July 7th, 2010
02:35 PM ET
8 years ago

Pentagon sends 'don't ask, don't tell' survey to troops

(CNN) –The Pentagon on Wednesday began sending out to troops a survey of more than 100 questions seeking their views on the impact of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" restrictions prohibiting gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military.

An administration official confirmed to CNN that the survey is being sent to 200,000 active duty troops and 200,000 reserve troops. The official declined to be identified because the survey has not officially been made public.

The survey, which service members can expect to receive via e-mail, asks about such issues as how unit morale or readiness might be affected if a commander is believed to be gay or lesbian; the need to maintain personal standards of conduct; and how repeal might affect willingness to serve in the military.

The survey also asks a number of questions aimed at identifying problems that could occur when troops live and work in close quarters in overseas war zones. For example, the questionnaire asks military members how they would react if they had to share a room, bathrooms, and open-bay showers in a war zone with other service members believed to be gay or lesbian.

There also are several questions about reactions to dealing with same-sex partners in social situations.

The Pentagon established a team to conduct the survey earlier this year. President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen have all publicly backed a repeal of the current policy. Defense Department officials insist the survey is aimed at determining the impact of a repeal - not whether repeal should happen.

Several members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have said they want to see the results of the survey before they offer their final advice on the impact of a repeal to Obama and Gates.

In May, the House of Representatives approved a plan that would repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy after the military's internal review is completed and Obama, Gates, and Mullen to sign off on the policy change. The Senate, however, did not pass the measure.

According to a senior U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the review process, the military needs until the end of 2010 to figure out how to implement a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" in terms of housing, medical and marriage benefits, as well as issues involving the reinstatement of gay soldiers previously discharged under the policy.

A major problem might be determining how to reconcile the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" with federal law that defines marriage as between a man a woman, the official said.

In addition to distributing the survey, the Pentagon has also been soliciting opinions in a number of private meetings with troops.

The results of the review will not be available until December, the official said.

- CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report

Filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Vic of New York

    Gee, what terrific leadership the Pentagon and Administration is showing (not to mention Senator McShame).

    Let's see, maybe I should take a vote before I ask my kids eat their spinach or do their homework.

    July 7, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. gt

    let the officers and the soldiers decide ...not a bouch of politians who have never been in the service....americans will go with that , one way or the other...

    July 7, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Shucks

    And this will be fine as long as all "christian" church or religious groups are denied sending anti-gay literature, e-mails, or any kind of propaganda or rhetoric. Make it fair without religious involvement, unlike prop 8 in California which religious groups spent millions of dollars to spread their hatefilled religious views, and outright lies about what prop 8 would allow. They lied, and there was no excuse for it except they think they are above all others in their devotion to fiction and fictional characters. .

    July 7, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Aaaaand, unfortunately for you homophobe religio-fascists out there, the real purpose of this survey is to find out just what needs to be done to force the segment of the military comprised of homophobe religio-fascists to suck it up and accept that the Constitution requires equal treatment under the law. It's NOT to determine whether to move forward with the repeal.

    If we can bootcamp the ornery out of 'em, we can bootcamp the bigotry out as well.

    July 7, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. thor

    Why isn't the results and the survey questions allowed to be made public???.............

    July 7, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Lobo

    Why ASK? Why TELL? I just don't get it. If you are gay, SO WHAT? If someone is willing to serve, then LET THEM. Why is so important to tell everyone what your sexual orientation is? Perhaps I am too old to get it. Sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone. BUT WHO CARES if one is gay or not.

    July 7, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. T'SAH from Virginia

    I guarantee you more than 90%, OR a GREAT number of our troops could care less and would vote in FAVOR of the repeal............ IT'S THE CIVILIANS WHO RAISE HELL FOR "NOTHING"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 7, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. MAC

    If it is like it was when I served, The survey will not be private and if you are not politically correct, you will not be promoted, so I would not trust the survey to be truthful. Personnel are not going to risk their futures in the military to express the truth in what they know and feel.

    July 7, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Angus McDugan

    You don't run a military by democracy. You set the policy and enforce it.

    Gesh Mr. Obama. Why do I have to think of everything for you. Please put that big Harvard degree to work.

