September 10, 2012
It's almost been one year since President Obama repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell and the first academic study of the policy change has found that the repeal hasn't affected retention, recruitment, or harassment in the military. In other words, the military is just fine after gays and lesbians were allowed to serve openly. The Palm Center, a think tank that specializes in gender and sexuality in the military, published the study today, which was conducted by a team that included scholars from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Naval Academy, and U.S. Marine Corps War College. The whole document is available for your perusal here, but here's there definitive takeaway:
The repeal of DADT has had no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale.
That statement--particularly the parts about cohesion and morale--debunks the talking points that many of the supporters of Don't Ask Don't Tell (Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, etc.) have made in the past and confirms what advocates of the appeal including Barack Obama, The Pentagon, and Joints Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and nations like Britain, Israel and South Africa have been saying along: that gay and lesbian service in the military didn't turn their militaries sour. And if you're wondering who this academic study interviewed, the Palm Center reports that their research"included outreach to 553 generals and admirals who predicted the repeal would undermine the military." And though we have the first study that determined that gay and lesbian soldiers are just like any other soldiers and haven't destroyed our military or turned our bases into a scene from Lord of the Flies, perhaps we can work on giving their families the same benefits their heterosexual partners enjoy.
September 10, 2012