The Future of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

On Sunday, President Obama said that he would end the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, which allows gays to serve in the military as long they are not openly gay.  DADT, which came into effect in 1993 through an act of Congress, was a compromise between those who opposed allowing homosexuals to join the military and those who believed that gays should be allowed to serve without hiding their sexual orientation.  The president did not say when he would try change DADT, although his advisers have suggested that he will do it sometime next year.

For a recent issue of Joint Forces Quarterly, a prominent military publication, Om Prakash wrote an interesting article about DADT and the implications of changing it (http://www.ndu.edu/inss/Press/jfq_pages/editions/i55/14.pdf).

DADT should be repealed.  There is no evidence that allowing gays to serve openly would discrupt unit cohesion or combat effectiveness, the primary rationale for DADT.  US allies (Canada, Australia, Israel and the UK) have already adopted openness policies without suffering any negative consequences.  Discharging gays from the military is actually counterproductive because it removes skilled personnel from the armed services, especially in cases concerning Arabic translators and other linguists.  DADT reflects bias against homosexuals rather than America’s national security interests.

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