Don’t Believe all DADT Survey Findings, Gates Says

Asked if he is concerned by results that indicate nearly 264,600 military personnel would leave the military if the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy forbidding openly gay service members is repealed, Defense Secretary Robert Gates responded that he doesn’t “expect the numbers would be anything like what the survey suggests.” In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Dec. 2, he said, “if I believed that a quarter of a million people would leave the military immediately, if given the opportunity, I would certainly have second thoughts about this,” adding, “I don’t believe that.” Gates noted that service members are bound by enlistment contracts, even if they want to leave, which may “mitigate” the effect though the actual experience of “serving with gays and lesbians.” Despite similar survey results in Britain and Canada, Gates said the numbers leaving “were far smaller than the surveys had indicated.” He did not question the survey’s overall validity, rejecting only the retention findings. (Gates prepared remarks)