WASHINGTON – The repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy coincides with a shift in the way warriors view gays, shown in both the results of a new study and in the way that study was conducted.
“One Year Out: An Assessment of DADT Repeal’s Impact on Military Readiness” says it is the first thorough analysis of the armed forces’ reaction to allowing gays, lesbians and bisexuals to reveal their sexuality without punishment. Repealing the policy has had no adverse effect on the military, the study shows.
Of the nine authors of the UCLA’s Palm Center study, five are professors from military colleges and academies.
“It really is a new day in America,” study author professor Aaron Belkin with the Palm Center wrote in a Monday blog post at HuffingtonPost.com. He went on to describe how the subject of gay service members was “toxic” when he first began researching DADT more than a decade ago and that many were reluctant to discuss it.
Belkin is surprised that a majority of the co-authors of the study are on the Department of Defense payroll, he writes. Among the authors is a professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, two from the U.S. Air Force Academy and one from the U.S. Marine Corps War College.
One expert in intelligence and security says this derives from an overarching shift in Western society.
“Historically, all militaries have operated on a uniformity of thought,” says MJ Gohel, director and CEO of the London-based Asia-Pacific Foundation and WTOP contributor. “Diversity is much more easily accepted and not perceived as a threat in the way it sometimes used to be.”
Intolerance permeated soldiers’ personal lives well before the current gay rights debate, Gohel says. For example, he says junior officers have historically had to seek permission from commanding officers on the suitability of marrying a particular spouse of the opposite sex.