‘Don’t Ask’ Costs More Than Expected

Posted on 02/15/2006. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Military’s Gay Ban Seen in Budget Terms

By Josh White

Washington Post Staff Writer

The financial costs to the U.S. military for discharging and replacing gay

service members under the nation’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy are

nearly twice what the government estimated last year, with taxpayers

covering at least $364 million in associated funds over the policy’s first

decade, according to a University of California report scheduled for

release today.

Cross posted @ Booman Tribune, Booman Tribune

Members of a UC-Santa Barbara group examining the cost of the policy found

that a Government Accountability Office study last year underestimated the

costs of firing approximately 9,500 service members between 1994 and 2003

for homosexuality. The GAO, which acknowledged difficulties in coming up

with its number, estimated a cost of at least $190.5 million for the same

time period. The new estimate is 91 percent higher.

Although it did not take a stance on the effectiveness of the policy, the

California “blue ribbon commission” — which included former defense

secretary William J. Perry and 11 professors and defense experts — found

that the military has put millions of dollars into recruiting and training

new soldiers and officers to replace those who were removed from their

jobs in the services because they were openly gay. The report also cites

the costs of losing service members to premature discharge, because of the

loss of training “investment.”

“The real issue here is that you have a policy that is costing us money,

hurting readiness and is really not fulfilling any national security

objective,” said Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American

Progress, a liberal think tank, and a member of the commission. “It just

doesn’t make sense now, particularly when you’re having such a hard time

getting people to join the military and retaining them in the right


The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was included in the 1994 Defense

Authorization Act, part of President Bill Clinton’s efforts to take a step

toward lifting the ban on gay people in the military. The law essentially

allowed gay men and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they did

not expose their sexual preference or exhibit homosexual behavior.

Those who do, however, are swiftly discharged.

“The policy is more expensive than we thought it was, in many ways,” said

retired Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, a former Navy judge advocate general who

was on the panel. “The real cost is the cost in human dignity, in

self-respect, and in the image of the military held by the American

public, the world community and itself. . . . The dignity of the armed

forces is at stake.”

Defense Department policies comply with the statute, according to a

Pentagon spokeswoman, and have resulted in individual discharges from

service. But defense officials also noted that those service members

discharged for homosexuality represent just 0.3 percent of all discharges.

According to Pentagon figures provided to the GAO last year, there were

9,501 people separated from the military for homosexuality from 1994 to

2003, compared with 26,446 separated for pregnancy, and 36,513 separated

for failing to meet weight standards.

Charles Moskos, a sociology professor at Northwestern University and an

architect of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” said in an interview yesterday that

he believes allowing openly gay people into the military — especially

combat arms positions — could cause the services to lose many more

recruits who would be uncomfortable living in close quarters with them. He

said the loss in financial costs does not outweigh the costs of forcing

people to live in intimate circumstances with openly gay people. He also

said he believes many of the discharges are the result of people claiming

to be gay to get an honorable discharge from service early.

Click the link above to see the rest of the story.

This policy that President Clinton thought was a starting point to getting gays accepted in the military ahs turned out to be a witch hunt worse than the old policy.  It was wrong then and is still wrong.

The additional cost in harrasement and loss of qualified military personal are beyond belief.
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