Combat Troops' Opposition Not "Insurmountable Barrier" to Homosexuals in Military, Secretary of Defense Says

Edwin Mora,

Although up to 60 percent of U.S. combat units think overturning the law that bars gays from serving in the military will affect “unit cohesion,” those concerns do not pose a ‘insurmountable barrier’ to repealing the statue, Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a Senate panel on Dec. 2.

This week, the Pentagon released a study on the effect of repealing Title 10, U.S. Code Subsection 654, which is the law that bans homosexuals from serving in the armed forces. The study is based on a survey sent to members of the military.

The law was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and has come to be incorrectly known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” which is actually a directive, as previously reported from the Clinton White House that was established in the Defense Department in December 1993.

In his testimony on Wednesday before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Gates said, “The survey data showed that a higher proportion – between 40 and 60 percent – of those troops serving in predominantly all-male combat specialties – mostly Army and Marines, but including special operations formations of the Navy and the Air Force – predicted a negative effect on unit cohesion from repealing the current law.”

He later added, “In my view, the concerns of combat troops as expressed in the survey do not present an insurmountable barrier to a successful repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’”

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