WASHINGTON—A Pentagon study group has concluded that the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would result in only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to current war efforts.
The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that more than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops said the effect of repealing the military’s ban on openly gay service members would be “positive, mixed or nonexistent,” according to two people familiar with a draft of the report .
“The survey results led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them,” The Post reported.
The 370-page document is divided into two sections, the first probing whether striking down the armed services’ anti-gay policy would impact unit cohesion or morale, the second presenting a plan for an efficient implementation of the DADT’s repeal.
Other questions on the survey included whether serving with an openly gay or lesbian soldier in a unit would have an effect in an intense combat situation. A majority of respondents conveyed no significant objections, though a significant minority says they’re opposed to serving alongside openly gay troops—particularly members of the Marine Corps.
The Post reported that defense officials seem pleased with the response rate (upwards of 115,000 troops responded out of 400,000 surveys sent) and believe it reflects an accurate sampling of the military.
The report’s authors put forth several additional recommendations for non-DADT-related military policy affecting LGBT service members. The study encourages an end to the military ban on sodomy between consenting adults even if Congress or federal courts fail to repeal DADT.
An additional conclusions include that openly gay troops should not be put into a “special class” for equal employment or discrimination purposes, based on reported feedback from gay and lesbian service members and same-sex partners who said they do not want such classification.
The Post’s source says the report recommends few to no changes to military housing and benefits policy because the armed services must abide by the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bans recognition of same-sex marriage.
Once released, the findings of the Pentagon’s extensive research will almost certainly serve as a launching point for further vitriolic debate between opponents and supporters of DADT’s repeal, particularly in a Congress mired in partisan impasses over key issues.