at how far left the Dem Party has gone.

    Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be. lol

  6. DC Loser says:

    And another social nonevent comes and goes as obsolescent moral taboos come tumbling down.

  7. Hoot Gibson,

    Nice try, but your analysis ignores the fact that, prior to Clinton, the official military policy was that homosexuality was a court martial offense. Clinton tried to completely repeal that and implement a policy that would’ve allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly, but there was a rebellion both in Congress and among the military leadership. DADT was a compromise and was, at least initially, considered a step forward for gay rights in the military.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    Could Bill Clinton be nominated by the Dem Party today for POTUS?

    By acclamation. You may have noticed the entire DNC hanging on his every word as he endorsed Mr. Obama. Or did you miss that?

  9. mattb says:

    Beautiful Irony and instant karma:
    @Hoot “Facts can be inconvenient—-for mindless partisans.” Gibson meet lots of inconvenient facts that disprove your mindlessly partisan position courtesy of Mr. @Mataconis.

  10. Bennett says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Don’t even bother Doug. That was a tame post. Mosey on over to the Hot Air post on this subject. Get a real feel for how the GOP base thinks of DADT repeal. It’s pretty ugly. Gay bashing, comparing homosexuality to adultery, denying that suicides have resulted from gay bullying. Somehow Occupy Wall Street gets brought into it. Nuts, all of ’em.

  11. Ron Beasley says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I agree Doug, Clinton did all he could do at the time.

  12. anjin-san says:

    Everyone should remember that it was Bill Clinton—-the guy every leftwinger is now swooning over—who implemented DODT.

    I remember that, at the time, it was a huge step forward for equal rights & equal protection under the law. I would like to take the opportunity to, once again, thank President Clinton.

  13. sam says:

    Hoot’s spent too much time on the range romancing cows.

  14. al-Ameda says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    The leftwingers always shriek about how far to the right the GOP has gone, but hey, just take a look at how far left the Dem Party has gone.

    Exactly, and here’s how far to the left Democrats have moved:

    A Democratic administration captured and killed Osama Bin Laden and ousted Qaddafi, supported TARP to save the American banking system, saved hundreds of thousands auto industry jobs, supports equal protection under the law for gay and lesbian citizens, and joined Republicans in supporting NAFTA and the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Patriot Act.

  15. Hoot Gibson says:

    More “fact-based” intellectual arguments from sam:

    “Hoot’s spent too much time on the range romancing cows.”

    Is that all you’ve got?

    You leftwing intellectuals crack me up!

  16. @Bennett:

    I just looked at Hot Air. I see no post about DADT.

  17. @michael reynolds:

    Considering that Bill Clinton currently has a 66% approval rating from Gallup, I think he’d probably win quite easily if he could be nominated.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    This is just one more thing Republicans claim to be the absolute authority on…that they are in fact totally clueless about.
    In a perfect world we could gather all the so-called experts that were wrong about this up and say; “…sorry, you are an idiot and we are not listening to you ever again…”
    But no…they’ll be on TV tonight pontificating on something they know nothing about.

  19. Hoot Gibson says:

    According to Al-a Ron Paul and ralph nader are right—there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the GO:P and Dems.

    Another reason to vote for “smart and pragmatic” ideologue Barack Obama-.-he’s just like George W. Bush!

  20. Hoot Gibson says:

    The main reason Clinton has such high approval ratings is people realize what a talented politician can accomplish.

    Obama has already said it’s his way or the highway on taxing the rich. Obama will not compromise. When the GOP took over congress for the first time in 40 years Clinton got pragmatic and started working with the GOP; when Obama got a drubbing in ’10 he doubled down on leftwing ideology and ran against “do nothing congress” even though his own party controlled the Senate.

    Clinton knew how to work across party lines to get things done, Obama is just a hard-core ideologue and nothing will change if he is re-elected—he’s already told us that.

    That Democrats are nostalgic for a Democrat president who can get stuff done is not surprising—that they still support Obama is surprising.

    ok, not really. Partisanship causes brain damage.

  21. cd6 says:
  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    Clinton knew how to work across party lines to get things done, Obama is just a hard-core ideologue and nothing will change if he is re-elected—he’s already told us that.

