Pentagon: DADT Repeal Would Pose No Threat To Military Readiness

The Pentagon has spoken. Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell would not cause any real harm to the military, they have said. Now, the ball is in the court of the United States Senate.

The long-awaited Pentagon report on repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell seems to put to rest the final arguments being advanced by those who would continue to bar gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military:

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has concluded that allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the United States armed forces presents a low risk to the military’s effectiveness, even at a time of war, and that 70 percent of service members believe that the impact of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law would be either positive, mixed or of no consequence at all.

In an exhaustive nine-month study on the effects of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the 17-year-old policy that requires service members to keep their sexual orientation secret or face discharge, the authors concluded that while in the short run a repeal would likely bring about “some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention,” it could be mitigated by effective leadership.

The report, by Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon’s chief counsel, and Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of the United States Army in Europe, also found that much of the concern in the armed forces about openly gay service members was driven by misperceptions and stereotypes. Leaving aside those with moral and religious objections to homosexuality, the authors said that the concerns were “exaggerated and not consistent with the reported experiences of many service members.”

At a news conference on Tuesday announcing the release of the report, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said that repeal “would not be the wrenching, traumatic change that many have feared and predicted.”

Nonetheless, he said that there were higher levels of “discomfort” about repealing the law among those in the combat branches of the military, and that “those findings remain a source of concern to the service chiefs and to me.” He said the concerns were not insurmountable, but that implementing any repeal should be done carefully and with more preparation of the military’s combat forces.

At the same time, Mr. Gates said it was a “matter of urgency” that the lame-duck Senate vote in the next weeks to repeal the law. If not, he said there would be a fight in the courts and the possibility that the repeal would be “imposed immediately by judicial fiat.”

Not surprisingly, there are some differences among the service branches regarding attitudes toward DADT repeal:

In a survey of 115,000 service members, the report found distinct differences among the service branches. While 30 percent predicted repeal would have some negative effects, some 40 to 60 percent of the Marine Corps and those in some combat specialties said it would be negative.

The report also found that a majority — 69 percent — believed they had already worked with a gay man or woman, and of those the vast majority — 92 percent — reported that the unit’s ability to work together was very good, good or “neither good nor poor.”

In the most strongly worded section of the report, the authors concluded that while their mandate was to assess the impact of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — and not whether it should be repealed — they had done just that.

“We are both convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war,” Mr. Johnson and General Ham wrote. “We do not underestimate the challenges in implementing a change in the law, but neither should we underestimate the ability of our extraordinarily dedicated service men and women to adapt to such change and continue to provide our nation with the military capability to accomplish any mission.”

Where we go from here is unclear. Several Senators have said they want to hold hearings on the report, and Senator Lindsay Graham recently said that DADT repeal is “going nowhere” in the current lame duck session. Nonetheless, as I noted earlier this month, there’s at least some indication that there may be enough votes in the Senate to defeat cloture on the Defense
Authorization Bill with DADT repeal attached.

While there isn’t much time for the Senate to act, a switch of only three votes from September’s cloture vote would be enough to invoke cloture and defeat the filibuster attempt that will apparently be led by John McCain. Nonetheless, the strong words today from Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen in support of repeal and urging the Senate to pass DADT repeal and let it become law may just be enough to convince at least three Senators to cross the lines and vote in favor of cloture. Based on the conclusions of this report, that’s certainly what they should do.

Here’s a copy of the report:

Pentagon Report On DADT Repeal

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. Rob in Denver says:

    Tweet of the moment from pourmecoffee:

    Everyone close their eyes for a minute; maybe @SenJohnMcCain will quietly crawl out of DADT corner he backed himself into.




    0



    0
  2. michael reynolds says:

    So this would be, what, the 48th issue about which liberals were right and conservatives wrong?
     
    Is there any chance — any chance at all — that conservatives might take a moment and think, “You know, the next time we decide to attack some group of people because Jesus told us to, or because they’re just different than we are, we’re going to stop ourselves.  We’re not going to ignore the evidence and basic human decency.  Next time we’ll just say no.”
     
    Nah.




    0



    0
  3. ponce says:

    “DADT Repeal Would Pose No Threat To Military Readiness”
     
    Of course it wouldn’t.
     
    But a DADT repeal would pose a huge threat to the Republican’s bigoted fund raising and recruiting efforts.




    0



    0
  4. Steve Plunk says:

    This very well could be the 48th issue conservatives have gotten wrong but compared to the thousands liberals have gotten wrong I wouldn’t want to keep score.  Blaming Jesus is bigoted by the way.
     
    Changing attitudes about gays serving in the military has been a long process and rightly so.  Those who expect the military and even society to change quickly are just impatient.  Now that the study is complete it’s time.  Was it time 6 months ago?  Maybe not, maybe the study needed to be done.
     
    Whatever the outcome I just hope it comes quickly so we can stop talking about it.




    0



    0
  5. michael reynolds says:

    Whatever the outcome I just hope it comes quickly so we can stop talking about it.

     
    Right.  Just the way conservatives always reacts once the realization that they’ve been bigots is forced down their reluctant throats.  “Okay, now that we’ve f**ked up enough lives, let’s all pretend it never happened.”




    0



    0
  6. WhiteSnow says:

    At my age (long in the tooth) it’s my lifetime observation that gays are just as American as the rest of us.  I support them in their struggle as a VietNam veteran.
     
