In the Milblog world, the discussion of DADT has popped above the ambient noise again with a joint statement on the topic by a gaggle of the front-line milbloggers that is worth your read. I think the last part summarized the issue well.

The US Military is professional and ready to adapt to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell without compromising its mission. Echoing Sec. Def. Gates and ADM Mullen, we welcome open and honorable service, regardless of sexual orientation.

Last year on my home blog, I reinforced my long held position that we need to go from “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” to “Don’t Care.”

… ending DADT is the right move. In Phib’s world, we would simply go to “Don’t care” and move on. I know though that it won’t be that easy – and it will be painful – though not in the way many think.

Sailors will nod their head and move forward. Heck, we all know we have gay shipmates anyway, and the younger the Sailor, the least they care. Sure we will have a violent idiot here and there (as we have with blue-on-blue sexual harassment) – but they will be a small and easy to deal with problem as we already have the UCMJ and “unofficial” ways of dealing with those attitudes and actions in the workplace; so no problem.

Let’s move on. The Brits survived WAR PLAN PINK just fine – so will we. When homosexual radicals try to go too far, push back. 90%+ gay servicemembers probably feel the same way. Just let them be themselves – they will do the same, just like they do now.

For the readers of this blog – we joined the discussion in FEB of this year with Claude Berube’s thoughtful piece,

Some individuals on ships can already have significant personality differences based on a number of factors, yet they do their jobs regardless of those differences. If we have done our jobs as parents, as teachers, as military leaders, then we must trust the next generation that they will all do their job as well. If we don’t have that trust, then we have far more to be concerned about with the future of our nation.

In the end, nothing matters except ability to do the job. The real eyes on the prize should be about how the Navy can optimally perform through individual performance and contributions to the whole. Modifying Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to Didn’t Know, Don’t Care would accomplish that goal.

We also discussed it for an hour over at Midrats.

I think from a USNI POV, we should nod our heads that we were on the early edge of the discussion of DADT in the milblog world, and hopefully put out the message that the discussion among those affiliated with the military is just as varied in opinion as those outside – that we did not fit the stereotype others made for us. By doing so, I think we set the table for what is needed – an open and frank discussion of its impact on readiness.

Some may not like that we discussed this topic here – but I would ask them to review USNI’s Mission & Vision Statement.

The U.S. Naval Institute Mission Statement

Provide an Independent Forum to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense.


Through intellectual rigor and honesty second to none, the Naval Institute will be the organization that tests the conventional wisdom and explores the power of new ideas on National Defense, the role of the Sea Services in preserving it, and our commitment to those in uniform who provide it.

Sounds right – fold that into the “creative friction without conflict” that represents the best of the Milblog world – and yep; I think we hit it just right.

UPDATE: USNI has a page on DADT as covered over time, here.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Policy

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  • Robbo

    Hear, hear!

  • Eagle1

    Serious discussion that worries over potential “third order” effects requires that there be open and honest debate.

    Dealing with shades of gray may bother those operating in a “one size fits all world” but a real study of the potential effects of one form or policy or another is proper for the senior military commanders.

    Claude Berube may be right that the answer is in rating everyone on something like getting the job done or on warrior ability and leaving extraneous factors out of the equation.

    That being said, however, given all the metrics we love to measure in the services and the demands of outside forces to “prove” a lack of discrimination (and I just love attempting to prove a negative), however, just not asking and not caring seems unlikely to be the “official policy.”

    Ultimately, it may become a battle between real inclusion (which I would argue is best represented by “don’t know, don’t care”- “DKDC”) or a variation of “check in the box” number counting.

    The former can’t be measured, and the latter seems to lead to evaluations like this: “CDR X’s command has a gay friendly environment – with x number of confirmed gays comprising 10% of the command population with a special gay adviser to the commander on LGBT issues and bi-weekly training on command sensitivity to gay issues. During this promotion cycle, 100 of gay sailors were recommended for advancement as compared to 80% of straight sailors.”

    Good-bye “inclusion” and welcome to the further Balkanization of the force.

    So, yes, careful study is required in looking at implementation. Meanwhile, I DKDC.

  • The Bunny

    I love the “Don’t know, don’t care!” When DADT is repealed, the only soldiers and sailors who will need separate berthing and showers in the military are homophobes. The rest of us heterosexuals DON’T CARE!

  • Jason

    Why would you not want to know what’s going on in the lives of your people? I wish I was paid a bonus for all the personal problems I helped fix for straight sailors as a Naval Officer. To deny our gay service members the same benefits puts them in a very bad position. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell fails because it alienates our gay military members socially from the rest of the force. I grasp that it was supposed to be a compromise, but Admiral Mullen’s assessment is correct, it puts our men and women in a position where they have to lie to friends and commands. We’re asking them to violate their honor, and courage so they can be serve and be committed to the mission.