    I love Bill Clinton. I love a natural talent, and Mr. Clinton is that in spades. But your position is just factually wrong, as you should be able to recognize from a single issue: health care reform. Mr. Clinton failed. Mr. Obama succeeded. He did it in the face of absolute Republican intransigence that included Republicans denouncing their own ideas.

    In fact, Bill Clinton accomplished not much of enduring significance. Mr. Obama has health care reform, Wall Street reform, the rescue of the financial sector, the stimulus, the rescue of the auto industry, the “integration” of the military and the decimation of Al Qaeda to his credit. And he did it all with zero help from your side, and did it in the face of an economic meltdown, and did it without Mr. Clinton’s transcendent political communication skills.

  23. Rob in CT says:

    Is that all you’ve got?

    No, quite obviously, since you totally ignored the multiple posts pointing out the obvious (that you’re totally wrong), and zeroed in on the 1 post that went ad hom on you.

    Obama will not compromise

    This is willfully ignorant. Par for the course with you.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    And by the way, this late-in-the-game GOP love for Mr. Clinton is pitifully dishonest and hypocritical. Your party tried to overthrow the duly-elected President of the United States with a putsch in the form of an impeachment. The only thing that stopped you was that the polls turned very, very bad for your side overnight.

    You people hated Bill Clinton. Don’t rewrite history. You hated him.

  25. Lynda says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    Partisanship causes brain damage

    Well it certainly appears to have caused memory loss in your case

    “Clinton knew how to work across party lines to get things done”

    This the same Bill Clinton that Republicans were so keen to forge bipartisan deals with they shut down the government?

    The same Bill Clinton that was so nonpartisan that over 200 Republican members of Congress voted to impeach?

  26. sam says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    Is that all you’ve got?

    I’ll put up more against you, easily, when your posts contain some substance instead of being the intellectual equivalent of a belch.

  27. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Interesting study.

    Given that Clinton was CIC up through January 2001, and had absolute power over the federal government through January 1995, one can’t help but wonder how and why DADT lasted so long.

    That aside, what’s quite ironic about these types of rants is that you could substitute “blacks” for “Republicans” and factually speaking nothing would change. Hell, perhaps no demographic in the country is more stridently opposed to gays and lesbians in the military and to same sex marriages than black preachers and black churchgoers, of whom there are many, many millions.

    Which begs the (rhetorical) question: Would a white liberal ever walk up to a black preacher and tell him to his face that he’s a bigot for opposing same-sex marriages or for opposing gays and lesbians in the military? Um, no, they wouldn’t. Obviously not. But here’s the real question: Does the white social left wing even grasp that irony?

  28. Rob in CT says:

    You people hated Bill Clinton. Don’t rewrite history. You hated him.

    Yes, this too.

    I remember the 90s. I can still remember Limbaugh ranting through my family’s radio about libruls and the Clintonmonster.

    To be fair, Clinton himself is indulging in this BS about how the Republicans of the 90s could sit down and make a deal – yeah, only after the gov’t shutdown blew up in their faces.

  29. Rob in CT says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    What is this bullshit?

    First off: yes, I would call a bigot a bigot. Bigotry is not some special disability of white people. Second, regarding why SoCon AA’s are not Republicans, why don’t you have a little chat with superdestroyer, eh?

    In the future, it’s entirely possible to imagine SoCons of all races uniting in one party. That isn’t currently so for reasons that circle right back to bigotry.

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Would a white liberal ever walk up to a black preacher and tell him to his face that he’s a bigot for opposing same-sex marriages or for opposing gays and lesbians in the military? Um, no, they wouldn’t.

    I’m a white liberal. I’ll say here – and if I ever run into a black minister and we talk politics I’ll say it to him or her directly — that they are bigots to oppose gay marriage.

    And pop goes the Tsar yet again.

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Also, not just white liberals willing to say it.

    This week, the hip-hop star-entrepreneur and longtime supporter of Barack Obama echoed the president’s sentiments on the topic of gay marriage. Denouncing gay rights “is no different than discriminating against blacks,” Jay-Z told CNN. “It’s discrimination, plain and simple.”

