Calling it “counterproductive to military readiness”, yesterday Ronald Reagan’s former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence J. Korb pleaded for an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before a joint meeting of the House Armed Services Air and Land Forces Subcommittee and the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
“First, repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy,” Korb told the joint hearing. “The Army and Marine Corps cannot afford to place unnecessary obstacles in the way of qualified men and women who want to serve.” Korb went on to note that “over the past 10 years more than 10,000 personnel have been discharged as a result of this policy, including 800 with skills deemed ‘mission critical,’ such as pilots, combat engineers, and linguists. These are the very job functions for which the military has experienced personnel shortfalls.”
The Servicemember’s Legal Defense Network which advocates for gays in the military estimates that two members of the armed forces are discharged every day because they are gay. A study conducted last year for SLDN concluded that the U.S. military could attract as many as 41,000 new recruits if gays and lesbians in the military were able to be open about their sexual orientation.
The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal DADT, is currently before both chambers of Congress and has support from both sides of the aisle. However, the act is not expected to be voted upon until after the election, obviously, for the protection of its supporters.