In March 2009, an open letter signed by more than 1,100 retired admirals and generals claimed that repealing America's "don't ask, don't tell" policy would "undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadershipat all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lendtheir sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force." It's now been one year since the military withdrew its ban on openly gay soldiers and—surprise—a new study says the repeal has had "no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions."
Put together by scholars from every branch of the armed forces save the Coast Guard, the study [PDF], done for public policy group the Palm Center, is the first thorough examination of the ostensible non-issue that was the DADT repeal. Among the group's other findings:
Even in those units that included openly LGB service members, and that consequently
should have been the most likely to experience a drop in cohesion as a result of repeal,
cohesion did not decline after the new policy of open service was put into place. In fact,
greater openness and honesty resulting from repeal seem to have promoted increased
understanding, respect and acceptance.
Recruitment was unaffected by the repeal of DADT. In an era when enlistment standards
are tightening, service-wide recruitment has remained robust.
Retention was unaffected by the repeal of DADT. There was no mass exodus of military
members as a result of repeal, and there were only two verifiable resignations linked to
the policy change, both military chaplains. Service members were as likely to say that
they plan to re-enlist after DADT repeal as was the case pre-repeal.
DADT repeal has not been responsible for any new wave of violence or physical abuse
among service members. The policy change appears to have enabled some LGB service
members to resolve disputes around harassment and bias in ways that were not possible
prior to repeal.
Not only does the study say it finds no significant issues with the DADT repeal, it also concludes that abolishing DADT has actually improved the military's ability to accomplish its objectives.
If you read the whole study, it sounds almost as if gay and lesbian soldiers are totally normal people who can do their jobs the same as any heterosexual soldier, and that most heterosexual soldiers are mature enough to accept their homosexual colleagues for who they are. What a world.
[Image via AP]