Today’s exciting release of the long-awaited Pentagon report for the Secretary of Defense on the effects of repealing Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell will say that allowing gay and lesbian military servicemembers to serve openly
would have little lasting impact on the U.S. armed forces, a major Pentagon review has found, several sources familiar with the results told CNN Tuesday.
Putting an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell,” would have “some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention,” the year-long study found, but the effects would not be long-lasting or widespread.
Results of polling the military reflect America’s stance on DADT repeal:
Overall opposition throughout the military was about 30 percent — roughly the same as it is in America as a whole, according to recent findings from CNN/Opinion Research and the Pew Forum.
There are places where some early trouble might be expected.
There will be some strong minority opposition, particularly in the Marines and some combat arms specialist units, said the chairs of the study, Defense Department General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Army Gen. Carter F. Ham.
As many as 40 to 60 percent of troops in those units were against changing the 17-year-old policy that lets gay and lesbian troops serve as long as their sexual orientation is secret.
The survey is one of the most extensive ever conducted, and completes a nine-month process commissioned by the President for his Secretary of Defense:
Defense Department General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Army Gen. Carter F. Ham will face intense scrutiny this week from lawmakers and advocates for and against ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which bans gays from openly serving in uniform. The future of the ban rests largely with 10 moderate senators who want to read the report before voting on a defense policy bill that would end it.
Johnson and Ham led a 66-person review team that met with gay rights leaders, social conservatives, military chaplains, service members discharged under the policy, the same-sex partners of closeted gay troops and gay veterans. Hundreds of thousands of troops and spouses also provided feedback through written surveys, an online dropbox and town hall meetings at bases around the world.
Finally, a report from AmericaBlog’s Joe Sudbay from a conference call organized by a major advocate of DADT repeal, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:
Just got off a conference call organized by SLDN. The call was billed as a preview of the week ahead “to discuss repealing DADT in the Senate’s lame-duck session, the release of the Comprehensive Working Group Report and the U.S. Senate hearings this week.” It gave a good overview of what we can expect moving forward. I tried to capture the highlights.
SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis began the call by saying, “I think we’re going to see a very historic day unfold before us.” He reported that briefers from the Pentagon were on the Hill this morning to brief Senators and staffers for Armed Services Committee on the report. Aubrey noted that the Executive Summary will be released at 1 pm with a Press Briefing at 2 PM.
Aubrey also said,”We think that this report will be overwhelmingly positive and very constructive.” And, he added, “It will be one of the best tools that repeal advocates can use in the lame duck session.”
“Historic” and “helpful” were the operative words.