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Study Debunks DADT Premise


A study of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans released Monday found that having a gay or lesbian soldier in their unit did not significantly impact the unit's cohesion or its readiness.

"Service members said the most important factors for unit cohesion and readiness were the quality of their officers, training and equipment," said Laura Miller, a coauthor of the study and a sociologist at RAND, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization. "Serving with another service member who was gay or lesbian was not a significant factor that affected unit cohesion or readiness to fight."

Miller and study coauthor Bonnie Moradi, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Florida, said the military should revisit the "don't ask, don't tell" policy since it is premised on the notion that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would harm unit cohesion and impair military readiness.

The study found that just 40% of the soldiers surveyed expressed support for the policy, while 28% opposed it and 33% were neutral -- numbers that revealed less support than in previous surveys, according to the study's authors.

About 20% of those polled said they were aware of a gay or lesbian member in their unit, and about half of those said that person's sexuality was well known. Additionally, three quarters of those surveyed said they felt comfortable or very comfortable in the presence of gays or lesbians.

The study, "Attitudes of Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Toward Gay and Lesbian Service Members," will appear later in the print edition of Armed Forces and Society. The research was commissioned by the Palm Center, a pro-LGBT think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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