Pentagon Sends Out ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Surveys to Servicemembers
July 7, 2010 /LGBT News/ The Defense Department officials e-mailed surveys to 400,000 servicemembers as part of a special review to prepare the military for a potential repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that bans gays and lesbians from openly serving, Pentagon officials announced today.
As part of the Defense Department's comprehensive review of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, the survey asks roughly 90 questions (depending on how the questions are answered) and will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, according to Pentagon spokesperson Cynthia Smith.
The survey asks about such issues as how unit morale or readiness might be affected if a commander is believed to be gay or lesbian and how repeal might affect willingness to serve in the military. It also asks a number of questions aimed at identifying problems that could occur when troops live and work in close quarters in overseas war zones. For example, the questionnaire asks military members how they would react if they had to share a room, bathrooms, and open-bay showers in a war zone with other service members believed to be gay or lesbian. There also are several questions about reactions to dealing with same-sex partners in social situations.
Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, head the review panel that’s assessing the current law.
“The voice of the servicemembers is still vitally important,” the general said, noting that although amendments to the current law were approved by legislators in May, lawmakers still require the Pentagon review.
“This is draft regulation, it is not yet enacted into law, and there are several hurdles yet to come,” Ham said.
The survey will be completed online over a secure connection and so far the Pentagon has not released a copy of the questions.
In addition to distributing the survey, the Pentagon has also been soliciting opinions in a number of private meetings with troops.
The results of the review will not be available until December, the official said.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked Congress wait to put the matter to a vote until the review is complete, but legislation to repeal the ban has already been inserted into a defense spending bill that could be voted on as early as this month.