  32. C. Clavin says:

    @ Tsar…
    “…Which begs the (rhetorical) question: Would a white liberal ever walk up to a black preacher and tell him to his face that he’s a bigot for opposing same-sex marriages or for opposing gays and lesbians in the military? ”
    The answer is that, yes, that’s essentially what Obama did…and many preachers said, yes, it’s true…we need to evolve.
    But let’s re-phrase the question.
    What Member of today’s so-called Republican leadership would walk up to a rich person and tell them they need to pay more taxes.
    These questions aren’t hypothetical because we can see the evidence.
    Repeatedly Obama has done what’s right…whether its DADT, or Gay Marriage, or making sure catastrophic illness doesn’t bankrupt people, or securing the border and helping young immigrants, or bringing justice to the victims of 9/11.
    Republicans have stood up for the richest amongst us.
    Facts…they suck if you are a Republican.

  33. anjin-san says:

    Considering that Bill Clinton currently has a 66% approval rating from Gallup, I think he’d probably win quite easily if he could be nominated.

    I’m inclined to agree. In the meantime GW is a no-person in GOP circles.

    I like Obama, but the intelligence & talent Clinton possesses is a rare thing.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    Second, regarding why SoCon AA’s are not Republicans, why don’t you have a little chat with superdestroyer, eh?

    Exactly right…blacks and Hispanics are groups that could be with Republicans on so many issues, but there’s that whole pesky racism (whether overt or dog whistle) thing that pushes them right into the Democratic column…I wonder if Tsar Nicholas and people like him grasp the irony of this…

  35. rocksandbroncs says:

    No, Michael Reynolds, this is pure propaganda. It’s like surveying the Hell’s Angels and concluding that Harley Davidsons are the most popular motorcycle in the world. Board / executives of the firm producing the ‘study’:
    Campaign Contribution figures from OpenSecrets.org
    BELKIN, AARON C SAN FRANCISCO,CA 94110 UCSB/PROFESSOR 6/25/04 $250 Kerry, John (D)
    BELKIN, AARON DR SAN FRANCISCO,CA 94110 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA/PROFESSOR 10/26/06 $250 DemocraticCongressional Campaign Cmte (D)

    Aaron Belkin from web page

    Organizational strategy. Belkin is interested in the leadership and management of “progressive” “social justice” organizations, in particular how they achieve and measure success, how they attract media and public attention to their messages, how they obtain funding, and how they motivate personnel to remain committed to key missions

    Christopher Neff

    He also served on the Board of the Equality Federation of state-wide LGBT political organizations for six years, served as the President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. in 2006 and started the first LGBTQ lobbyist’s group in Washington, the Q Street Project in 2005. Christopher has worked as a congressional staffer for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and Senator John Warner of Virginia.

    Indra Lusero

    to develop the leadership of people of color in LGBT organizations.

    Andrew Lane

    In addition to the Palm Center he serves on the boards of Funders for Lesbian & Gay Issues, the LGBT Movement Advancement Project, the Paul Rapoport Foundation (where he was President from 2006-09) and the Queer Youth Fund. He is also a former board member of the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. Andy is a resident of New York City and a graduate of Hamilton College.

    If you’re interested in the truth you can notGoogle it yourself

  36. rocksandbroncs says:

    Since this is a left-leaning website I’m not surprised that how I format my comments is dictated to me and severely limits the message I want to convey. Ergo, this is my last comment here.

  37. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    There is not a single fiscal issue where blacks or Hispanics have ever demonstrate any interest in being a conservative.

    Also, can two groups that support affirmative action, set asides, quotas, and race norming ever be considered conservative. The idea that because blacks go to church more than whites that blacks are social conservatives is laughable.

    The reason that blacks have issues with homosexuals is that homosexuals are ahead of blacks in the pecking order of political correctness.

  38. KariQ says:

    @rocksandbroncs:

    Since this is a left-leaning website

    I’m sure it will surprise Doug, James, and Steven that they have become radical lefties.

  39. superdestroyer says:

    @KariQ:

    When 90% of the commenters are progressives and any comment that does not echo boiler plate progressives views is immediately voted down, then yes, Outsidethebelway is a leftist site. When was the last time that any of the posters took President Obama to task for any policy?

  40. An Interested Party says:

    The idea that because blacks go to church more than whites that blacks are social conservatives is laughable.

    The reason that blacks have issues with homosexuals is that homosexuals are ahead of blacks in the pecking order of political correctness.

    Democrats can only hope that most conservatives and Republicans think this way as that will only help Democrats and hurt Republicans…I am curious to know how superdestroyer is such an expert on how black people think…

  41. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Unlike many white progressives, I work in a career area with large numbers of blacks and live in a metropolitan area with a large black population. As I have written many times, I always find it Ironic when any African-American complains about paying taxes. That is when I realized that blacks believe high taxes are paid by others.

