News (USA)

‘Don’t Know, Don’t Care’ — 70% of U.S. military surveyed unfazed by repeal of DADT

The final results of the Defense Department working group’s report on repeal of the 17-year-old “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” ban on openly gay service members reveals that 70 percent of the members of the U. S. armed forces who were surveyed believe it would have little or no effect on their unit’s missions, morale, or operations.

The Pentagon working group, headed by Defense Department General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Commander of the U. S. Army in Europe, General Carter F. Ham, will brief journalists this afternoon regarding the results of the report, which was commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The report’s data represents nine months of research by Johnson, Ham and a 66-member team that met with more than 40 groups, and surveyed 400,000 service personnel and their families.

A copy of the working group’s full report is here (PDF).
The DADT Survey findings are here (PDF).

Among the report’s findings: 69 percent of those responding reported that they had served with someone in their unit who they believed to be gay or lesbian, and of those who did, 92 percent stated that their unit’s ability to work together was very good, good, or neither good nor poor.

U. S. combat units reported similar results with 89 percent of Army units and 84 percent of Marine units saying they had good or neutral experiences working with gay and lesbian servicemembers.

Concurrently, the report found that 30 percent of those surveyed overall & between 40 and 60 percent of the Marine Corps either expressed concern or predicted a negative reactions if the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, was repealed by Congress.

The Pentagon working group concluded that repeal could bring about some limited and isolated disruptions immediately after implementation, however the report’s author’s expressed confidence that the Defense Department and the military establishment would be able to adjust and accommodate changes over the long term.

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