02/25/2005: We Are Asking and We Are Telling Update
"Congressional lawmakers today announced legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the military's ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel." US News Wire reports. The report also states:
"Announcement of the bill follows release of a new Government Accounting Office (GAO) report analyzing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The GAO report conservatively estimates the gay ban has cost at least $191 million since its inception in 1993.
The report's financial estimate, however, includes only costs associated with recruiting and training enlistees to replace those discharged under the ban. The GAO analysis does not include costs associated with discharging officers or the nearly 800 specialists with critical skills who have been fired because of their sexual orientation. Administrative costs associated with discharges are also not included in the GAO analysis.
"Our homeland is more secure when every qualified, capable American who wants to serve is allowed to do so," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "The choice we now face is clear: Spend $191 million on firing patriotic Americans or spend the same amount on a dozen Blackhawk helicopters or 800 sidewinder missiles. Our priority should always be defense and security. The Military Readiness Enhancement Act is the best proposal to do just that."According to GAO, the Pentagon has fired 322 language specialists who "had…skills in a foreign language that DoD had considered to be especially important.'"
SLDN reported in 2004 that at least three dozen of those linguists spoke Arabic, Farsi or Korean, language the Pentagon acknowledges are understaffed. Nearly 800 specialists, including intelligence analysts, divers and combat controllers, were fired despite having "some training in an occupation identified…as 'critical.'" Since 1993, more than 10,000 service members have been fired under the gay ban. During that same time period, many of the United States' closest military allies, including Great Britain and Canada, repealed their prohibitions on gay service personnel."
Karen on 02.25.05 @ 05:36 AM CST