data dump

Pentagon Survey: Most Troops Know They’ve Served With Gays. And Most Of Those Troops Had No Problem

(UPDATE: It’s here!) Though the Pentagon won’t release the final report until later this afternoon (right here), the results go something like this: “According to a survey sent to 400,000 service members, 69 percent of those responding reported that they had served with someone in their unit who they believed to be gay or lesbian. Of those who did, 92 percent stated that their unit’s ability to work together was very good, good, or neither good nor poor, according to the sources. Combat units reported similar responses, with 89 percent of Army combat units and 84 percent of Marine combat units saying they had good or neutral experiences working with gays and lesbians. At the same time, the report found that 30 percent of those surveyed overall — and between 40 and 60 percent of the Marine Corps — either expressed concern or predicted a negative reaction if Congress were to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military on the condition that they keep their sexuality a secret.”

Speaking today at a press conference, Adm. Mike Mullen says “the data is very compelling” to show a repeal will not negatively affect the military. Adds Sec. Gates: “One of the things that’s very important to me is personal integrity, and a policy and a law that in effect requires people to lie gives me a problem … A policy that requires people to lie about themselves somehow seems to me fundamentally flawed.” Gates also adds there will be “no separate facilities” for gay and lesbian troops, and that he believes the Pentagon should offer housing and spousal benefits for gay troops.

Army Gen. Carter Ham says he expects short-term reactions to gays serving openly once DADT is repealed, but over time it will become a non-issue.

Jeh Johnson notes the results of the spousal survey matched the results of troops, with some 74 percent saying repeal would have no effect on whether their partners stayed in the military. Johnson addressed troops’ religious objections to homosexuality, saying soldiers would not be required to change their beliefs, but would certainly be expected to respect their comrades — something that’s already a given. He also addressed concerns, raised by folks like the Family Research Council, that repealing the law means the gays are gonna start fucking everything in sight, even breeders!, but noted existing regulations already cover that behavior. Johnson also notes the report concludes there should be no separate facilities for gay troops, but that officers should retain the right to handle individual cases of discomfort among troops. Troops kicked out of the military, or who left because they were forced to lie, should be able to re-join the military pursuant to standard criteria.

What about soldiers who just can’t get through the day knowing there are openly gay people right next to them?! Their commanding officers have the power, but are not to use it as a first response, to discharge these bigots, says Ham. (NB: I don’t have Ham’s exact quote, and I’m working to re-confirm I correctly relayed what he meant.) Update: Yep, that’s what Ham meant. His quote: “We do not believe and we do not recommend that a servicemember simply by stating, you know, I — homosexuality is contrary to my beliefs or my religious views or what have you, should — that person should then be eligible for separation. But, having said that, there — if the servicemember is unable to reconcile his or herself and their conduct and they become disruptive in the force, leaders, commanders have a full range of authority that could ultimately lead to that servicemember being separated. We don’t believe that should be the first course of action, but that remedy is available today under current authorities.”

As for gay soldiers who feels threatened by bigoted comrades? Johnson says a “well founded fear for … physical safety” is certainly a problem, but does not have a blanket response for how to handle such a situation, such as an automatic transfer. Adds Ham: Military officials “know how to deal with” any soldier who violently attacks another, for sexuality or otherwise; “it is criminal behavior and we have means for dealing with it.”

The general conclusion reached by all four men: There is no good reason to keep DADT. It would be good for the military to kill the law. But their plan to implement a post-repeal plan requires lawmakers to immediately act to repeal the law.

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  • Mike in Asheville

    “According to a survey sent to 400,000 service members…” BUT ONLY 120,000 servicemembers actually returned their surveys!

    70% of all servicemembers have no or so little concern about repealing DADT that they did not, even after repeated and heavy-handed directions by the Sec. of Defense, the Joint Chiefs, and servicemembers respective commanders, take the 45 minutes to fill out and return the survey.

    Thus, the 30% of the 120,000 servicemembers who believe that a repeal of DADT will be problematic represents 36,000 of the total 400,000 surveyed, or 9% of the military.

  • Jaroslaw

    Thanks Mike GREAT point about statistics.

    Most things, it seems, are like this, designed only to create confusion among the peons/general public and keep those in power, in power. Because us “little” people are fighting about things that don’t matter.

