According to a draft of a recent Pentagon study, the ban on gays openly serving in the military can be lifted with minimal risk.
Two people who are familiar to the draft have relayed this info to the Washington Post. The official report is due to President Obama on December 1.
Along with 150,000 military spouses, 400,000 active-duty and reserve troops were surveyed this summer. They were asked questions about the effects of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Respondents submitted their answers anonymously through an online drop box.
The majority of the participants said that removing the ban wouldn’t have an overly negative effect:
More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, said two sources familiar with the document. The survey results led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them.
However, there was still some opposition within the survey. About 40 percent of the Marines Corps is concerned with the ban being repealed. General James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, voiced these concerns:
There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women—and when you talk of infantry, we’re talking about our young men—lying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers. I don’t know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that’s what we’re looking at. It’s unit cohesion. It’s combat effectiveness.
The 370-page report also offers a plan on how to repeal the ban whenever a decision is made.
While the report won’t not be enough to sway the most out-spoken supporters of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” there’s a chance it’ll influence enough officials to finally have the ban repealed. As Kevin Drum of Mother Jones said:
That seems pretty manageable. I don’t expect the reactionary right to change its tune on this regardless of the evidence, but this report might still be enough to break loose a few Republican votes for repeal of DADT in the lame duck session.