    To believe that affluent white, highly educated homosexuals have anything in common with blacks other than their hatred of middle class white America is laughable. If you look at the politically correct pecking order, homosexuals are ahead of blacks.

    Why do you think so many black ministers get themselves into trouble by saying politically incorrect things about homosexuals?

  42. An Interested Party says:

    Unlike many white progressives, I work in a career area with large numbers of blacks and live in a metropolitan area with a large black population.

    No wonder they scare you so much…

  43. Rob in CT says:

    @rocksandbroncs:

    Rocksforbrains, apparently.

    Your formatting problems are your own. It has nothing to do with political bias.

    Internets! How do they work?! Help, help, I’m being oppressed.

    Funny stuff.

  44. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I love Bill Clinton. I love a natural talent, and Mr. Clinton is that in spades. But your position is just factually wrong, as you should be able to recognize from a single issue: health care reform. Mr. Clinton failed. Mr. Obama succeeded. He did it in the face of absolute Republican intransigence that included Republicans denouncing their own ideas.

    Speaking from the health care comfort of Canada, I’m not sure I’d call what Obama got through a success. Better than nothing I guess, but not by much, and I wonder if that extreme compromise is going to make it much harder to actually get a good health care system (like say France or Germany) through.

  45. Rob in CT says:

    @george:

    This is a subject of some debate, obviously, amongst those who think universal health insurance is a good thing. There are those of us inclined to view it as a step in the right direction, preferring the good to the perfect (and likely unattainable – certainly for now). And there are those of us who think that this half-step of a reform to our Rube Goldberg healthcare “system” delays the inevitable coming of single payer.

    I tend toward the former view. I see no particular reason to believe that leaving things as they were made moving toward medicare-for-all more likely.

  46. Al says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Downvoting comments espousing birtherism, race baiting, and whining about “PC” and the liberal media isn’t a progressive vs. conservative thing. It’s just downvoting dumb content.

    What does conservative philosophy say about the marketplace consistently not valuing something? That the problem lies in that something or in the marketplace?

  47. al-Ameda says:

    @Hoot Gibson:

    Clinton knew how to work across party lines to get things done, Obama is just a hard-core ideologue and nothing will change if he is re-elected—he’s already told us that.

    LOL! Those rose-colored glasses are are really black out drapes.
    Republicans loved working with Bill so much that they investigated Bill for 6 years and impeached him.

  48. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    When 90% of the commenters are progressives and any comment that does not echo boiler plate progressives views is immediately voted down, then yes, Outsidethebelway is a leftist site. When was the last time that any of the posters took President Obama to task for any policy?

    You mean like opposition to Obama’s policies with respect to: the ongoing War in Afghanistan, re-upping the Patriot Act, reducing the employee-paid FICA-Medicare Tax? Things like that?

  49. al-Ameda says:

    @rocksandbroncs:

    BELKIN, AARON C SAN FRANCISCO,CA 94110 UCSB/PROFESSOR 6/25/04 $250 Kerry, John (D)
    BELKIN, AARON DR SAN FRANCISCO,CA 94110 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA/PROFESSOR 10/26/06 $250 DemocraticCongressional Campaign Cmte (D)

    Total contributions there, $500 – damned near equal to Sheldon Adelson or the Koch brothers.

  50. superdestroyer says:

    @Al:

    Any comment that does not parrot the conventional progressive line is voted down. Progressives are natural bullies to function from a POV and they are correct and everyone else is an idiot.

    As long as anything outside of liberal boilerplate is considered “dumb” then that website will be considered liberal.

  51. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I find those comments few and far between. The standard boiler plate for progressives is to blame Bush II for everything. If it has to do with Afghanistan, it is Bush;s fault. If it has to do with the Patriot Act, it is Bush;s fault.

    President Obama will leave office in 2017 with all of the progressives regretting that President Obama was never really able to overcome Bush;s economy.

    The standard play for progressives is to say that everything liberal is good and everything conservative/libertarian is bad. Then progressives want to get into a nitpicking fight when conservative make any claims but will never back up their own claims.

  52. matt says:

    @superdestroyer: I’ve heard the same shit from white people for decades now. What you’re describing is a human tendency independent of race (a social construct).