Last month, NBC’s Richard Engel reported that the Pentagon’s Working Group study of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell had found that a majority of American troops would either not object to serving alongside openly gay troops or would raise any concerns directly with their gay peers, suggesting that repeal wouldn’t be nearly as disruptive as some conservative critics have suggested.
Now, two sources who have seen a copy of the survey — which is scheduled for release on December 1 — are telling the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and Greg Jaffe that repeal will not disrupt the military during a time of war:
More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, said two sources familiar with the document. The survey results led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them. [...]
The document totals about 370 pages and is divided into two sections. The first section explores whether repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” would harm unit readiness or morale. It cites the findings of a survey sent over the summer to 400,000 active-duty and reserve troops, a separate questionnaire sent to about 150,000 military spouses, the responses submitted to an anonymous online dropbox seeking comments, and responses from focus-group participants.
The second part of the report presents a plan for ending enforcement of the ban. It is not meant to serve as the military’s official instruction manual on the issue but could be used if military leaders agreed, one of the sources said.
The report, which the service chiefs received last week, also notes that while a majority of service members have signaled “no strong objections, a significant minority is opposed to serving alongside openly gay troops,” “40 percent of the Marine Corps is concerned about lifting the ban, according to one of the people familiar with the report.” On Saturday, Gen. James Amos, the new commandant of the Marine Corps, echoed this sentiment, telling reporters that repeal carried “risk.” Amos has also previously stated that the Marines’ sense of “discipline” and “leadership” are “going to carry the day for us should the law get changed” — despite any opposition from the ranks.
According to the Posts’ sources, “[t]he report also concludes that gay troops should not be put into a special class for equal employment or discrimination purposes” and “recommends few, if any, changes to policy covering military housing and benefits, because the military must abide by the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which does not recognize same-sex marriage.”
The report does not anticipate “a large ‘coming out’ by gay men and lesbians serving in uniform” once the policy is repealed.