Request for Military Discharge Info Comes Ahead of Possible Congressional Action
Washington, D.C., December 22, 2009 – Today, Congressman Jim Moran issued a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, signed by 96 Members of Congress, requesting monthly reports detailing the rank, time in service and branch of U.S. service members discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in 2009.
“This policy is putting our national security at risk and wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year in unrecoverable recruiting and training expenditures.” said Moran. “Until we repeal “˜Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ it will continue to impose needless costs, reduce the number of specialists trained to combat urgent national security threats, demoralize the estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian active-duty service members, and deter many more good men and women from service.”
Passed by Congress in 1993, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) mandates the discharge of openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members. Since enactment, more than 13,500 service people have been discharged at a cost of over $400 million.
The letter penned by Moran requests the Office of the Secretary of Defense to provide all DADT data from January 1, 2009 until the present. The deadline for sending it to Congress is January 15, 2010.
Going forward, the letter asks that the Defense Department continue to provide a report on DADT related discharges occurring across all branches of the military on a monthly basis in 2010 and beyond. The information requested would include the discharged service member’s job specialty (MOS), time in service and branch served.
Congressman Moran has been at the forefront of efforts to highlight DADT discharge data. Making this information public shows clearly how much this policy hurts our national defense and wastes taxpayer dollars. The last report received by Moran came after a request to the Army for data from the month of January, 2009, the final month of the Bush Administration. That original letter requested monthly updates going forward but the Defense Department has not complied. In May 14, 2009, Moran sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense formally requesting the monthly updates.
“If the Pentagon continues to refuse to comply we’ll be forced to take legislative action mandating these monthly reports,” said Moran. “It’s neither fair to the taxpayers nor beneficial to our national defense for the Defense Department to keep this data out of the public’s reach.”
Congressional signatories include:
Hastings (D-FL), Baldwin (D-WI), Polis (D-CO), Frank (D-MA), Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Chu (D-CA), Berkley (D-NV), Wu (D-WA), Hinchey (D-NY), Jackson Jr (D-IL), Hare (D-IL), Doggett (D-TX), Olver (D-MA), Dingell (D-MI), Massa (D-NY), Gutierrez (D-IL), Walz (D-MI), Capuano (D-MA), Filner (D-CA), Quigley (D-IL), Cohen (D-TN), McGovern (D-MA), Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Grijalva (D-AZ), George Miller (D-CA), Capps (D-CA), Sherman (D-CA), Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Courtney (D-CT), Andrews (D_NJ), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Wexler (D-FL), Rothman (D-NJ), DeGette (D-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Schwartz (D-PA), Serrano (D-NY), Blumenauer (D-OR), Schakowsky (D-IL), Stark (D-CA), John Hall (D-NY), Langevin (D-RI), Maloney (D-NY), Tsongas (D-MA), Clarke (D-NY), Delahunt (D-MA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Himes (D-CT), Lofgren (D-CA), Owens (D-NY), Israel (D-NY), Weiner (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Pingree (D-ME), Richardson (D-CA), Crowley (D-NY), Nadler (D-NY), Waxman (D-CA), Christensen (D-VI), Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Kagen (D-WI), Meeks (D-NY), Lujan (D-NM), John Lewis (D-GA), Connolly (D-VA), Engel (D-NY), Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ackerman (D-NY), Woolsey (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Shea-Porter (D-NH), Farr (D-CA), Fudge (D-OH), Kennedy (D-RI), Welch (D-VT), Carnahan (D-MO), Tierney (D-MA), Rush (D-IL), Honda (D-CA), Holt (D-NJ), Sestak (D-PA), Dahlkemper (D-PA), McDermott (D-WA), Kucinich (D-OH), Yarmuth (D-KY), Harman (D-CA), Titus (D-NV), Robert Brady (D-PA), Gonzalez (D-TX), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Speier (D-CA), Van Hollen (D-MD), Woolsey (D-CA)
The letter reads as follows:
The Honorable Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
1300 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
Dear Secretary Gates:
We write today with regards to the current prohibition on openly gay and lesbian service members in the military, commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).
This discriminatory policy results in the Department of Defense losing tens of millions each year in unrecoverable recruiting and training costs. The 2006 Blue Ribbon Commission’s report on DADT found that the Pentagon wasted over $360 million due to this policy from 1994 until 2003, the last year studied. Since its enactment in 1994, over 13,500 service members have been discharged under DADT, including 730 mission critical soldiers and over 65 Arabic and Farsi linguists vital to the war on terrorism.
To increase transparency on the effects the DADT policy is having on our military and by extension our national defense, we request that the Office of the Secretary of Defense provide data on the current number of DADT discharges since January 1, 2009 to the present, no later than January 15, 2010. In addition, we request monthly reports thereafter to Congress detailing the number of enlisted service members and officers discharged under the policy including their job specialty (MOS), time in the service and branch of the military. Through these monthly updates, Congress and the public will get a clearer picture of the continued costs and damage to our national security inflicted by this policy.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to a timely response.
James P. Moran