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  • Ready, Fire, Aim on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (Update: Service Chiefs Weigh In)

    Pentagon (Photo by Newscom)

    Before the Democratic health bill was passed in March, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted to reassure the public that Congress would have to pass the bill before the public could “find out what is in it.” And now they intend to use the same tactics to repeal the misnamed “don’t ask, don’t tell” military eligibility policy passed by Congress in 1993.

    Democrats are moving swiftly to add the repeal to the must-pass defense authorization bill, leaving it to another day for the public – and most especially the U.S. military – to “find out what is in it.” It’s about time Congress slow down and read some bills before passing them.

    This crass political maneuver is an affront to the men and women in the military whose opinions matter, because they will be most affected by any change in the law. Regardless of what one thinks of full repeal—whatever it might mean in practice—lawmakers should wait until the ongoing survey of service personnel is completed and analyzed. Any legislative action now is premature, and a thumbing of the nose at the military.

    The sleight-of-hand at work is the notion that since everyone already understands what repeal of the current law means, Congress might as well just repeal the law now. However, since the issues at stake involve not just neutral characteristics like race or national origin, but rather responses to a whole set of behaviors that may affect everything from military family policy to religious liberty, repeal of the military service eligibility law could take any number of forms. The range of implications is profound, from core issues of national security and military readiness, to recruitment and retention, to conduct standards and unit cohesion.

    The new liberal power grab leapfrogs the process that has been underway for several months, under which the Department of Defense (DoD) has begun to assess the views of service members and identify the impacts of proposed changes. Providing an example of incremental adjustment, DoD adopted changes in March that raised the rank of officers authorized to initiate investigations under current law and diminished the likelihood of investigations based on third-party reports. The actions illustrated the degree to which policy changes could vary, falling well short of sweeping measures that would threaten the religious freedom of chaplains, undermine the Congressionally approved Defense of Marriage Act, or severely impact personnel levels.

    The power grab also leapfrogs Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen’s letter to Congress just three weeks ago “strongly opposing” legislative action in advance of completion of the Pentagon’s review. Repealing the current law now, they wrote, would send “a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns, and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact and consequence for them and their families,” a view Secretary Gates apparently continues to hold.

    Congress and the Administration should serve our nation and put the armed forces first by declining a politically expedient and hasty vote, allowing the Pentagon to finish the now-in-progress assessment scheduled for delivery this December, and giving members of Congress and the American people time to examine the results of that assessment in an open and exhaustive public debate. That debate can and should address at least the following questions:

    1. What does full repeal mean, and how does it improve the national security of our nation?
    2. What do officers and service members actually think about the current policy and proposals to repeal it? Can an accurate assessment be obtained and how? Will service members feel free to state their actual views without threat of reprisal?
    3. What would be the impact of repeal on retention policies and results and recruitment policies and results?
    4. What would be the impact of a full repeal on particular operational issues (e.g., fraternization, submarine service, field deployment, special forces, etc.)?
    5. Some jurisdictions now license homosexual unions either as marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions. If Congress’s policy on homosexuals serving openly in the military is changed, and military personnel enter into officially licensed same-sex unions under state law, what would be the impact on military family policy with respect to benefits related to housing, insurance, and other compensation contingent on spousal or family status?
    6. How would changing Congress’s military eligibility law affect other federal laws, including the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the union of husband and wife? Would a change to the current law make the U.S. military exempt from the application of DOMA? If Congress fails to make its intentions clear, could a later court interpret a change to the current ban on open homosexuality as an implicit repeal of DOMA? How would repealing the statutory ban on open homosexuality in the military affect constitutional litigation challenging the traditional definition of marriage at the state and federal levels?
    7. What would be the impact on the personal moral beliefs and religious expression of other service members? Will the utterance of a belief that homosexual conduct is morally wrong be punishable in any manner as an expression of discrimination or intent to discriminate?
    8. What would be the impact on service chaplains and counselors who may have specific denominational or personal views on the illicitness of same-sex conduct and same-sex relationships? Could they face punitive, administrative or remedial measures (e.g., sensitivity training) that impact their ability to perform their professional roles or infringe on their right to hold and express certain moral or religious views?
    9. If military personnel express disagreement with changes to policy approving of homosexuality, how will that affect their careers?
    10. Will homosexuality be considered a protected class for promotion or advancement purposes? Will the new law require that promotion boards include precept language requiring the promotion of homosexuals?

