Remember that year long study that DoD was undertaking on the repeal of DADT? The study is now undeway with the report due December 1st. But apparently Secretary of the Army John McHugh, one of those leading the march to repeal, has tripped…over his tongue.
Here’s what’s going on. Part of the study involves surveying the views of active military personnel. Service people have been encouraged to participate in interviews. For purposes of the study, McHugh, it seems, advised personnel that they could, at their option, confidentially disclose their sexual orientation during the interviews. He specifically committed to not disciplining troops who revealed their sexuality during interviews.
So, what’s the problem? DADT, in its current iteration and still being enforced, allows no exception for such “confidential” disclosure. The result: active duty personnel who participate in the interview process and “confidentially” disclose being gay or lesbian are not protected from discharge proceedings. That includes three service members who made such “confidential” disclosures to McHugh himself.
In his embarrassed mea culpa yesterday as reported by Politico, McHugh said,
“With regard to the three soldiers who shared their views and thoughts with me on ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, I might better have counseled them that statements about their sexual orientation could not be treated as confidential and could result in their separation under the law.”
Future information collection from gay soldiers will be accomplished through the use of third parties. It is unclear how many interviews have been conducted to date or whether there are others beyond the McHugh Three who may be unwittingly ensnared.
On a related subject, expressing one’s views on repeal of DADT also does not extend to writing editorials. Lt. General Benjamin Mixon, commander of the U. S. Army Pacific, who opposes repeal, found that out after he submitted an editorial on the subject to Stars and Stripes. He was told to shut up or retire. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, acknowledged his displeasure with the General calling the editorial inappropriate and saying,
“If there’s policy direction that someone in uniform disagrees with, the answer is not advocacy; it is in fact to vote with your feet.”
Unlike the gay military personnel who may have to deal with discharge proceedings, General Mixon will face no discipline other than the public scolding.
As interesting as conducting studies must be, maybe DoD should stick to winning wars.
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