The Inclusive Command: Voluntary Integration of Sexual Minorities into the U.S. Military
49 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2004
Date Written: August 24, 2004
This essay reexamines the "unit cohesion" problem, which many members of Congress cited as the primary rationale for the "Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT)" policy currently enforced in the U.S. Military. As an alternative to DADT, we propose the formation of two alternative command structures to which service members would be assigned to assign themselves, depending upon their stated willingness to serve with gay people. Soldiers who are willing to serve with gay people would be assigned to "inclusive" commands. Service members who are not willing to serve with gay people would be assigned to "exclusive" commands which would continue to operate under the DADT regime.
The benefits of the inclusive units would be threefold: amelioration (of current discrimination), demonstration (that DADT is not necessary to preserve unit cohesion), and realignment of political allies and enemies (creating a common cause for pro-gay legislators on the left and pro-defense legislators on the right). The proposal is dynamic, not static. The hope is that inclusive commands would so effectively demonstrate the benefits of integration that, over time, increasing numbers of service members would opt for integrated units. From there, the step to universal, mandatory integration of sexual minorities into the armed forces would be smaller and more easily taken. The essay explores some of the implementation issues likely to arise with inclusive commands.
Keywords: lesbian and gay rights, civil rights, military
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