Calling the new movement on Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal announced this week a "new liberal power grab," Donovan is convinced it's all politics that will detrimental to the troops.
This crass political maneuver is an affront to the men and women in the military whose opinions matter, because they will be most affected by any change in the law. Regardless of what one thinks of full repeal—whatever it might mean in practice—lawmakers should wait until the ongoing survey of service personnel is completed and analyzed. Any legislative action now is premature, and a thumbing of the nose at the military.
The sleight-of-hand at work is the notion that since everyone already understands what repeal of the current law means, Congress might as well just repeal the law now. However, since the issues at stake involve not just neutral characteristics like race or national origin, but rather responses to a whole set of behaviors that may affect everything from military family policy to religious liberty, repeal of the military service eligibility law could take any number of forms. The range of implications is profound, from core issues of national security and military readiness, to recruitment and retention, to conduct standards and unit cohesion.
Instead, a debate should answer 10 questions Donovan lays out. Here are some of them:
3. What would be the impact of repeal on retention policies and results and recruitment policies and results?
4. What would be the impact of a full repeal on particular operational issues (e.g., fraternization, submarine service, field deployment, special forces, etc.)?
8. What would be the impact on service chaplains and counselors who may have specific denominational or personal views on the illicitness of same-sex conduct and same-sex relationships? Could they face punitive, administrative or remedial measures (e.g., sensitivity training) that impact their ability to perform their professional roles or infringe on their right to hold and express certain moral or religious views?
9. If military personnel express disagreement with changes to policy approving of homosexuality, how will that affect their careers?
10. Will homosexuality be considered a protected class for promotion or advancement purposes? Will the new law require that promotion boards include precept language requiring the promotion of homosexuals?