Wednesday, December 01, 2010

MILITARY - DADT Review Results

"DADT Review Chairmen: Repeal Poses 'Low Risk to Force'" PBS Newshour Transcript 11/30/2010 (includes video)


JIM LEHRER (Editor, Newshour): In fact, the report found that 92 percent of troops who have worked with a gay comrade said the experience was good, very good or had no impact on operations.

And, regardless, both Gates and Mullen said everyone in uniform knows orders must be obeyed.
JIM LEHRER: Senate Democrats have pledged to bring up repeal again in the current lame-duck session. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings this week on the Pentagon report. But, if the full Senate does not act, the issue will likely die when Republicans regain control of the House next year.
GEN. CARTER HAM, co-chairman, Don't Ask, Don't Tell Study: I do. I think we can. If the law changes, I think the uniformed military can execute and implement the change to the law with low risk to the force.

JIM LEHRER: Do you agree?

JEH JOHNSON, co-chairman, Don't Ask, Don't Tell Study: Yes, sir, I do.

I think that our study, which was the most comprehensive engagement of the force on any personnel-related issue, demonstrates that most service members simply don't regard this as an issue at this point. And many actually see positive effects of -- of repeal in terms of unit cohesion and the ability to work together.
JIM LEHRER: What about Senator Graham's question you all didn't ask the troops in your study if it should be repealed? Why didn't you?

JEH JOHNSON: We don't conduct referenda or polls within the military about military policy. We don't poll the force about whether we should send additional troops to Afghanistan, for example, or go into Iraq.

We did ask very specific questions to test the effect of repeal on unit cohesion and the like. And our study was comprehensive enough that we in effect got an answer to the question of, can we do this?

And the survey results reveal a significant majority of the force believes that we can do this.
JIM LEHRER: General, put on your combat hat. You have served in combat more than once. And the combat soldiers, Marines, were the most opposed to this.

What's your reading of that? What do you think is the reason for this?

GEN. CARTER HAM: I think there are a number of factors that are at play.

As the secretary of defense indicated, it's also the segment of the force that probably has the less -- the least actual experience of serving alongside gay and lesbian service members. And we found a distinct difference in the attitudes of service members who had that experience and those who have not.

JIM LEHRER: And the ones who -- and they knew they were serving with gays and lesbians, and they had -- they had a better experience than those who had no experience; is that what you're...

GEN. CARTER HAM: In general, that's correct. And we focused specifically on Marine and Army combat arms units in combat, and asked questions about, you know, did you know someone in your unit who was gay? And what effect did that have on unit performance?

And they actually -- the -- those who had that actual experience report that their unit performance was quite good.

JIM LEHRER: Even those that -- that had combat assignments, like Marines, say, on the -- or infantry -- infantry troops in the Army, they had reluctance about changing the policy, but they hadn't had a negative experience?

GEN. CARTER HAM: Those who had an actual experience...

JIM LEHRER: Actual experience.

GEN. CARTER HAM: ... particularly in combat, of serving in an organization with someone in their unit that they knew who was gay, their unit performance was quite good.

There is a very real difference between those assessments and service members in similar circumstance who have not served with someone that they knew to be gay.

Pay special note to the conversation on those in the military who had EXPERIENCE working with gays.

As Retired Navy (22yrs) I can say two things:
  • Gays have ALWAYS been in the military, this is NOT NEW

  • Gays have ALWAYS served well

Today, the only difference is gays do not want to hide who they are. Human beings with Human Rights and dignity.

I say they deserve this.

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