    We’re putting our men and women in a position where they have to lie to us, or appear completely disconnected and unsociable. Imagine serving in a military where the service could know nothing of the service member’s partner or family life. That is the situation we’re putting our gay service members in. No support on deployment. No notification of injury or death. No social activities at that person’s home. Reduced social activities while not deployed. The list goes on and on.

  • ToTheRiver

    The problem with acting like “Don’t Know” is such a great idea is that once DADT is repealed the current mix of homosexuals in the military will probably still be private about their lifestyle, but new recruits won’t be and you won’t have the option of “Don’t Know”. They will let you know.

    I have a friend who is a male airline attendent. He is heterosexual. He states that he regularly is accosted by homosexual male flight attendents to see if he is open to something more. He always declines, but says it’s quite annoying.

    With the current policy, the more openly gay or flamboyant are not joining the military. With a repeal, there is nothing to deter that and so it’s expected that more will join. This will certainly change the unit climate, (change is not always bad, but change will occur)

    In all these discussons it seems the homosexual sailor used as an example is your 4.0, squared away bluejacket that of course no one has a problem with. No one has an issue with a sailor who is doing their job while they are doing it. But what about the other half of the day when the sailors are not about their job but are on their off time. That’s where there are issues.

    Bunny, per a homophobia is an “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.” So if I have a moral disagreement with the hmosexaul lifestyle, am I still a homophobe? I have often worked with homosexuals, with no issues at all, but I still disagree with the lifestyle choice and I belive its impact our culture is overall negative. I have no problem working with momosexuals, but showering with them seems to be a whole new step. Do you feel comfortable showering with other men?

    I would recommend being careful using the word homophobe. I don’t think this is the place for accusations like that. It can make you look to be not very tolerant. Let’s have a discussion without name calling.

  • E1,
    You outlined my one major reservation that I have. Our senior leadership has a horrible track record in not standing up to the Diversity Bullies and buying in to the worst debunked theories of the grievance industry that is firmly rooted in the ’70s. They can’t seem to get enough of their latest recycled prescription for over-compensation and self-loathing.

    To make it worse, they are advised and briefed by those who have a monetary stake in emphasizing difference, promoting division, and generally preventing Sailors from carrying out he plan of the day.

    I don’t think that is a reason not to move forward though.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    The “issue” should be whether such a repeal will increase combat readiness. And the damage the Diversi-Nazis will do, compounded with a demonstrated lack of leadership and moral courage by key senior Officers in all services, make that issue very much in doubt.

  • Michael Antoniewicz II

    “…My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

    He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasn’t the measure of the man….”

    From: The Best Thing I’ve Read All Year
    Published on May 04, 2000

  • Jay

    I was lucky enough to sit on on one of the CRWG (Comprehensive Review Working Groups) re: same recently. Good, candid discussions, they are eliciting all feedback, positive & negative.

    There is a political component to this issue, Pres Obama & his team are doing this the correct way — through the Congress.

    If the Dems keep the Senate (even if with a smaller majority), and if they keep the House, then it is likely we’ll see a solid & thoughtful DoD implementation plan in early 2011.

    I am not sure you will see the same result if the Republicans gain control of the House, but I remain hopeful that we will.

    This change is long overdue. ADM Mullen was spot on.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Well, Jay, as long as you’re not partisan…

  • Eagle1

    Jay: Where exactly are they soliciting this feedback?

  • Jay

    Eagle1 — All services, practically all major bases, CONUS & some OCONUS. The intent is to also solicit feedback via electronic means (CAC-enabled) — and to get family/spouse feedback as well.

    URR — You’re projecting (again…). You can enjoy complaining about it at the VFW hall while the Navy moves on…

  • Jay

    Eagle1 — More here from 06 May Stars & Stripes Article:

    KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The Defense Department has created an online site seeking anonymous opinions from servicemembers and their families about the possible repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

    Except the opinions aren’t necessarily anonymous. Many family members can’t access the website. And it’s not clear exactly what kind of feedback officials are seeking.

    The recently created site — — is accessible only by using a DOD-issued Common Access Card, which most family members don’t have. And use of the CAC card means that any comments are potentially traceable back to their source.

    The website urges users to be “open and honest” with their responses. But they also are reminded “don’t use your name or the names of others. … The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Law’ is still in effect.”

    The 17-year-old law barring homosexuals from openly serving in the military is under review by Congress and the Pentagon following calls for its repeal by President Obama. Pentagon officials have said they intend to solicit opinions from across the military about the potential effects of a repeal. Last month, Army Secretary John McHugh said a Defense Department working group studying the issue was looking for ways to allow troops to speak candidly without fear of separation.

