role as Senator, but not in his misguided, and incorrect opinion on DADT.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the United States Military's Don't Ask
Don't Tell (DADT) policy. It is good to hear from you.
In 1993, the U.S. Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed into law
the current Don't Ask Don't Tell policy (P.L. #103-160). The current policy
authorizes the discharge of any service member who acknowledges his or her
homosexuality by word or deed.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has held many hearings concerning Don't
Ask Don't Tell. As I stated at those hearings, I am not in favor of
repealing the current policy. I believe that military life is fundamentally
different from civilian life. Military leaders and military law acknowledge
the need to restrict certain behaviors. For this reason, military personnel
are restricted from and punished for certain forms of self-expression that
are permitted in civilian life. This includes restrictions on speech,
appearance, and behavior that do not exist outside the military. Military
leaders acknowledge that these restrictions are necessary to safeguard
morale, good order and discipline and unit cohesion.
I believe that allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military,
along with the necessary accommodations that would need to take place, may
adversely affect military performance and readiness, particularly at a time
when our military is under great stress and engaged in two major operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Recently, the Department of Defense conducted an extensive review of the
current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The intent of the review was to
evaluate the Armed Forces' readiness to transition to a new policy of open
homosexual service and prepare for the accompanying changes it could bring
about with regards to housing and benefits, regulations, fraternization
rules, training, and individual conduct. As a member of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, I thoroughly reviewed this study upon its release.
The study found that a majority of service-members who responded to the
survey believe that repealing the policy would not have an overall negative
effect on their unit's ability to complete its mission. However, the number
believing the effects of repeal would be negative is significantly higher in
war-fighting units and in the Marine Corps particularly. After reviewing
the study, I still remain concerned with repealing this policy, given that
war fighting units expressed significant concern with the repeal and that we
remain a nation engaged in two major combat operations which continue to
greatly stress the force.
Following the release of the study, the Senate Armed Services Committee held
two additional hearings to receive testimony from the Secretary of Defense,
Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the co-chairs of the study. During the hearings,
three of the Service Chiefs stated that they oppose repeal of the "Don't
Ask, Don't Tell" policy at this time. The views of these three Service
Chiefs confirm my own concerns that repealing this policy could have a
detrimental effect on our military's ability to carry out the missions our
Nation asks of them. For this reason as well as the reasons above, I
continue to oppose repeal of the policy at this time.