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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 28, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 04
The high cost of DADT discharges
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The high cost of DADT discharges

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Pentagon spent nearly $200 million from 2004 to 2009 to discharge 3,664 members of the military under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) ban on Gays serving openly in the armed forces, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO put the per-person price tag per discharge at $52,800 during the six fiscal years - 2004 to 2009.

The Army enforced the ban much more than any other branch of service, sending 1,774 soldiers home for being Gay or Lesbian. The Navy kicked out 913 sailors. The Air Force discharged 540 airmen and the Marines separated 437 Marines.

In addition, the GAO found that 1,458 of those discharged held critical jobs such as linguists and intelligence officers.

Here's a breakdown of the report:

o Honorable discharge: 57%

o Uncharacterized discharge: 28%

o General discharge: 10%

o Other than honorable discharge: 3%

o Not applicable or unknown: 2%

The cost stands at $193.3 million - but excludes the Navy, which was unable to provide data for the time period.

Seventy percent of those discharged under DADT were white, 18% were African American, 2% were multiracial, 2% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 3% were American Indian or Alaskan Native, 3% were Asian, and 3% were unknown.

Ninety-eight percent were enlisted servicemembers while just 2% were officers; 66% were male and 34% were female.

'The GAO report underscores that the DADT law not only deprives the military of the qualified Americans it needs, but has also been a huge waste of taxpayer dollars on replacing patriots lost under this discriminatory law,' said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. 'These numbers remind us why it's time to move forward on certification so we can begin implementing repeal of DADT and make a smooth transition to open service.'

The GAO reported its findings to Rep. Susan Davis of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee.

'Clearly this was the right thing to do,' Davis said of the repeal, after the GAO released its report. 'No longer will American taxpayers continue to pay to throw out patriotic servicemembers who only want to serve their country.'

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