Posts Tagged ‘DADT’

My annual visit of DADT and LGBT Diversity in the US Armed Forces

It seems that I write a blog on this subject about once a year. This would be appropriate since I am in North Carolina, a state with one of the highest concentration of military establishments and business. We have two major bases in our state: Camp LeJeune for Marines and Fort Bragg for the Army. In fact in 2011, when the US Figure Skating Nationals were held in Greenboro, NC, Men’s Champion Ryan Bradley,

Ryan Bradley wowed the NC crowd at the Greenboro Coliseum with his spectacular "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" short program enroute to winning the 2011 US Figure Skating championship

Ryan Bradley wowed the NC crowd at the Greenboro Coliseum with his spectacular “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” short program enroute to winning the 2011 US Figure Skating championship

who is always known for choosing numbers that resonate with the home state crowd wherever he competes, skated his winning short program to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” dressed in appropriate attire (see photo).

In early 2011, I wrote a two piece blog about the demise of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (aka DADT) that Congress passed in late December, 2010. In Part 1 (link), I wrote about why this move was good for the US Military and in the long run would result in a more effective military with the very best of diverse talent. In Part 2 (link) I wrote about the training and work needed ahead to implement a military consistent with the new inclusion policy. Then at the end of 2011, I revisited this issue and wrote a blog on the overall positive impact in the first year after the removal of this discriminatory ban.

Now it is two years later. There have been many positive and heartwarming stories of how the US military has adjusted well to the inclusion of same gender couples. Many of us saw and celebrated over the beautiful article (link) and photo

US Marine Corps Capt Matthew Phelps proposed to his boyfriend Ben Schock in the Grand Foyer of the White House (Credit: Mike Tapscott, American Military Partner Assoc.)

US Marine Corps Capt Matthew Phelps proposed to his boyfriend Ben Schock in the Grand Foyer of the White House (Credit: Mike Tapscott, American Military Partner Assoc.)

of a male US Marine proposing to his boyfriend at the US White House at the conclusion of his tour of duty. Personally, seeing a loving couple positively glowing in the love for one another warms my heart no matter what the gender mix (man and woman, man and man, woman and woman). Other articles and studies have shown that the much ballyhooed possible morale decline never incurred; in fact studies point to a more effective military. (Link to Hoffington Post article.)

However, even with the positive progress, negative episodes occasionally crop up. One recent example (link to article) happened here in North Carolina when a military spouses group denied membership to the wife of a female Army lieutenant colonel.

Ashley Broadway (left) with her wife Lt. Col. Heather Mack

Ashley Broadway (left) with her wife Lt. Col. Heather Mack

This illustrates that continued diversity and sensitivity training is required, especially for enterprises associated with and providing services and supplies to the US military. We certainly do not need the hard feelings, negative publicity and public outcry that occurs from these episodes. Fortunately, a later report (link) indicated that so far at least the US Marine Corps has quickly addressed this issue.

Diversity and Inclusion across all sectors of society has a compelling positive rationale and business case, so let’s all continue to push for this same inclusion and the accompanying benefits in the US military.

The end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – One Year Later

In late December of last year, the US Congress voted to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) which basically prohibited Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual service people from being open and honest about their sexual orientation. In February, I published a two part blog entry (link here for those blogs) on why this repeal was good for our armed forces and for the US in general. Studies in all sectors continue to show that a fully open, accepting and diverse environment promotes everyone performing and contributing at their peak.

So what has happened to the US Armed Forces during 2011? Perhaps the most telling article from the Associated Press (link to article) appeared on November 29 with the headline, “Amos: End of gay ban a nonevent.” Marine General James

Gen. James Amos, who opposed the military's gay ban repeal, says his concern has proved unfounded (photo by Alex Brandon - Associated Press)


Amos, one of the fiercest opponents of ending the ban acknowledged that his initial concerns have been proven unfounded. General Amos last year testified that repealing the ban had strong potential for disruption within the units. He now states that he is “very pleased with how it has gone” and has seen no disruption, even on the front lines.

I offer kudos to General Amos for being an enlightened leader who did his best to support the decision after it was made. He offered his concerns, but after the decision was made he backed it and supported the accompanying actions. General Amos also shows excellent leadership skills by publically offering his updated views instead of sabotaging the efforts or continuing to complain.

Finally General Amos offered two points of why the repeal was successful. First, the military offered a comprehensive pre-repeal training program, and second, there was continued close monitoring and enforcement of standards by military leaders. These are two actions (training and monitoring) which would also be appropriate for any entity – business, non-profit, or government – to continue to support integrating diversity into our strategic fabric.

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