With American troops still fighting in Afghanistan, the new Commandant of the U.S. Marines Corps says “now is not the time” to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military ban on openly gay service members.
Gen. James Amos told reporters in San Diego on Saturday that he was concerned about a possible loss of unit cohesion and combat readiness if the ban is overturned.
“There’s risk involved,” Amos said. “I’m trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness.”
“There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women — and when you talk of infantry, we’re talking our young men — laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers.
“I don’t know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that’s what we’re looking at. It’s unit cohesion, it’s combat effectiveness.”
Amos, 63, said any change in the policy could have a unique impact on the Marine Corps, the only branch of the U.S. military that still requires service members to share living quarters.
He said he was reviewing the results of a poll of military members and their families about the potential effects of lifting the ban, but declined to characterize the findings.
The U.S. military has been conducting an official review of the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell,” policy. The results are due next month.