    Meanwhile, how many of us have pensions? Will social security be there when we retire? Does anyone know Medicare only covers 80% of your hospital bill? Do you know how much 20% of a big bill can be that YOU are responsible to pay? What about good paying jobs for the youth of today?

    Also on DADT, funny how there are soo ssooooo many countries that allow openly Gay to serve and there is no problem there either.

  • Riker

    Alright, this hurdle has been resolved. What condition will they throw at us next? Maybe we need to poll chaplains or something now.

  • slobone

    Thanks for the link to the actual report. I checked, and the Working Group does in fact recommend repeal of the anti-sodomy regulations in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Cause without that, the whole thing would be kind of a joke…

  • Jaroslaw

    yeah, the uniform code of justice that isn’t uniform and I’m not speaking about Gay issues…….

  • Jaroslaw

    Actually Mike, I just re-read the story – why would 30% predict negative consequences if DADT is repealed when 92% and 84% felt good or neutral about working with Gays?

    So, it might actually be even less than 9%…….

  • Cam

    Sorry, there have been two previous reports that have reached the same conclusion, not just one.

    The Pentagon did a study in the late 80’s that concluded gays should be allowed to serve. They tried to bury it.


    Then the General Accounting Office undertook a study at the request of Congress in 1992. It also said that the Policy should be scraped.


    This is now the third survey that has reached the same conclusion­. Bigots will always be bigots and allowing them to try to claim that they need more time to “Study” this is letting them off the hook for their bigotry.”

  • B

    In No 1: Mike wrote, “Thus, the 30% of the 120,000 servicemembers who believe that a repeal of DADT will be problematic represents 36,000 of the total 400,000 surveyed, or 9% of the military.”

    You can’t draw that conclusion because you are assuming without proof that all the people who did not return the survey did not care whether gays are in the military or not. Some people simply don’t like to fill out surveys, some may have lost the forms before filling them out, etc.

    While its plausible that people upset about DADT being repealed would be more likely than the average to respond, it is equally plausible that people who really want DADT repealed (and not all of them are gay) would also be more likely to respond.

  • Michael @

    Before anyone wets themselves and contributes to SLDN’s and SU’s Fund to Build a Statue to Robert Gates, note that the whole Pentagon crew is still talking out of both sides of their mouths.

    IF they genuinely believe the ban is wrong AT LEAST tell us WHEN you’re going to end it. What kind of military plans something [they claim is] so major and doesn’t have an explicit proposed timeline and end date. Imagine: “D-Day? Oh, someday—not fast but not drawn out.”

    And research proves that such vagueness is counterproductive to the success they claim to want so much. For proof that the meat of the report is just a Copy/Paste of the 1993 RAND Study…and, therefore, a dishonest waste of time and at least $4.4 MILLION taxpayer dollars, see:


  • Jeremy

    Now can we repeal the damn thing? And most important, can we rub this harder to John McCain’s face?

  • ChrisM

    Hmm, the survey is pretty offensive to read, as I should have expected.

    I am actually a little surprised at some of the numbers. About 33% of people who attend family programs will stop attending them if gays/lesbians attend with their partners, compared to about 46% who will continue. However, I’m naively just realizing that any soldier or spouse who was against the repeal of DADT would of course have answered every question as negatively as possible. I imagine the actual number of people who will stop attending such programs when DADT is repealed will be closer to 1%. It’s great to see that even with the exaggerators, the Pentagon study still works in our favor.

  • Lucas

    Read pages 122-124 of the report. They get it right.

  • B

    If you look at the report, there’s a set of appendices and one of these is supposed to discuss the people who did not bother to fill out the survey. Unfortunately, when I downloaded it, the silly thing said you needed the latest version of Adobe’s reader because it had some new feature to bundle multiple files (something you can do trivially with existing tools like “zip”).

  • Michael @


    And the paint just keeps peeling: OUTRAGEOUS BETRAYAL in the Pentagon report’s Executive Summary:

    “We do not recommend that sexual orientation be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, as a class eligible for various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and complaint resolution processes under the Military Equal Opportunity Program. We believe that doing so could produce a sense, rightly or wrongly, that gay men and lesbians are being elevated to a special status as a “protected class” and will receive special treatment. In a new environment in which gay and lesbian Service members can be open about their sexual orientation, we believe they will be accepted more readily if the military community understands that they are simply being permitted equal footing with everyone else.