    The website offers a blank “comment box” but no guidelines regarding what kinds of opinions are being sought.

    A note on the site from working group leaders Jeh Johnson, DoD chief legal counsel, and Gen. Carter Ham, U.S. Army Europe commander, does say that “the Secretary of Defense directed us to reach out to you to identify issues that we should consider” in developing an implementation plan for repeal of DADT.

    DoD spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the department is seeking feedback on how a repeal would affect things such as retention, readiness and unit cohesion.

    “It’s not whether or not we should repeal,” she said.

    Family members are included because the department recognizes that they’re an integral part of a servicemember’s career, Smith said. Participants are only asked to identify their gender; service component; rank; and whether they are a military or family member.

    But requiring a CAC to reach the site raises several issues. Family members who aren’t working as DoD civilians or contractors don’t have one. Smith said they can input feedback with help from their military spouse.

    “We want candid, frank input from servicemembers and their families,” Smith said.

    But civilians and contractors who have a CAC can comment even though they are not the intended audience. And there’s no limit to how many times one person can comment, potentially skewing the results.

    “It’s a trust issue,” Smith said. “We have nothing that limits them to one comment. We welcome all types of comments.”

    All comments will be reviewed by a third-party contractor, who will take out any names or other potential identifiers provided in the online comment box before submitting them to the DoD working group reviewing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Smith said.

    Still, a user agreement at the site warns that the working group “cannot guarantee the confidentiality of the information you provide.” Using a CAC to get to the site creates a digital log-in record. But Smith said the DoD won’t be “going back through the system to identify anyone who has given us this feedback.”

    A message on the site indicates that a “confidential mechanism” for offering feedback is still under construction.

    The online comment box is just one tool the Defense Department is using to review the effects of repealing the policy. The working group is conducting information forums at bases worldwide to obtain input about issues associated with the repeal of the law, Smith said.

    And the DoD is still working on a method that would allow gay servicemembers to communicate their thoughts, ideas and experiences in a confidential manner, she said.

    Ham told The Washington Post last month that his group would probably employ a third-party pollster to reach out to gay military members and survey them under a guarantee of confidentiality.

    “These groups have some pretty masterful ways of reaching out to what they call hidden groups in larger communities,” he said, according to the Post.

    In March, Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered Ham and Johnson to conduct a comprehensive review of the issues associated with a repeal of the 1994 law. In the process, the review should “systematically engage the force” by seeking “participation of a range of age, rank and warfare communities in this study, including families,” Gates directed.

    The study is to be completed by Dec. 1.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    So an on-line survey site constitutes meaningful analysis?

    Once the subject became how we are going to, rather than if we should, the amount of input and analysis to be considered narrowed to a very tiny spectrum.

    Mullen et. al. should have the seeds to say “We’re doing it anyway, we don’t care what you think” instead of this sham of appearing to solicit debate.

  • Jay


    You continue to be off-the-mark with this topic.

    There is no longer any substantive debate on “should we do this”. While you’d like to think there is, you are incorrect.

    It appears to me that the focus before DoD now is (and rightly so): “If/when called upon to do this
    – what are the issues
    – what are the implementation challenges (joint or service specific)
    – have we thought all of them through
    – develop a plan to implement

    You don’t have to agree with it. Your (and my) time serving our Nation is coming to an end. This is about the military that the current and future kids will inherit from us. This is not an issue for many of them. Good for them, and good for our Navy, and good for our Nation.

  • Byron

    Jay, when you were an officer, did you ever get an order that you KNEW was going to be detrimental to good order and discipline?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “There is no longer any substantive debate on “should we do this”. While you’d like to think there is, you are incorrect.”

    Like global warming, immigration, and health care reform?

  • Michael Antoniewicz II

    aha aha aha (shake finger) URR.
    No adding Strawman arguments.
    There’s too many in this already.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Until you can show how repeal of DADT is going to improve combat readiness, won’t be a disruption to the military culture, will not be used by the Diversity Nazis to create another special interest group to further divide us, or lead to heightened sexual tensions between service members in close quarters, you haven’t even begun “substantive debate”, let alone ended it.

    “Because it will”, and “because I said so” don’t count.

    The method of declaring something highly dubious, stifling dissent, and declaring that “debate has ended”, is precisely what is being practiced here, as with all that I mention. So not much strawman about it.

  • Jay


    As you are aware, POTUS said look at it/do it. SECDEF is carrying out the CINC’s request, as are the Services.

    My quick read of how it will improve combat (or other) readiness — is that you no longer lose someone (already trained) – and have to replace them.

    The military culture, generally (and in this case) reflective of overall American culture, has changed, and is changing beneath your feet.

    Tut, tut — use the word “Nazis” for anything other than fanatical Germans following Hitler in the early 1930s through 1945 and your point (whatever it was) isn’t worth looking at anymore.

