gay bashing is expensive! the military spent $364 million on witch hunts to kick gays out of the military!

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' costs $364 million New study says government report underestimates costs

By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | Feb 14, 10:37 AM

It cost the federal government just under $364 million to discharge and replace about 9,500 gay service members during the first decade of the Pentagons Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy.

Former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry is part of a 12-member Blue Ribbon Commission studying the cost of the federal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for gays serving in the military. The figure is 91 percent more than previously estimated, according to a study conducted by a panel of military experts assembled by the University of California.

The 12-member Blue Ribbon Commission that conducted the study was scheduled to release a report Feb. 14 saying it was unable to obtain certain information from the Pentagon that likely would have indicated still higher costs.

[O]ur strong sense is that our final estimate is too low and that the net result is that we have under-reported the total cost of implementing Dont Ask, Dont Tell, the report says.

Among commission members who wrote the report was Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry and Reagan administration assistant Defense Secretary Lawrence Korb. Others serving on the commission included a retired Army colonel, a retired admiral and two professors at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The Government Accountability Office, an arm of Congress, released its own report on the cost of discharging gays under the policy in February 2005. That report concluded that the Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy cost a minimum of $190.5 million for the 10-year period from fiscal year 1994 through fiscal year 2003.

No info the GAO

Similar to the University of California report, the GAO report said its authors were unable to obtain information from the Defense Department needed to provide a full accounting of the cost for discharging gay service members and training new people to replace them.

Oversights in GAOs methodology led to both under and overestimations of the financial costs of implementing Dont Ask, Dont Tell, the UC report says. By correcting these oversights, and after careful analysis of available data, this commission finds that the total cost of implementing Dont Ask, Dont Tell between fiscal year 1994 and fiscal year 2003 was at least $363.8 million, which is $73.3 million, or 91 percent, more than originally reported by GAO.

Given that we were not able to include several cost categories in our estimate and that we used conservative assumptions to guide our research, the report says, our estimate of the cost of implementing Dont Ask, Dont Tell should be seen as a lower bound estimate.

President Clinton proposed the Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy in 1993 after it became clear that Congress was poised to overturn his earlier plan to allow gays to serve openly in the military.

Congress modified the Clinton proposal and enacted it into law as part of a military authorization bill. It went into effect in 2004.

The policy allows gays to serve in the military as long as they do not disclose their sexual orientation, do not engage in homosexual conduct, and do not enter into a same-sex marriage. Clinton argued that the policy was an improvement over the previous policy that banned gays from serving under all circumstances.

But gay activists and a growing number of gay-supportive members of Congress say the Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy remains highly discriminatory. More than 100 members of the House have co-sponsored legislation introduced by Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) to repeal the policy and allow gays to serve openly.

A flaw in the system?

According to the UC report, the GAO study was flawed because it focused mostly on the estimated cost for replacing ousted gay service members. The UC report says it based its cost estimates on several criteria, including the cost to the military of the lost value of the expected full term of each service member discharged prematurely.

If a gay service member was discharged shortly before he or she completed their term, the cost to the military would be minimal, the report says. But if the service member were discharged shortly after he or she completed basic and advanced training, the cost would be far higher.

The report estimates that skills training for most enlisted members who are not officers ranges between $15,000 and $30,000 depending on whether they receive mid-career training. The average estimated cost to recruit and train officers, the report says, comes to about $174,000. In the case of a single, highly trained officer, such as a jet fighter pilot, the training cost could be as high as $1.4 million.

Other costs come into play, the report says, such as costs for processing the discharges and costs for investigating service members suspected of violating the policy.

Pentagon officials have said that many possibly the majority service members discharged under Dont Ask, Dont Tell voluntarily disclose their sexual orientation to enable them to leave the military before the end of their terms.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which assists gay service members, has said gay service members often seek early discharges to avoid anti-gay harassment or because of stress caused by having to conceal their true identity.

The UC report says a large number of gay service members choose not to re-enlist even when they manage to complete their terms without being discovered.

While it is impossible to know with certainty how many gays and lesbians fail to re-enlist because of Dont Ask, Dont Tell, [surveys of gay veterans] suggest that the military may be losing some of its investment in recruiting and training individuals who would remain in uniform if the ban were repealed, the report says.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. can be reached at

Posted on Tue, Feb. 14, 2006 Militarys gay policy cost double estimate, report says

By Liz Sidoti

Associated Press

WASHINGTON Discharging troops under the Pentagons policy on gays cost $363.8 million over 10 years, almost double what the government concluded a year ago, a private report says. The report, to bereleased today by a University of California Blue Ribbon Commission, questioned the methodology the Government Accountability Office used when it estimated that the cost of the Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy was at least $190.5 million.