    In the event of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Department of Defense should make clear that sexual orientation may not, in and of itself, be a factor in accession, promotion, or other personnel decision-making. Gay and lesbian Service members, like all Service members, would be evaluated only on individual merit, fitness, and capability. Likewise, the Department of Defense should make clear that harassment or abuse based on sexual orientation is unacceptable and that all Service members are to treat one another with dignity and respect regardless of sexual orientation. Complaints regarding discrimination, harassment, or abuse based on sexual orientation can be dealt with through existing mechanisms—primarily the chain of command—available for complaints not involving race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.”

    This is a DIRECT, PREMEDITATED result of SECDEF Gates having forced our allies in Congress in May to GUT the Military Readiness Enhancement Act which would have MANDATED creation of a federal law explicitly banning any kind of discrimination against gays in the military…as well as an unequivocal end to ALL discharges within six months….leaving us grasping for a hallow amendment that guarantees NOTHING.

    “The Huffington Post,” June 3, 2010:

    “Pelosi said the House WEAKENED ITS REPEAL LANGUAGE TO MOLLIFY THE WHITE HOUSE. …Military leaders [read: Gates] REFUSED TO ACCEPT LANGUAGE THAT WOULD BAR DISCRIMINATION, so the clause was dropped.”

    This doubletalk recommendation would KEEP us second class citizens in the military, versus some 700,000 civilian employees of the DOD who do have federal job protections about which their managers are already trained by the DOD Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute which does similar training in regards to race, gender, etc., in the military under the MEO program.

    Therefore, it is unacceptable and MUST be protested IMMEDIATELY! Looks like you’re going to have to find your balls yet, Gay, Inc.!

  • Cam

    @B: said…

    You can’t draw that conclusion because you are assuming without proof that all the people who did not return the survey did not care whether gays are in the military or not. Some people simply don’t like to fill out surveys, some may have lost the forms before filling them out, etc.””

    Ahhhh, B, here to take the other side of whichever discussion is going on.

    Actually he can draw that conclusion because if somebody cared at all about the situation they would have filled it out, you can’t assume that hundreds of thousands “LOST” the survey, because it was online also. So the huge percentage of folks in the military didn’t even care enough to bother taking the survey.

  • robert in nyc

    Now lets see if the republicans filibuster this one!

  • robert in nyc

    I just heard that the GOP (via McConnell) will block all or any legislation as long as Obama refuses to grant an extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%. So there you have it. Obama will probably cave in as he always does and let the extension take place and in return get an extension of unemployment benefits for another two months. What a bunch of disgustingly greedy immoral pigs the republicans are.

  • customartist

    The Survey is in and it is indisputable. Senators voting against Repeal vote Against the Will of the American People. The Bigots will be Revealed.

    Senatorial voting records during the original Civil Rights Movement might have been obscured or unpublicized, but the Votes of Today’s Senators will be Front Page News!, and we must remind them of this!

    Let your voice be heard!

    Email Senate:

    Email Congress:

    Email The Whitehouse

    Call the Senate and Congress: (202)224-3121
    *The Operator will direct you if you do not know your representative

    *IMPORTANT* Be polite and to the point.

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  • B

    No. 17 · Cam wrote (mistakenly again),

    “Ahhhh, B, here to take the other side of whichever discussion is going on. Actually he can draw that conclusion because if somebody cared at all about the situation they would have filled it out, you can’t assume that hundreds of thousands “LOST” the survey, because it was online also. So the huge percentage of folks in the military didn’t even care enough to bother taking the survey.”

    Wrong Cam – I was not taking “the other side” but simply pointing out a reasoning error.

    1. If you think homophobes have an incentive to fill in the survey to complain, you have to consider that gay service-persons and supporters have the same incentive (but obviously will have different answers), and you simply don’t know a priori which way any biases will go.

    2. If they lose a paper form, they can lose email as well (or fail to notice it in all the clutter).

    3. Some people just don’t like filling out survey forms no matter what they think regarding some issue.

    As I pointed out subsequently, one of the appendices of the report supposedly discusses the non-responders (one way of estimating biases due to that is to telephone a random sample of individuals, ask if they responded, and if not, try to collect some data on those individuals to see if the results might be skewed.) Unfortunately, due to a software issue, I couldn’t read the appendix after downloading the file. Regardless, it seems this issue was addressed in some way – by someone who may actually know what he’s talking about.

Comments are closed.