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.