It builds on the previous findings and paints a more complete picture of the costs, said Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., who has proposed legislation that would repeal the policy. Congress approved the Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy in 1993 during the Clinton administration. It allows gays and lesbians to serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps as long as they abstain from homosexual activity and do not disclose their sexual orientation.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which has represented service members who left the military under the policy, estimates the Pentagon has discharged more than 10,000 service members for homosexuality since Dont Ask, Dont Tell went into effect in 1994. The number of discharges has gone down in recent years.

In February 2005, the GAO said the cost could not be completely calculated because the government does not collect financial information specific to each individuals case. Cautioning that the figures may be too low, the GAO said the federal government spent at least $95.4 million to recruit and $95.1 million to train replacements from 1994 through 2003 for the 9,488 troops discharged during that period because of the policy.

The university study said the GAO erred by emphasizing the expense of replacing those who were discharged because of the policy without taking into account the value the military lost from the departures.

So, the commission focused on the estimated value the military lost from each person discharged.

The report detailed costs of $79.3 million for recruiting enlisted service members, $252.4 million for training them, $17.8 million for training officers and $14.3 million for separation travel after a service member is discharged.

Commission members include former Defense Secretary William Perry, a member of the Clinton administration, and Lawrence Korb, a former assistant defense secretary during the Reagan administration, as well as professors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

'Don't Ask' Costs More Than Expected Military's Gay Ban Seen in Budget Terms

By Josh White Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, February 14, 2006; Page A04

The financial costs to the U.S. military for discharging and replacing gay service members under the nation's "don't ask, don't tell" policy are nearly twice what the government estimated last year, with taxpayers covering at least $364 million in associated funds over the policy's first decade, according to a University of California report scheduled for release today.

Members of a UC-Santa Barbara group examining the cost of the policy found that a Government Accountability Office study last year underestimated the costs of firing approximately 9,500 service members between 1994 and 2003 for homosexuality. The GAO, which acknowledged difficulties in coming up with its number, estimated a cost of at least $190.5 million for the same time period. The new estimate is 91 percent higher.

Although it did not take a stance on the effectiveness of the policy, the California "blue ribbon commission" -- which included former defense secretary William J. Perry and 11 professors and defense experts -- found that the military has put millions of dollars into recruiting and training new soldiers and officers to replace those who were removed from their jobs in the services because they were openly gay. The report also cites the costs of losing service members to premature discharge, because of the loss of training "investment."

"The real issue here is that you have a policy that is costing us money, hurting readiness and is really not fulfilling any national security objective," said Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and a member of the commission. "It just doesn't make sense now, particularly when you're having such a hard time getting people to join the military and retaining them in the right skills."

The "don't ask, don't tell" policy was included in the 1994 Defense Authorization Act, part of President Bill Clinton's efforts to take a step toward lifting the ban on gay people in the military. The law essentially allowed gay men and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they did not expose their sexual preference or exhibit homosexual behavior.

Those who do, however, are swiftly discharged.

"The policy is more expensive than we thought it was, in many ways," said retired Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, a former Navy judge advocate general who was on the panel. "The real cost is the cost in human dignity, in self-respect, and in the image of the military held by the American public, the world community and itself. . . . The dignity of the armed forces is at stake."

Defense Department policies comply with the statute, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman, and have resulted in individual discharges from service. But defense officials also noted that those service members discharged for homosexuality represent just 0.3 percent of all discharges.

According to Pentagon figures provided to the GAO last year, there were 9,501 people separated from the military for homosexuality from 1994 to 2003, compared with 26,446 separated for pregnancy, and 36,513 separated for failing to meet weight standards.

Charles Moskos, a sociology professor at Northwestern University and an architect of "don't ask, don't tell," said in an interview yesterday that he believes allowing openly gay people into the military -- especially combat arms positions -- could cause the services to lose many more recruits who would be uncomfortable living in close quarters with them. He said the loss in financial costs does not outweigh the costs of forcing people to live in intimate circumstances with openly gay people. He also said he believes many of the discharges are the result of people claiming to be gay to get an honorable discharge from service early.

Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, plans to announce the report findings today on Capitol Hill. Meehan, who is sponsoring legislation that would repeal the ban on openly gay service members, said the new cost estimate is more evidence that the policy is inappropriate.

"The Army is facing a recruiting crisis, yet we're turning away volunteer soldiers who are willing and able to fight and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice simply because of their sexual orientation," Meehan said yesterday.

Seaman Apprentice John Graff, 19, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., enlisted in the Navy a year ago, changing abruptly from being openly gay to hiding it. After eight months on active duty in training at Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut, he decided he could not hide his identity any longer and recently came out to his commanders.

"It's emotionally distressing, because you constantly have this weight on you, that someone is going to find out somehow, that you could lose your job," Graff said. "I really do love the Navy, and I love serving the country. They're losing qualified people who want to do the job."

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