Effective December 2010 openly practicing homosexuals and lesbians may serve in the US Armed Forces. Is this a good idea?
Until December the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy restricted the military from discriminating against homosexuals. DADT was originally issued as a military directive December 21, 1993, by President Bill Clinton instructing the military not to ask applicants about their sexual orientation. It further prohibited homosexuals from disclosing their sexual orientation while serving in the Armed Forces. Should they do so, they were liable for separation.
Will allowing practicing homosexuals and lesbians to serve in the military lead to an exodus of those currently serving on active duty? A Senate hearing asked that question of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen in December. His response? If other service members don’t like it then let them “find another place to work.”
Mullen cited a November 30 Pentagon report that concluded there is “low risk” to unit cohesion by repealing the military’s DADT policy. What Mullen did not cite was the report’s inconvenient data. The study also concluded that 67% of Marines, 60% of Special Ops troops and 57% of Army combat personnel believe repealing DADT would hurt readiness, cohesion and retention. More importantly, a full one third of all surveyed would consider leaving the military rather than serving side by side with practicing homosexuals.
Mullen went on to tell the Senate committee that any disruption to unit cohesion is “an acceptable risk” and could be managed through “planning, training and good leadership.”
In December 2010, during the lame duck session, congress repealed the DADT policy and President Obama signed the new law. “Training” of front line combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan commenced in February 2011 preparing the force for repeal of DADT and to accommodate openly homosexual and lesbian personnel.
Defense Secretary Gates’ implementation plan intends to correct misperceptions and stereotypes about living in close quarters with practicing homosexuals through new regulations and standards of conduct. Tell that to parents of potential young recruits.
The other piece of sexual orientation policy, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), will no longer be enforced according to Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder. DOMA was signed into law September 21, 1996, by President Bill Clinton and defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.
DADT and DOMA are two separate issues. The first deals with those serving in the military who “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” on the grounds that they “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”
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The second addresses benefits for same sex couples. Homosexuals viewed DOMA as standing in the way of acquiring the same benefits for same sex couples as for heterosexual couples. That’s a new twist on the old progressive entitlement mentality.
In a word, homosexual special interests focus on sex and benefits first, and mission accomplishment second.
Lost in the conversation is the current segregation of heterosexual service personnel. If practicing homosexuals should not be segregated, then why segregate heterosexuals in separate facilities? Why not combine everyone into single facilities and save money?
Will the military survive the homosexual turning point? Probably. Will combat readiness be affected? Probably. As one observer put it, he has never heard from any non-commissioned officer that “We need some homosexuals and lesbians out here to help us accomplish our mission.” On the other hand, they do worry about an exodus of our finest, best trained NCOs when it comes time to re-enlist.
Representative polling suggests the American public supports open homosexuality in the military. But, are those surveyed prepared to enlist in the military to replace future attrition?
Current polling of active duty personnel reflects a general trend indicating that retention of professionals in the ranks will probably diminish. Loss of even 10% of the force is anything but acceptable. That would mean a probable loss of 150,000 irreplaceable professional personnel. We’re talking a loss of skilled, experienced career soldiers who form the base from which will be trained the next generation of soldiers.
If the United States cannot acquire enough volunteers to fill the ranks, the federal government may yet revert to a draft.
Ultimately, however, our finest combat troops deserve better than to be treated like lab rats in social experiments.