CONGRESS SHOULD BE SKEPTICAL OF PENTAGON'S BIASED AND INCOMPLETE SURVEYS ON HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE MILITARYBy Bob Maginnis Senior Fellow for National Security
President Obama has vowed to repeal the 1993 law (10 U.S.C. 654) which codified the military's exclusion of homosexuals (usually referred to as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"). This paper provides background on the president's call for repeal and the Pentagon's study of the issue that includes the collection of service member views about homosexuality. The Pentagon is expected to deliver the results of its study to Congress in early December 2010.
The Pentagon study used six instruments to collect service member views about homosexuality and the proposed repeal, the most critical aspect of the study. Those instruments include closed door town hall-like meetings followed by focus groups and two confidential web-based comment sites. However, these instruments lack the scientific rigor of random sampling allegedly used by two Pentagon surveys, one for military members and another for their spouses. But those surveys are suspect.
The military member survey ignores important questions and has serious flaws.
It fails to ask whether the homosexual ban should be repealed and whether the respondent is homosexual.
It asks numerous questions about the impact perceived homosexuals have on unit performance and for a variety of undefined military concepts like readiness. The poll fails to corroborate the validity of the perceptions.
It presents homosexuality -- which is not defined -- as a neutral factor and privacy questions only offer accommodation answers.
Only one in four members randomly selected to participate in the survey actually participated.
The military spouse survey has similar flaws.
It fails to ask whether the homosexual ban should be repealed and the impact of open homosexuality for military children.
It does not address religious and moral objections to homosexuality nor define homosexuality.
It does not address privacy and spousal concerns about open homosexual behavior in the military community.
It assumes homosexual couples will receive the same benefits as married heterosexual military couples--although granting such benefits would likely violate the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Congress should insist on receiving detailed results from these surveys, carefully scrutinize how the Pentagon uses the views collected from these six instruments, and reject any analysis based on unscientific and or biased questioning.