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Pentagon
dismissed 612 personnel in 2006 under "don't ask, don't
tell"

Pentagon
dismissed 612 personnel in 2006 under "don't ask, don't
tell"

Pentagon_3

The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that 612 service members were dismissed last year under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays, fewer than half of the total number of discharges in the fiscal year preceding the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that 612 service members were dismissed last year under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays. The number of troops dismissed in 2006 is fewer than half of the total number of discharges in the fiscal year preceding the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Following recent media attention concerning the ban, the Pentagon released the data Tuesday.

C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group for gay and lesbian service personnel, said in a statement that the data "shines a bright light" on the ban's inner workings.

"When military leaders need the talent, skills, and qualifications of gay personnel, dismissals decline," Osburn said. "Then, during peacetime, the dismissal rate climbs again. The Pentagon's own data shows that, during times of war, when unit cohesion is most important, fewer gay troops are dismissed. In fact, lesbian and gay Americans are making important contributions to our national security. The ban on their service, and not their service itself, is what erodes cohesion most."

In 2005 the Pentagon dismissed 742 service members. The 2006 figure shows the fewest number of people discharged since the law's enactment. (The Advocate)

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