    Clearly, the answers to these questions have broad import for present and future members of the armed forces.

    UPDATE: Each of the four Service Chiefs (General Conway (USMC)General Conway (USMC)Admiral Roughead (USN), and General Schwartz (USAF)) have submitted letters stressing that any action by Congress should only be taken after the Pentagon finishes its review.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to Ready, Fire, Aim on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (Update: Service Chiefs Weigh In)

    1. Norma in Nebraska says:

      Since when does sexual orientation become the Number One concern of this administration when the economy is in the tank . . . we still do not have jobs, jobs, jobs. I may be mistaken but I think that in the State of the Union address the President PROMISED to make job creation his first priority . . . but guess that was Number One right after everything else he wanted to do.

      What the repeal of this law may mean is that life styles of our soldiers will become a point of contention in the close quarters that our military share in the combat zone. Why would we want to put a soldier's life at risk by changing what is obviously working to date? Sexual orientation should be the last problem our service men and women should have to deal with when their lives are on the line. In addition to this, our President is obviously not listening to his top brass in the Pentagon or his Secretary of Defense Gates who want him to WAIT until after they conclude their in-depth investigation. Is this a surprise? No. Our President has absolutely no patience when it comes to something he wants done, and past experience should tell him that "haste makes waste" but he just keeps on pushing.

      I predict that as a result of the repeal of this law we will see a sharp decline in the volunteers who currently fight our wars and keep our country safe. Is that the goal of this administration? To drastically decrease or eliminate the only source we have of keeping our military forces in readiness? I see this as yet another way to undermine the structure of our country.

    2. Andrew, Omaha says:

      This issue needs to be addressed as an issue of property and contract rights.

      Since states will vary in their approach to the subject, it will be difficult for the Federal Government to impose any policy. This will likely be an ongoing issue.

    3. William Person says:

      In your 4th paragraph you mention the crux of the problem, "a whole set of behaviors". To this day I have yet to hear anyone cite that "gayness" is a genetic disposition. Hermaphrodites are a biological fact. Homosexuality is not. It is behavior and thus is a chosen behavior. Once you accept this position, the question then becomes "What are the consitutional rights for behavior?" Are we all to be held responsible for behaviors in which the vast majority does niot participate? Does society have to bend all of it's rules, traditions and costs to support those small numbers that chose to behave in an aberrant manner?

      In the case of military service where responding to immediate threats depends upon accepting authority and procedure is life saving, why should I have to deal with another's deviant behavior when my life may depend on that same person to defend my life. I think NOT!!!

    4. Dennis Social Circle says:

      This is the way of obama and clan, pass a bill that is not written and then make like they want it. If the people of this country do not stand for the rights and privilidges under the Constitution they will fall for anything. This country is going to "hell in an hand basket" under the current"rulers" and people are a sleep at the wheel, being lead like sheep to slaughter. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE STINK IN WASHINGTON!!!!

    5. Chuck Anziulewicz says:

      You people at the Heritage Foundation really do despise Gay Americans, don't you?

    6. Chris says:

      The answers to these questions are well known from the 20+ countries that implemented non-discrimination with no adverse effects.

    7. Norma in Nebraska says:

      Hey Chuck . . . it is NOT a matter of "despising gay Americans" . . . it is a matter of national security. We need to make sure that our soldiers who serve in our military, no matter what sexual orientation they are, do not have to deal with or be confronted by what should normally be considered each person's PRIVATE business. Why open up an area of contention when our military faces loosing their lives on a daily basis.

      I don't go around wearing T-shirts announcing that I am straight. I don't have to . . . that is no one's business but mine. If someone has to announce their sexuality regularly in such a public way, it says more about the person's state of mind than their sexual orientation. Routine public displays indicate insecurity and lack of self worth. Besides, I really don't care what sexual orientation someone else is as long as they don't try to shove it in my face.

