Military reviews ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy

Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed the Senate on November 30, pushing them to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy before the year’s end, using data collected from a survey that showed it wouldn’t hurt or hinder the troops’ attention.
The controversial policy, which bars openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. Armed Services, has come under fire from all sides recently.

The survey showed that roughly 70 percent of the troops collectively agreed that a repeal of the law would have either positive, blended, or no effect at all.

92 percent of the troops who have worked with a homosexual service member reported either a positive or neutral experience.

Gates said that the survey showed over two thirds of troops don’t have a problem with serving beside gay troops.

He explained that while a repeal would be “potentially disruptive in the short term,” it wouldn’t be the “wrenching, traumatic challenge that many have feared and predicted.”

Over 400,000 troops took the survey at town-hall meetings and through an online drop box, which the researchers made available in order to be able to reach as many members of the military as possible.

“The concerns of combat troops as expressed in the survey do not present an insurmountable barrier to successful repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Gates said.

“This can be done, and should be done without posing a serious risk to military readiness,” Gates continued.

A condition to repeal the policy is included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which is a must-pass bill that funds the military.

This bill has already passed in the House, but it failed in an attempt to be brought to the floor in the Senate in September.

Republicans explained that they were against it because Majority Leader Harry Reid would not allow any amendments on the bill.

This time around, it is strongly believed that Reid will allow votes on amendments leaving Sen. John McCain with a vote, which will essentially knock the repeal out of the bill because McCain is one of the major opponents against the repeal.

Opponents of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell see the spending bill as their best chance to have the policy repealed, with limited time to get it through before the end of the year, because if it fails the bill will have to be approved by a Republican House.