National Security Network

DADT

DADT

Military

Voting Down DADT, Along With Our Integrity

Report 10 December 2010
Yesterday, a procedural vote on the defense spending bill containing the repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) policy came just three votes shy of the 60 votes needed to bring the bill to the floor for debate.  This minority group of senators blocked the important defense bill because of DADT repeal, which is supported by the majority of the country, the military and top bipartisan and nonpartisan military experts.  The current DADT policy harms America's  national security by depriving the military of crucial skills, creating unneeded financial strains and, perhaps most importantly, by violating the core principles that the military's success are based on: integrity and discipline.  This is not a sustainable policy.  A legislative pathway towards repeal is still preferred to ensure an orderly implementation that the Pentagon leadership has been advocating for. However, there remain a number of pathways for repeal, and it is crucial that all tools be considered in order to end this harmful policy.
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Military

Don’t Obstruct Our National Security Policy

Report 8 December 2010
As the Senate moves to begin debate on the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), conservatives are once again seeking to obstruct and delay the priorities of our military and national security leadership.  The NDAA is crucial to the nation's defense, as it provides the budget and policy guidelines for key national security priorities, such as military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  It also provides crucial authorization for pay and health benefits to the men and women of the military..  Yet despite the essential role that this legislation plays in securing our country and guiding the nation's military activities for the coming year, conservatives have threatened to filibuster the bill because it contains a provision to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy.  There is broad support among military leaders, experts, veterans and the public for repealing DADT.  In addition, some lawmakers are attempting to insert funding for wasteful, unwanted programs like the F-35 alternate engine - programs that the Pentagon said it neither wants nor needs.  A responsible defense bill would end, once and for all, wasteful spending on such defense programs.  It is time to listen to our military leadership, to reject conservative obstructionism, and to pass a fiscally sound Defense bill that repeals the discriminatory DADT policy.
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Military

Ratify and Repeal

Report 3 December 2010
This week Capitol Hill, the White House and national media have been largely focused on two national security issues: ratification of the New START treaty and repeal of the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy.  START, which has the broad support of a wide range of national security experts, is awaiting ratification in the Senate.  Meanwhile, the Pentagon released a report this week that surveyed military personnel about on the effects of repealing DADT, finding that "the risk of repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to overall military effectiveness is low."  Throughout the week, bipartisan military and national security experts as well as public polls continue to affirm the strong support for both ratification of the New START treaty and repeal of DADT. 
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Military

Repealing DADT Honors Our Values and Protects Our Security

Report 20 October 2010
The United States military began accepting openly gay and lesbian recruits yesterday for the first time in its history.  In observing the federal judge's order for the military to cease enforcing the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) law, which was found to both violate the equal protection and First Amendment rights of service members, the military is strengthening itself while honoring core American values.  The judges' ruling, while focused on constitutional rights, provides clear benefits for our national security.  From recruitment to costs to readiness, America's top military leaders and national security experts agree that DADT has hurt our military's strength.  With support from young veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, this flawed policy's termination is overdue.

As a pro-forma matter, the Justice Department is appealing the decision, but conservatives in Congress have gone much further and aggressively blocked the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act because it included language repealing DADT.  This blatantly political move, which has prevented vital authorization for troops in the field and the Pentagon overall, harms our country's security precisely at the time that we need clarity in the Pentagon's personnel policy.  Yet conservatives, who have fumbled the issue by comparing homosexuality to alcoholism and arguing that the military cannot handle this - try to score cheap political points on this issue on the campaign trail.  Just as with other national security issues, conservative clearly have not put much thought into the issue and are happily sacrificing American values and security on the altar of political expediency. 

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Diplomacy

Overturning ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’: A National Security Victory

Report 13 October 2010
Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy violates servicemembers' constitutional rights and issued an immediate injunction that halts enforcement of the policy worldwide. The decision found that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" harms both military readiness and unit cohesion, and as a consequence, undercuts U.S. national security. Additionally, not only does this policy contradict the military's culture of honesty and integrity, but it also costs the taxpayer at least $20,000 per discharged member of the military and results disproportionately in the dismissal of many high demand specialists in the midst of two wars. Therefore, as Congress debates this policy and the administration reviews its options, the courts' decision - which supports a policy change that a broad consensus of senior national security leaders have long advocated for - will help restore American values while advancing our country's national security interests.
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Military

Blocking Defense Authorization Jeopardizes National Security

Report 21 September 2010
Today, the Senate plans to vote on whether to begin debate on the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The NDAA is crucial to the nation's defense, as it provides the budget and policy guidelines for key national security priorities, such as military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, actions against terrorism and efforts to combat the spread of nuclear weapons.  It also provides crucial authorization for pay and health benefits to the men and women of the military who are serving in harm's way.  Yet despite the essential role that this legislation plays in securing our country and guiding the nation's military activities for the coming year, conservatives have threatened to filibuster the bill because it contains a provision repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).  The repeal of DADT is a position that has the broad support of military leaders, experts and veterans.  Also a source of the opposition is the majority's desire to debate the bipartisan DREAM Act as part of the bill, which is a normal procedure often used in the Senate.  So while Senate conservatives use bogus arguments by claiming that they oppose the bill because of non-pertinent amendments, the nation's military suffers.  This sort of hypocritical politicking and obstruction doesn't stand the test of scrutiny, contradicts precedents set by these same conservatives and prevents a legitimate policy debate from taking place on the Senate floor, undercutting America's defense while we are facing multiple threats abroad.
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Military

A 21st Century Defense Strategy

Report 14 September 2010
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will bring the Defense Authorization bill to the floor next week.  The bill takes small but important steps toward a 21 century defense strategy:  repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and eliminating wasteful defense programs. 
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Military

DADT: Time to Move Forward

Report 2 February 2010
Today, the Pentagon's top civilian and military leadership will announce to Congress the creation of a panel to assess how to carry out a repeal of the decade and a half old "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Today, evidence shows that America and the military have moved forward, beyond this policy. 
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