      The only other thing you could have said that would be more ridiculous is that it is a racial issue!!! Maybe you should try to think in terms of the greater good rather than making everything a "personal" issue. Most people don't even care about sexual orientation because they have IMPORTANT things to worry about, like where their next meal is going to come from, where they are going sleep and if they are going to have a job tomorrow!

    8. Norm Klevens says:

      Let the military determine what is best for the military. But why does it take till the end of the year for the military to study to determine what's best ? They need to speed it up. Keep the congress out of it. Keep Lieberman out of it. The military is not the place for an experiment, its not the place to make a statement and its not, despite Gen Casey, a place for political correctness. Being Gay is a life style for individuals to chose. But the military is not the place for a social experiment. Secretary Gates – the deadline needs to be moved up from the end of the year to now to keep the politicians and their need for votes, out of it.

    9. Helmetfoot says:

      The mmiliary has ALWAYS been the American Test Laboratory for social experiments. Things like requiring an education for getting a job in the military, for job advancement, Ending racial discrimination, posting caloric values for food on the wall so mess halls, banning smoking, and now, homosexuality. Social experiments are not new to them.

      Why try it on the military? Because their personal individual rights to exercise freedom of speech and movement are controlled.

      Get used to it; With the man-child obama in charge, we will all be subject to the same programs. Then the military won't be able to complain and neither will you.

      I'm near the end of the trail but my children and grandchildren have a long life to live (hopefully). How are you doing?

    10. Billie says:

      the only reason sexual orientation is brought up IN THE MILITARY, is to coddle the weak for special recognition, favors and more rights. We don't need WEAK in the military. keep your sexual orientation to yourself. It's your private act that shouldn't be an issue in the Military. More waste of time, money and diversion of actual duty that doesn't consist of SEXUAL CONDUCT!

    11. Dr S Carrol, Oregon says:

      Apparently there is a belief that gays will not serve properly in the military when asked to do so or that is what is being pushed by the right, if I understand the problem?

      Currently without allowing gays (s) our military is all over the planet, such as Iraq, probably doing things that have nothing to do with a gay agenda? I would think? While I do not and have not agreed with the concept that the US has the right (because they have the power) to overthrow a government, even Iraq, especially since the US had so much to do with the government in the past in supporting it, I feel there are bigger moral issues in overthrowing governments, because we can, than allowing gays in the military.

      I mean get a clue, if we are concerned about being hated then we probably need to stop doing hateful things, starting with treating everyone as equals? I read somewhere that the US is supposed to be standing for equality? I mean isn't that part of the pitch and propaganda? We walk around telling people we believe in equality and then treat people as less than equals? Dah………

      I assuming by reading this that gay people cannot be taught to kill people when ordered to do so or defend the constitution of the US? I haven't figured out why we are going around killing others if we believe in equality, I feel the money is probably better spent feeding the some 12,000 per day starving to death that we know about. I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would hate the US for saving lives? I can see why people would be angry enough to fight us if we are in the business of taking lives instead of saving lives? Ok that may be a tad over simplistic, but lets be honest, we have without gays taken lives, maybe gays and equality give us a better perspective on saving lives instead of taking them? Maybe not such a bad idea?

      On the other hand the military is fairly good and has been good about flushing out those that are cowards and if the belief that gays are cowards then it should be proven instead of just believed? There are a lot of assumptions that gays would make the military weak without any proof that gays would make the military weak.

      To me I would call that a hate crime, running around saying that gays would make our military weak. Ok boys get out the white sheets……….! Oh well at one time it was believed that blacks would make the military weak as well.

      Could anybody with any sense at all drop this whole nonsense and line of thinking and let the military decide who and what they are looking for and either allow everyone in, which they should not or be selective. I for example would be horrible in the military, mostly because I sort of have a problem with someone telling me to kill people and belonging to a group that wants to take lives.

      The military even with equal rights in the military, probably should screen new recruits to see if they have the ability to kill people, just because they are ordered to? hmmmmmmmmm lets give that some thought? ……….

