SecDef Gates on Eliminating DADT

Secretary of Defense Gates speaks up at the Senate hearing on the elimination of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in the U.S. Military.

It’s about time that some action gets taken on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. The waste of talent, money and time in discharging over 13,000 gay and lesbian members of the U.S. Military since the policy was instituted has been immense.  The support for gays and lesbians openly serving in the military has grown both within the military and in the general public, as more and more Americans become acquainted with openly gay neighbors, children, parents and co-workers in a broad range and walks of life.  Meanwhile gays and lesbians are allowed to serve openly in the military forces of Argentina, Austria, Brasil, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, the UK etc. (see Wikipedia for the full list) without any significant implementation or integration problems.  In fact, U.S. service men and women, have served with openly gay and lesbian service people during NATO and joint military operations without any adverse impact on unit cohesion.

If you are interested in following this topic more closely please visit the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the organization established to help support Gays and Lesbians in the military.


Here’s what Representative Tammy Baldwin, D – 02 had to say about the DADT Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing:

Statement of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
On Today’s Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing
On the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy
February 2, 2010
“President Obama has done the right thing in calling for an end to the un-American and discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.  I thank Chairman Levin for holding today’s hearing and was pleased to hear Secretary of Defense Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, clearly state their support for ending the policy that prevents gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Since 1997, our armed forces have forced out nearly 11,000 dedicated, skilled, patriotic service members solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.  At a time when we need them most, we have lost trained Arabic linguists and other specialists, putting all of our troops and our national security at greater risk.  It is high time the U.S. catch up with many of our allies, including some fighting with us in Afghanistan, by ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’  These allies have welcomed openly gay and lesbian service members into their ranks with no loss of morale, unit cohesion, or other adverse effect.  Certainly we can do the same.

I hope today’s hearing marks the first step toward expeditiously ending the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.  I look forward to the results of the Department of Defense (DOD) 45-day review of policy to assess what can be done immediately.  However, I believe an implementation study can occur in a much shorter time frame than the eleven months that is currently being proposed.

Secretary Gates testified, ‘We can only take this process so far, as the ultimate decision rests with you, the Congress.’  Secretary Gates is correct and I will continue my strong efforts to pass the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1283) to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in our military.

It’s time for Congress to act. Every day this policy remains in place, it does further damage to individuals, to our armed forces, and to our national security.”

And in another example of bigotry and lack of integrity, Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Policy Peter Sprigg calls for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior, not only in the military but in all walks of life.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Related Articles

4 thoughts on “SecDef Gates on Eliminating DADT

  1. Wow, why 13,000 discharges?! Were they telling or was someone asking?

    While I don’t think the military should be used as an experiment for political correctness, like you say with public support growing, maybe the time has come to rework current policy. We would hate to discourage any willing able-bodied individual from choosing to serve his/her country.

    1. Hi forgot,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m sure each of the 13,000 discharges has a story that would be fascinating and would make a good book. Some for telling, some for being told about, some for being asked, some for being fed up about living a lie, some for some sort of ridiculous interpretation of the “law”. For one story see Lt. Colonel Fehrendbach of the USAF, who is threatened with being fired for being gay. He estimates the military spent $25 million training him to be a top fighter pilot with over 80 sorties over Baghdad.

  2. I think it’s certainly reasonable to believe it’s time as come – and hopefully there will be patience to allow the military to handle the transition as well as possible. And as bizarre as the DADT always seemed to be, I think it’s fair to say that it provided a way to get from A to C without less problems. Sort of turning the square into an octogon, then into a circle.

    Big chances are difficult – sometimes it’s better to just rip the band aid off, somtimes a staged/stepped approach is better.

    (wow – looking at that I just realized I used a lot of metaphors 🙂

  3. Thanks for your comments.

    I for one think this should be implemented quickly and without delay. Drawing it out will only create fear, uncertainty and confusion. What’s the big deal? The military is a command and control operation. Tell the troops the new policy, set-up training programs on the new policy and put it into place. Military men and women have been serving next to and under the command of gays and lesbians for years and should be professional enough to handle a quick implementation. If the British can do it, so can we.

    As the Palm Center reports ““The evidence is overwhelming that a quick turnaround on policy change minimizes disruptions to unit cohesion and morale,” he said. “If this is the goal, there should be no slow-rolling of the implementation process.” Frank pointed to the 1993 Rand Corporation report on implementing gay service that stated that openly gay service was entirely workable, but that a successful new policy must be “decided upon and implemented as quickly as possible” to avoid anxiety and uncertainty in the field.”

Comments are closed.