"A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts, according to two people familiar with a draft of the report, which is due to President Obama on Dec. 1."
That's the lead paragraph from tonight's must-read report by The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe and Greg Jaffe, "Sources: Pentagon group finds there is minimal risk to lifting gay ban during war."
The article details, among other things, that a draft of the coming report is 370 pages and separated into one part detailing "whether repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' would harm unit readiness or morale." It is this part that discusses the much-criticized survey of troops.
According to O'Keefe and Jaffe:
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 second part "presents a plan for ending enforcement of the ban," the article states.
On the heels of the Post's report, the Palm Center issued a release headlined, "Experts: Pentagon Findings End Debate on Gays in the Military."
Among the experts quoted are Nathaniel Frank, the author of Unfriendly Fire, and a participant in the pre-election White House meeting held to discuss DADT repeal.
Frank said in the release, "The Pentagon has reportedly found what more than twenty other studies already found: that openly gay service does not harm military readiness. With the unit cohesion debate settled, the question now is political: Will lawmakers who were waiting for these findings keep their word and proceed to an up or down vote on whether to end discrimination in our armed forces?"
Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center, said in the release, "A measure of the full report is still needed and there are undoubtedly adjustments that will need to be considered as any transition to openly gay service moves forward. However, the Pentagon itself has made the strongest case for the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell" in stating that this can be done during wartime without harming unit cohesion or military readiness."