Today the Pentagon released its official report on the effects of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the results are largely positive. While some opposition and division within the ranks is revealed by the survey, the report concludes by strongly supporting a DADT repeal.
Particularly revealing are survey results on how repealing DADT would affect task cohesion, important because “unit cohesion” is an oft-named defense of the ban on gay servicemembers. Across a variety of questions, over 70% of servicemembers surveyed believed that repealing DADT would affect unit cohesion positively, equally positively and negatively, or not at all. Less than 30% of those surveyed believed that it would affect unit cohesion negatively or very negatively. Most questions related to social cohesion were also 70% or more in neutral or positive categories. The low point in the category was a question asking how a repeal of DADT would affect how service members trust each other within a unit, to which 66.9% of responders expect neutral or positive effects.
Some stark contrasts appeared when analyzing combat and noncombat servicemen separately, though neither group had a majority opposed to repealing DADT. In questions about unit effectiveness, approximately 80% of servicemembers who had not seen combat deployment since September 11, 2001 believed repealing DADT would have a net neutral or positive effect. More opposition was seen among those who had seen combat deployment since 9/11, with neutral or positive support ranging from 55% to 70% depending on the activity.
Overall, the Pentagon summarized all survey results as strongly supporting repeal of DADT. After analyzing survey results and effects of integration on other militaries, the Pentagon concluded that “the risk of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to overall military effectiveness is low.” This is an important step in the process of repealing DADT, and lends support to current Congressional efforts to do so.