Study: No negative impact from repeal of military’s gay ban

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A study on the effects of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” finds no negative impact a year after gays and lesbians could begin serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The release of the study comes nearly a year after the military implemented the repeal of the policy enacted in the 1990s. The policy essentially said gays could serve, but only if they served in silence.

The Palm Center led the research into the impact of repeal with support from professors at the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Marine Corps War College.

Palm Center researcher Aaron Belkin, lead author of “One Year Out: An Assessment of DADT Repeal’s Impact on Military Readiness,” said, “The U.S. military has set an international standard with the smooth transition to openly gay service.”

Three years ago, more than 1,000 retired generals and admirals signed a statement predicting that open service would “break the all-volunteer force.” But Belkin said a review of the first year has found that repeal has not compromised the security, readiness or unit cohesion.

The review involved soliciting the opinions of those who had opposed repeal, including some of the retired officers who had fought that move.

The researchers found:

• Only two servicemembers, both chaplains, were identified as having left the military as a result of DADT repeal.

• A Pentagon spokesperson told the study’s co-authors that she was not aware of a single episode of violence associated with repeal.

• Pentagon data show that recruitment and retention remained robust after repeal.

• Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of morale after repeal as they did before repeal.

• Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of readiness after repeal as they did before repeal.

The researchers also found that trust among troops seems to have improved following repeal.