Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Survey raises doubts on ‘don’t ask’ policy - By Bryan Bender * The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration received more research yesterday to help make its case for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces.

A survey of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan concluded that having gay or lesbian soldiers in fighting units has no significant impact on unit cohesion or readiness.

The data raise new doubts about the underlying assumption of the congressional ban, namely that military discipline will fall apart if gays and lesbians are permitted to serve openly.

“Service members said the most important factors for unit cohesion and readiness were the quality of their officers, training, and equipment,’’ said Laura Miller, a military sociologist at the RAND Corporation, a private research group that has long advised the Pentagon, which conducted the study along with the University of Florida. “Serving with another service member who was gay or lesbian was not a significant factor that affected unit cohesion or readiness to fight.’’

The study, which was commissioned by the Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara - whose researchers have advocated lifting the ban - is the latest high-profile assessment to question the validity of the “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ policy, which requires gays and lesbians to keep their sexual orientation secret or risk discharge… Read complete article - By Bryan Bender * The Boston Globe

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