    I’ll leave your political thoughts to you. Where they should remain.

    Byron — you don’t get to comment on this one, sorry, Buddy.

  • Byron

    Jay: 1) My tax dollars support the Armed Forces. 2) I’ve spent enough time repairing your ships I’ve come to feel like part of the team. 3) It’s MY FREAKIN’ NAVY that’s keeping my family safe and sound.

    So don’t tell me I get to comment on this. Also, I didn’t “comment”; I asked you a question. It was simple. Comes with an equally simple answer.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Jay knows everything, just ask him. Our opinions are to be kept to ourselves, apparently.

    The only things offered are that POTUS said so, and someone with talent may be lost.

    Lots of people have talent who are incompatible with military service. And the military culture was said in 1994 to have changed in precisely the same way as is being claimed now. It was NOT true then, and may or may not be true now. But, as usual, the statement is made without anything resembling meaningful proof.

    And then we get the lecture about using “Nazis”. Fine, I will call them the “Diversity Politburo”. Whichever, again, no addressing of the gargantuan problem presented by those who seek to emphasize our divisions and differences for their own power and profit motive. They all but guarantee that gays will not serve “openly but quietly” as has been asserted here and elsewhere.

    So in the end, the only comments Jay can offer to the concerns expressed above are “Because it will”, and “Because I (POTUS) said so”.

  • Jay

    URR — your belief that gay servicemembers shouldn’t be allowed to serve openly because it is “incompatible” with military service that is a quaint and outdated idea. Or, as ex-VP Cheney said (something to the effect of…) “That old chestnut…”.

    While your opinion does matter, change is happening. As ADM Mullen mentioned, you can always vote with your feet.

    Byron — you didn’t ask a question, you threw out a statement with a question mark on the end of it. But really, your thoughts on this don’t matter. No skin in the game, even if you feel otherwise.

  • Byron

    Jay, it was a question you chose to ignore. Fine. I’m sure by now that all the kook-aid you’ve drunk makes it a lot easier to keep your head in the sand for long periods of time.

    And don’t EVER tell me I have no skin in the game. I’ve got too many scars and lingering injuries from keeping YOUR ships afloat and ready to put out to sea.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    “Incompatible with military service” is the law of the land at present. Just telling me things are changing does not answer any of the concerns I expressed. If Admiral Mullen tells me to “vote with my feet”, then he is not soliciting input for a fait accompli, but merely going through the motions of doing so. And that doesn’t answer any of the concerns, either.

    Until you can show how repeal of DADT is going to improve combat readiness, won’t be a disruption to the military culture, will not be used by the Diversity Nazis to create another special interest group to further divide us, or lead to heightened sexual tensions between service members in close quarters, you haven’t even begun “substantive debate”, let alone ended it.

    One might suspect that the answers to the questions posed would be “I don’t know”, and upon further investigation, some of the answers may not be to the liking of the people in charge. So those answers will be obfuscated, minimized, ignored, and those who give such answers made to pay the price for their candor.

    Why do I suspect this? Because it is consistently what happens with such issues when senior leadership begins to feel political heat.

  • jay

    Nothing left here to say…URR – when you do head down to the local VFW, get Byron in as your guest.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Would be happy to have a man whose dedication to the US Navy and her warships bending elbows as my guest at the VFW.

    Byron, bring wool socks. We had snow two weeks ago. 🙂

  • UltimaRatioReg

    *Burma Shave*

    That sentence is a grammatical disaster. I must have had a few already and not known it. Anyway, Byron, bienvenue a Vermont!

  • Jay

    This guy has it right — go to You Tube, if you have 5 mins — search on CA State Assemblymember (R-San Diego) Nathan Fletcher Senate Joint Resolution 9.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    No, THIS GUY has it right:

    “Our Marines are currently engaged in two fights, and our focus should not be drawn away from those priorities. When the time is right, we have full confidence that we will be asked to provide the best military advice concerning the readiness of the Corps as it relates to this issue.”

    Gen. Conway is the only chief known to have actively surveyed his generals on the impact of removing the ban. Maj. Nevers declined to discuss the commandant’s communications. Gen. Conway’s four-year term ends in November 2010.

  • Jay

    URR – I prefer GEN Jones’ take on it…more realistic.

    The time is not only right, but long overdue.

  • jbowler

    I went to UCLA which is regarded, and not without reason, as a highly diverse institution. But before that, I was in the US Navy for 10 years, and I can assure you that, whatever you happen to think of diversity, the Navy was BY FAR the most diverse institution I have ever been associated with. UCLA isn’t even close.

    One thing you learn to do in the military is to work effectively with people who are different from you; people you do not agree with; people you do not understand; people you do not always like very much.