    July 7, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. Big George in Big D

    when I was in the military taking open showers, I sure would NOT have wanted a man that loves MEN in there with ME!

    July 7, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Average American

    I hope it is an anonymous survey so all the gays and lesbians currently serving in our military feel comfortable answering it without fear of being kicked out of the military they love and fight for every single day!

    July 7, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. ja

    do the military need anything beyond the code of conduct

    July 7, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. mj

    Our Troops are under enough stress. They do not openly express the fact that they are straight. These men & women are fighting for our freedom and their own life. Why should gays be allowed to openly express their preference? Keep your mouth shut and just do your job. When you go home do whatever or whoever.

    July 7, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Ray

    I am gay, I served with HONOR in the Army for many years. I see no reason why this survey has been sent out other than to cause more problems and phobia's. I would love to get my hands on it to see just what it asks. The Pentagon needs to accept our young men and women no matter what they are as long as they want to stand up and protect our great country. I took an oath and stood by it, seems the Military doesn’t want to stand by us!

    July 7, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Steph

    The questionnaire shouldn't ask "How would you react if they had to share a room, bathrooms and open-bay showers in a war zone with other service members believed to be gay or lesbian". It should ask "How DO you react to sharing a room, bathrooms and open-bay showers in a war zone with other service members believed to be gay or lesbian". First, we have many gay and lesbian service members currently fighting for us in war zones. They may not say it openly, but they are THERE! Second, our troops work, live, sleep and shower alongside troops from other countries where gay and lesbian service members are able to serve without lying about who they are!!!!

    This is so incredibly stupid!

    July 7, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Mike in SA

    Here's my thought on the shower/restroom situation. Have separate ones just like they do now for men and women. Not fair you say? Why? If this isn't fair, then why have any separate facilities for any sex? While I firmly believe that homosexuals have, can, and do serve proudly in our Armed Forces, when you bring it out in the open, then without having different facilities, you will see a plethora of complaints of sexual harassment.

    July 7, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    That's all well good to get the soldiers opinions on the matter, but it is not up to them to decide. YOU CAN NOT DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF RACE, SEX OR RELIGION!!!!! I guess the Equal Opportunity law doesn't apply to the military. I'm not gay, but the law is the law. DADT should have never been implemented because it circumvents and undermines Equal Opportunity.

    July 7, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Gee

    Send them all to the front lines.....that should eliminate most of the problem....

    July 7, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. S. Finn

    This is another outrageous attempt to keep gays and lesbians from serving our country and having the same rights as heterosexuals have. They have been showering and sleeping with gays and lesbians already. What is the difference if they know about it. No service member that is gay is going to bark up the wrong tree. If the military is so concerned about this, then why don't they set up separate sleeping and showering arrangements for them. This is all a bunch of nonsense aimed at preventing the repeal of, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

    July 7, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Brave New World

    Your in the military
    you follow orders
    end of story.

    Most are profesionals
    those that have a problem....
    its thier problem, get over it or get out.

    July 7, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Frank in valparaiso indiana

    I'd like to see the actual survey instrument. You can really skew results depending on how you ask the question. And to try to find real results, you ask the same question multiple times througout the survey to see if the 'Do you hate gays' response is valid.

    July 7, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. valwayne

    Do you suppose they sent a survey asking the same type of questions of the troops before they banned racial discrimination? We wouldn't be dealing with this idiocy if Pres Clinton and the Democrats hadn't lied in 1992 and betrayed the gay community. Now President Obama and the Democrats have lied and betrayed the gay community again, and Obama remains our Discriminator in Chief. Any gay man or woman who believes Obama and the Democrats in Congress will keep their promises is delusional!!

    July 7, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Chris (Sacramento CA)

    Keep Don't ask don't tell!

    July 7, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Ray

    "Several members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have said they want to see the results of the survey before they offer their final advice on the impact of repeal to Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates."

    These members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be given the opportunity to resign if they don't want to accept this PERIOD.

    July 7, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Marty, FL

    The survey asks how 'would' one react. A more accurate question seems how 'are' they reacting now. Gay service women & men are already serving in our military with honor and should not have to lie about themselves, which should be given true consideration.

    The same rules of conduct would apply even after DADT is rightfully repealed. Let's end discrimination and progress into the 21st Century.

    God bless America.

    July 7, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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