Study says ending of anti-Gay policy has had positive effect
by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
On September 10, The Palm Center released a study that says the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) has not had a negative impact on the U.S. military's force readiness, recruitment, or retention - a finding that stands in direct contrast to the dire predictions by high-ranking Republican members of Congress when the Obama administration announced in December 2010 it would seek to end the policy.
The Palm Center, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military, determined that 'DADT repeal appears to have enhanced the military's ability to pursue its mission.'
According to the Palm Center, nine scholars (some of them professors at military academies) began the research six months after DADT ended, and wrapped up the study a short time ago. The scholars reportedly interviewed opponents and advocates of repeal as well as active-duty service members who are Gay, and conducted on-site field observations of four military units, among other research activities. They reached out to 553 of the nearly 1,200 generals and admirals who signed a 2009 letter claiming repeal would undermine the military, eventually getting interviews with 13 of those officers.
NO NEGATIVE IMPACT
'Our conclusion, based on all of the evidence available to us, is that DADT repeal has had no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment, or morale,' the study says. 'Although we identified a few downsides that followed from the policy change, we identified upsides as well, and in no case did negative consequences outweigh benefits. If anything, DADT repeal appears to have enhanced the military's ability to pursue its mission.'
The research also showed that repeal hadn't been responsible for any new wave of violence or physical abuse among service members, and it appears to have enabled some Gay troops to resolve disputes around harassment in ways that were not possible before.
However, there were two 'verifiable resignations' of military chaplains due to repeal, which also triggered a drop in individual morale for some service members who were opposed to it, the study said.
Implementation of repeal is 'proceeding smoothly' across the Department of Defense, said a spokeswoman, Eileen M. Lainez.
'We attribute this success to our comprehensive pre-repeal training programs, continued close monitoring and enforcement of standards by our military leaders, and service members' adherence to core values that include discipline and respect,' she said. 'Defense Department leadership and the services remain engaged in implementation, and a formal monitoring process ensures continual assessment.'
REPEAL 'GOING WELL'
Since repeal, the Defense Department has held a Gay Pride event and allowed service members to march in Pride parades in uniform, according to reports.
During a May 10 briefing, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said repeal was 'going very well' and was not impacting morale, unit cohesion, or readiness.
'And, very frankly, my view is that the military has kind of moved beyond it,' he said. 'It's become part and parcel of what they've accepted within the military.'
The Palm Center is part of the Williams Institute, an independent think tank conducting research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy at the UCLA School of Law.
Share on Facebook
Share on Delicious
Share on StumbleUpon!