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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

DOD Report on repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Today the Department of Defense (DOD) released the final report of a study on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The research was done by the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) and involved both troops and their families. The CRWG study is the "largest, most Comprehensive review of a personnel policy matter which the department of defense has ever undertaken." The study determined that "the risk of repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to overall military effectiveness is low."

The purpose of the research was to determine the effects a repeal would have on the military. The US House of Representatives have already passed the repeal, but the Senate has not yet held a debate on the repeal. During the last attempt in the Senate, John McCain led a filibuster to block any debate on the repeal. With this thorough CRWG study now completed, there are no more valid excuses to block the full repeal of this policy of discrimination.

When asked about the ACTUAL experience of serving in a unit with a co-worker who they believed was gay or lesbian, 92% stated that the unit's "ability to work together" was "very good," "good," or "neither good nor poor." It was 89% for those in Army combat units and 84% for those in Marine combat units.

When asked about how having a service member in their immediate unit who said he or she is gay would affect the unit's ability to "work together to get the job done," 70% of Service members predicted it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.

When asked "in your career, have you ever worked in a unit with a co-worker that you believed to be homosexual," 69% of Service members reported that they had. It is important to note that the majority of those who are opposed to the repeal were those who have had no "actual" experience serving with gays.

In communications with gay and lesbian current and former service members, the CRWG repeatedly heard a patriotic desire to serve and defend the Nation, subject to the same rules as everyone else. They are not asking for any special treatment - just equal treatment.

The CRWG is convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war. They do not underestimate the challenges in implementing a change in the law, but neither should we underestimate the ability of our extraordinarily dedicated Service men and women to adapt to such change and continue to provide our Nation with the military capability to accomplish any mission.

Aubrey Sarvis, an Army veteran and the executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN.org) released the following statement: "This exhaustive report is overwhelmingly positive and constructive. The Pentagon validated what repeal advocates and social scientists have been saying about open service for over a decade. Still, some initial resistance may come from one or more of the service chiefs - the very leaders who will be charged with implementing this change. Those chiefs will need to salute and lead in bringing about this needed change. Fortunately, the chiefs have already made it clear they will do precisely that if Congress acts. Now, it's up to the Senate to make repeal happen this year."

A statement from President Barack Obama said, "I am confident that our troops will adapt to a repeal of DADT and remain the best led, best trained, best equipped fighting force in the world. I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal."

The best course for our country is for the Senate to repeal this law so that implementation can be carried out in an organized and orderly fashion. Two federal courts have ruled the law violates the Constitution, with one judge ordering the military to stop enforcing the policy. Our government consists of a system of checks and balances so if the Senate fails to act soon, the policy will be abruptly ended by our judicial system.

Please take a minute to contact your Senator and urge them to support the efforts to repeal this policy. A big "Thank you!" goes out to everyone who has supported me in this fight. This fight for equality has lasted over 17 years and I couldn't have made it without all of your support and your words of encouragement.

To read the full CRWG report, I have posted the 267 page PDF document on my web site.

Best regards,

-- Gary Wright II

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