Politico has obtained a copy of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell survey sent out to 150,000 military spouses yesterday. The document is part of a broader Pentagon study designed to determine the consequences of repealing the ban against open service. Earlier this year, the Pentagon came under attack from groups representing gay and lesbian servicemembers after portions of a separate survey of active and reservist troops became public. Citing privacy concerns, activist groups advised closeted gay members against participating in the study and denounced it as insulting.
This 13-page document — which begins with a letter from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates informing spouses that the survey “will help us assess the impact of a change in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law and policy on family readiness and recruiting and retention” — has sparked similar condemnation from LGB groups. “This survey of military spouses contains many of the same insulting and derogatory assumptions and insinuations about gays and lesbian that ran throughout the last survey,” Servicemembers United said in a statement. “Answer choices suggest things like the Defense Department possibly distributing flyers in military neighborhoods if, as they say, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is repealed and that the ‘readiness’ of military families might somehow be impacted.”
Below are several sample questions. Read the full survey HERE:
Q: Do you have any family members, friends or acquaintances, including coworkers, whom you believe to be gay or lesbian?
A: Yes, one, Yes, more than one, No
Q: How important a factor would a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell be to you in making decisions about your spouse’s future in the military?
A: Very important, Important, Neither important nor unimportant, Unimportant, Very unimportant, Don’t Know
Q: Would a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell affect your willingness to recommend military service to a family member or close friend?
A: Yes, I would be more likely to recommend military service to a family member or close friend
Yes, I would be less likely to recommend military service to a family member or close friend
No, it would not affect my willingness to recommend military service to a family member or close friend
The Pentagon insists that the survey will allow for a smoother repeal of the policy by informing the military of possible conflicts that could arise in community life. It also expects that repeal will be a low priority for spouses, in the context of other concerns like educational opportunities and access to medical care.
The survey’s recipients were selected at random from the Pentagon’s database of registered spouses, which does not include the partners of gay and lesbian troops. The Pentagon is engaged in a separate process of contacting and incorporating the voices of LGB partners. In fact, according to one Pentagon source, the co-chairs of the DADT study group have already met with several spouses of gay and lesbian members.
Spouses will have until September 27th to complete the survey. The results of the broader DADT study are expected at the beginning of December.
Over at Daily Kos Clarknt67 observes, “The military taking time to survey such a thing is a validation of the viewpoint that objecting to living near a homosexual is somehow rational, somehow a viewpoint that should be considered.”
,The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld via Twitter, “From the #dadt Spouse Survey: “Assume DADT is repealed. Would repeal affect your family readiness?” //Huh??
,AmericaBlog’s Joe Sudbay: “You have to wonder how the hell the Pentagon came up with these questions. Makes me think Elaine Donnelly had a hand in writing the survey. And, we’ve been told repeatedly, the Pentagon study is about ‘how’ to implement repeal, not ‘if’. But, everything we see from the Pentagon seems to be a lesson in how not to implement repeal.”