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Military's gay ban has cost hundreds of millions

Military's gay ban has cost hundreds of millions

An estimated $368.8 million in taxpayer costs marks a 91% increase from a February 2005 approximation.

Almost doubling the estimate of a 2005 government study, a commission of military experts announced Tuesday that implementing "don't ask, don't tell" cost American taxpayers $363.8 million in the policy's first 10 years.

The dollar amount, part of a report released through the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is a 91% increase over a February 2005 approximation by the federal Government Accountability Office. Titled "Financial Analysis of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' " the CSSMM report studied the myriad costs involved in barring and removing openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from the military.

" 'Don't ask, don't tell' places an unnecessary burden on American taxpayers by asking them to fund a discriminatory law that hurts military readiness," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay military advocacy group. "Given that we were not able to include several cost categories in our estimate and that we used conservative assumptions to guide our research, our estimate of the cost of implementing ["don't ask, don't tell"] should be seen as a lower-bound estimate," Osburn said.

According to Osburn, $363.8 million could buy three dozen Blackhawk helicopters, 4,000 sidewinder missiles, or enough body armor vests to outfit the entire American military now in Iraq. Compiling the report with CSSMM was a blue ribbon commission of military experts, including former Secretary of Defense William Perry, former Assistant Secretary of Defense and current member of SLDN's honorary board Lawrence Korb, and professor Aaron Belkin of the University of California, Santa Barbara. (

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