A DoD working group that was set up by the secretary of defense to develop a readiness study released a survey to 400,000 service members seeking views about the effects of repealing the current don’t ask don’t tell policy (DADT), which has been included in both the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act. Being roughly half of the total force, half of these surveys were sent to National Guard and Reserve members. DoD hopes to receive completed surveys within 45 days. The Coast Guard was among those who received the survey.
ROA encourages those serving members who received the electronic survey to participate. The associations have been reassured that anonymity will be maintained when answering the questionnaire. About 100 questions in length, it will take about 15 minutes to take the survey. The questions range from how service members think those whom they believe may be gay or lesbian in their units currently affect morale both at home and in combat to questions regarding how they would react in various personal situations both at home and in combat.
ROA was invited and participated in the DoD Review Working Group on DADT policy changes. Last week, ROA’s executive director, MG David Bockel, USA (Ret.) and legislative director, CAPT Marshall Hanson, USNR (Ret.) participated in a conference call with the Pentagon, were ROA and other military and veteran service associations were briefed on the release of this survey. The confidentiality of the survey was discussed, along with other aspects of the process. This survey will provide input as to how the repeal of DADT might affect the readiness and discipline of the armed forces. The survey is not a referendum on gays and lesbians in the uniformed services. Defense Department officials have maintained that the goal of the survey is to gauge possible problems or confusion with plans to repeal the controversial 1993 law, but not to provide opposition to such a move.
A written survey will be sent out in August to 150,000 spouses of serving members. The Pentagon is seeking information for a number of different groups. ROA contributed input as an association earlier in the year and is formulating a Defense Education Forum event to provide a further venue for discussion.
Criticism of the questionnaire has been voiced by gay and lesbian groups, which discourage their military members from responding to the survey due to a perceived lack of confidentiality and objections over the concept of polling the troops. DOD has emphasized that confidentiality will be respected. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has appealed to gays and lesbians serving in the armed forces to answer their surveys.
For those not chosen to participate in the survey or even those selected, an option to voice further opinions exists in an online inbox available for military and civilian members of the Defense Department. Troops can log into http://www.defense.gov/dadt with their common access card to provide their input.
While this site is not confidential, directions are provided from the site, as well as in the survey, so that members who wish can continue a "confidential dialogue" with non-Defense Department members of the working group. Once service members enter the confidential site, they will be given an untraceable PIN number allowing them to log on from any non-government computer.
Review the PDF of DoD’s DADT Survey