    12. Kay,North Carolina says:

      There will be a lot of harm done by changing this law. If the fighting in house is bad now it will double when people announce thier sexual preference aloud. Is this the intention?

    13. ROBERT COLORADO says:

      The homosexual movement has created a new religion, a dogmatic credo, and a new sexual identity neither quite male or female. It punishes disagreement severely and hurls nasty epithets at those who believe, as have all religions and civilizations present and past, that marriage is a union between a man and woman. Homosexuality however, is deviate and dangerous. The Center for disease control has warned that the sine qua non of homosexuality, anal intercourse, is deadly, spreads disease and should therefore be avoided, like the plague. Parenthetically, there is nothing whatever in the U.S. Constitution to suggest that it protects anal intercourse or that it intended this practice to be honored with the ceremony of marriage.

      There is no evidence whatever to support the theory that homosexuals are born, or that there is a homosexual gene. The evidence suggests many are seduced into the practice when young. Ancient Sparta, a nation of warriors indulged widely in homosexual pedophilia. As adolescents were trained and ultimately taken into the hoplite army they were broken in, so to speak, to the wonders of a deviate lifestyle. There was no choice in it.

      While not all homosexuals are pedophiles, pedophilia is a particularly pernicious, abnormal and widespread homosexual practice. Homosexuals are, after all, the only group who have constructed an organization specifically to popularize and ultimately make legal a right to the sexual abuse and exploitation of young male children. NAMBLA, a homosexual group of pedophiles are pushing for the right to legalize sexual intercourse, indeed marry minor male children. They call it "intergenerational marriage."

      The military is concerned that between ten and twenty-five percent of the military population will resign should the homosexuals prevail, this in a time of war. The column also points out the dangers that are very likely to occur if a soldier were to express a negative opinion of homosexuality, or simply tell the truth. What would be the consequence? Would he not be subject to the same outrageous accusations that are made against Americans in public life who would object to the legalization and approval of homosexuality as normal.

      Arnold Toynbee in his great work, A Study of History, tracked the rise and fall of no less than 26 nations: He concluded that all nations rise, fall and die. An historical autopsy establishes that they were not murdered; they died by their own hand. They committed suicide.

    14. Pingback: Chuck Donovan: Ready, Fire, Aim on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at

    15. Elaine Donnelly, Pre says:

      Hello Chuck,

      Outstanding article–thank you. This issue is not over yet. Members of the Congress need to hear from the grassroots. The questions you have raised, and many more, deserve answers.

      More information is on our website, http://www.cmrlink.org.


      Elaine Donnelly

      President, Center for Military Readiness

    16. Larry Templeton says:

      This is an example of a bad policy change to pacify a vocal small constituency.It is against the will of most of the people in America and against the will of most of those who serve in the military. It will have a detrimental effect on our military . The best policy would be to leave the Don't Ask Don't tell policy alone.

    17. Delegate Bob Marshal says:

      What will the effect of a repeal of DADT be on state National Guard Units?

      Bob Marshall, member Virginia General Assembly 1992 to present

    18. Robert Bruce, Virgin says:

      This comment is addressed to Virginia Delegate Marshall –

      Excellent question about repeal opening the Va. Nat. Guard (and that of other state NGs).

      Sounds like a question for AG Cuchinelli, who has proven fearless in confronting the PC police on several fronts.

      Meanwhile, let's all do our part in educating the public on how negating the 1993 LAW will do irreparable harm to recruiting, retention, readiness, and battlefield effectiveness.

      But then, that's just what Obama and his LGBT legions apparently want.

      Best, Robert "Sarge" Bruce

      VaARNG Ret.

    19. Lt.Col. Ed Salmon(RE says:

      The crumy -assed liberal pols don't care about the Military, because they are afraid of them.Anyone who looks like they are compenant and know what they are doing(which the majority of our military members display) scares the bejeses out of our quaking Liberals. They would rather surrender the country than defend it.

    20. Pingback: » Don’t Ask, I’ll Just Tell You What the Law Should Be

    21. Pingback: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Time for Cautious Judgment | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    22. Pingback: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Time for Cautious Judgment | Big Propaganda

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