    About this, I just read a thriller where Americans finally stand up to tyranny & do something.  Reminds me of this struggle.  It’s a great read & I recommend it!
     
    http://www.booksbyoliver.com
    Thanks to those to we helping other Americans like this blog.  Don’t ever give up!




    0



    0
  7. An Interested Party says:

    “Blaming Jesus is bigoted by the way.”
    Oh, it’s not about blaming Jesus, but rather, blaming people who hold bigoted views because they think Jesus would tell them that was the right thing to do…




    0



    0
  8. anjin-san says:

    > Those who expect the military and even society to change quickly are just impatient.
     
    Yea. WTF do people get off thinking they are entitled to equal justice under the law?




    0



    0
  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***”Okay, now that we’ve f**ked up enough lives, let’s all pretend it never happened.”***
     
    Harry, you have just summed up the whole sorry, sad and mega death experiment known as humanism. You forgot the part about how its gonna work this time as it is  presented as  new and original thought.




    0



    0
  10. Herb says:

    “Now that the study is complete it’s time.  Was it time 6 months ago?  Maybe not, maybe the study needed to be done.”
     
    Agreed that it’s time, but let’s be real…..Dan Choi was more than ready to serve 6 months ago.  He was so ready that he had ALREADY served a few years in Iraq.  Good thing we waited for this study to tell us what Lt. Choi already knew and already lived.




    0



    0
  11. Rock says:

    A defective moral compass always points in the wrong direction.




    0



    0
  12. george says:

    You’d think this would just about settle the issue …




    0



    0
  13. Wayne says:

    Combat troops which are the ones most affected by it are against repeal by better than 60 %.  Gates is a civilian appointed by Obama. No reason to question his position, right.
     Did anyone expect a study done with supervision by liberal politicians not to come out in support of the liberal position?
    Shouldn’t Congress take time and examine the study before blindly signing off on it? Of I forgot, signing bills before reading them or passing bills so we can know what is in it, is the way it should be done at least according to Pelosi. Thank god this particular congress is about done. Hopefully the next one will be much better.
     
    Go ahead and start calling me names. It is not like you can argue the talking points.

     

     

     




    0



    0
  14. anjin-san says:

    > Gates is a civilian appointed by Obama.
     
    Are you actually questioning Robert Gates integrity? This is a man who has served his country with considerable distinction under both Republican and Democratic administrations. He was originally appointed by Bush, and Obama kept him on because of the outstanding job he has done at DOD and the vast respect he enjoys from both sides of the political spectrum.
     
    Yet you dismiss him as a “liberal politician”, and are ready to trash him because it suits your partisan agenda. Sad.




    0



    0
  15. anjin-san says:

    Also worth noting, McCain’s recent claim that Gates never served in the military is utter crap.
     
    http://www.defense.gov/bios/biographydetail.aspx?biographyid=115




    0



    0
  16. Wayne says:

    Gates serves his boss which is Obama now. Gates findings when he work for Bush was often question by Dems\liberals as they did with Rumsfeld.  If a boss tells his employee to concentrate\emphasize this or that part of a study, a employees usually follows his boss’s orders.
     
    Once again why not let Congress look a little deeper into his findings?

     

     

     




    0



    0
  17. anjin-san says:

    > Gates serves his boss which is Obama now. Gates findings when he work for Bush was often question by Dems\liberals as they did with Rumsfeld.  If a boss tells his employee to concentrate\emphasize this or that part of a study, a employees usually follows his boss’s orders.
     
    You are doing Gates a huge disservice, and you are revealing a lot about yourself in the process. The world is full of people who are ready to tell their bosses things they don’t want to hear. The fact that you don’t know any does not mean they do not exist.
    Gates serves at the pleasure of the President, but he does not “serve” him personally, nor is he any kind of  a yes man. He stayed on at DOD out of a sense of duty, not because he needs the job. A dozen opportunities most people would never dream of await him the day after leaving his current position.
     
    (BTW, I was a vocal support of Gates when he served under Bush – the appointment was one of Bush’s better moves. Most Democrats who are not strictly dogmatic supported him as well.)
     
    Just because you live in a small world, don’t assume that everyone does.
     
    > Once again why not let Congress look a little deeper into his findings?
     
    Because we are tired of watching the GOP play kick the can down the road with this issue. Brave men and women who are ready to fight and die to protect YOUR freedom are being forced to live a lie for the privelege. It is un-American, and it is unacceptable.




    0



    0
  18. Wayne says:

    In others word, there is no need to look at the study, read the bills etc.




    0



    0
  19. anjin-san says:

    > In others word, there is no need to look at the study, read the bills etc.
     
    In other words, you have nothing but that incredibly lame comeback.
     
    Just remember Wayne, there are gay men & women prepared to die to protect your freedom to make these semi-literate posts. You should really consider showing them the respect they have earned.
     
    But something tells me you won’t.




    0



    0
  20. Wayne says:

    Anjin
    There are straight man and veterans like myself who have and are willing to lay their lives on the line.  Where is your respect for them?




    0



    0
  21. anjin-san says:

    > Where is your respect for them?
     
    It has been expressed here many times. But it does not extend to giving them the right to discriminate if they feel like it. Equal justice under the law. Period.
     
    I notice you answered a question with a question. If you are going to bring your status as a vet into the discussion, how about manning up and answering instead of hiding?




    0



    0