When Air Force Col. Om Prakash lambasted Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a stern article in Joint Force Quarterly, everyone got all sorts of excited because the magazine is published for Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, so surely the piece was somewhat of a Pentagon-approved critique of status quo? Actually, not at all.
Prakash, who wrote the piece after studying DADT at the National Defense University, made his position very clear: It’s not time to “review” DADT, but to burn it alive in a public square. But just because his article would up in Mullen’s magazine doesn’t mean Mullen approved it.
In what can only be explained as a “distancing” from Prakash’s position, Mullen’s spokesman Capt. John Kirby says the piece appeared in Joint Force Quarterly because it won a Defense Department essay content, and not because Mullen commissioned the piece. “Broadly speaking, it is the chairman’s magazine, and he wants it to be a forum for open debate and discussion for issues in the military writ large. But there was no intention with the publication of this article to send any subliminal message to the force or the country about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Oh don’t worry: No subliminal message is needed. The Pentagon has made its position on DADT painfully clear.
(NB: Interestingly, NPR relays that Prakash’s piece might be only the second or third anti-DADT article to appear in an official military publication. The first was in 2003, from Palm Center director Aaron Belkin, in Parameters, the U.S. Army War College quarterly. In a 2005 op-ed, , an active-duty lieutenant colonel at West Point wrote a similar item for the Army Times.)