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DADT – The High Cost of Senseless Discrimination

Ian S. Thompson,
Senior Legislative Advocate,
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January 21, 2011

On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the impact of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in terms of lost personnel and cost to the government from 2004-09. The report underlines the importance of the actions Congress and President Obama took in the closing days of 2010 in voting to repeal this ugly relic of history and signing the repeal legislation into law.

The GAO report found that 3,664 service members were discharged under DADT between fiscal years 2004-2009. Of those, 1,458 were determined to have held a critical occupation or an important foreign language skill. Additionally, GAO calculated that it cost the Department of Defense about $193.3 million ($52,800 per discharged service member) to both discharge and replace these 3,664 service members.

It simply boggles the imagination as to why such an obviously harmful and destructive law managed to survive for 17 years. Thankfully, it will soon take its rightful place in the dustbin of history thanks to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.

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