The first academic study on the effects of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has revealed that open service has had no negative impact on the military and has actually improved relations among troops.
The Palm Center conducted the study three years after over 1,000 retired generals and admirals signed a statement predicting that DADT’s repeal would “break the All-Volunteer Force.” In addition to performing on-site field observations of military units and survey analysis, lead author on the study Dr. Aaron Belkin and his colleagues conducted interviews with over half of those riled-up retirees as well as with activists both for and against the repeal.
The study’s main findings include:
(1) Only two service members, both chaplains, were identified as having left the military as a result of DADT repeal; (2) A Pentagon spokesperson told the study’s co-authors that she was not aware of a single episode of violence associated with repeal; (3) Pentagon data show that recruitment and retention remained robust after repeal; (4) Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of morale after repeal as they did prior to repeal; (5) Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of readiness after repeal as they did prior to repeal.
The authors also found evidence that DADT’s repeal improved trust among troops, facilitated problem resolution and has led to more frank discussions that debunk preconceived notions about gay people. So it seems, after all, that asking and telling leads to sharing…and caring.
The study can be found in its entirety here.