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Ninety-six members of Congress requested all information on this year's "don't ask, don't tell" discharges to prepare for the upcoming debate on the ban on gays in the military.
Rep. Jim Moran penned the letter to Defense secretary Robert Gates, according to a press release by the Virginia Democrat.
"This policy is putting our national security at risk and wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year in unrecoverable recruiting and training expenditures," Moran wrote in a letter dated December 18 and released to reporters Tuesday. "Until we repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' it will continue to impose needless costs, reduce the number of specialists trained to combat urgent national security threats, demoralize the estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian active-duty service members, and deter many more good men and women from service."
Only one Republican, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, signed the letter. In the past, Ros-Lehtinen came out against the gay marriage ban in her home state of Florida, and she is currently a cosponsor of Rep. Tammy Baldwin's bill to expand domestic-partner benefits to partners of federal workers. Baldwin and representatives Jared Polis and Barney Frank, the three openly gay members of the House, each also signed the letter. Rep. Patrick Murphy, the sponsor of the bill to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," has attached his name as well.
Moran gave the Pentagon a January 15 deadline for sending the information.
The full letter and signatories are on the next page ...
Dear Secretary Gates:
We write today with regards to the current prohibition on openly gay and lesbian service members in the military, commonly known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).
This discriminatory policy results in the Department of Defense losing tens of millions each year in unrecoverable recruiting and training costs. The 2006 Blue Ribbon Commission's report on DADT found that the Pentagon wasted over $360 million due to this policy from 1994 until 2003, the last year studied. Since its enactment in 1994, over 13,500 service members have been discharged under DADT, including 730 mission critical soldiers and over 65 Arabic and Farsi linguists vital to the war on terrorism.
To increase transparency on the effects the DADT policy is having on our military and by extension our national defense, we request that the Office of the Secretary of Defense provide data on the current number of DADT discharges since January 1, 2009 to the present, no later than January 15, 2010. In addition, we request monthly reports thereafter to Congress detailing the number of enlisted service members and officers discharged under the policy including their job specialty (MOS), time in the service and branch of the military. Through these monthly updates, Congress and the public will get a clearer picture of the continued costs and damage to our national security inflicted by this policy.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to a timely response.
James P. Moran
Hastings (D-FL), Baldwin (D-WI), Polis (D-CO), Frank (D-MA), Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Chu (D-CA), Berkley (D-NV), Wu (D-WA), Hinchey (D-NY), Jackson Jr (D-IL), Hare (D-IL), Doggett (D-TX), Olver (D-MA), Dingell (D-MI), Massa (D-NY), Gutierrez (D-IL), Walz (D-MI), Capuano (D-MA), Filner (D-CA), Quigley (D-IL), Cohen (D-TN), McGovern (D-MA), Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Grijalva (D-AZ), George Miller (D-CA), Capps (D-CA), Sherman (D-CA), Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Courtney (D-CT), Andrews (D-NJ), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Wexler (D-FL), Rothman (D-NJ), DeGette (D-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Schwartz (D-PA), Serrano (D-NY), Blumenauer (D-OR), Schakowsky (D-IL), Stark (D-CA), John Hall (D-NY), Langevin (D-RI), Maloney (D-NY), Tsongas (D-MA), Clarke (D-NY), Delahunt (D-MA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Himes (D-CT), Lofgren (D-CA), Owens (D-NY), Israel (D-NY), Weiner (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Pingree (D-ME), Richardson (D-CA), Crowley (D-NY), Nadler (D-NY), Waxman (D-CA), Christensen (D-VI), Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Kagen (D-WI), Meeks (D-NY), Lujan (D-NM), John Lewis (D-GA), Connolly (D-VA), Engel (D-NY), Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ackerman (D-NY), Woolsey (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Shea-Porter (D-NH), Farr (D-CA), Fudge (D-OH), Kennedy (D-RI), Welch (D-VT), Carnahan (D-MO), Tierney (D-MA), Rush (D-IL), Honda (D-CA), Holt (D-NJ), Sestak (D-PA), Dahlkemper (D-PA), McDermott (D-WA), Kucinich (D-OH), Yarmuth (D-KY), Harman (D-CA), Titus (D-NV), Robert Brady (D-PA), Gonzalez (D-TX), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Speier (D-CA), Van Hollen (D-MD), Woolsey (D-CA)