The DADT Survey

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The survey the Department of Defense is giving to 400,000 service members about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is now online. Read it here.

The questions in the survey ask respondents to answer 32 pages of questions that include whether they know of gays serving in the military with them, how they feel repealing DADT would affect morale and even how they would react if they had to share an “open bay shower” with a gay service member. On his Twitter feed, ABC News’s Jake Tapper noted that while the Obama Administration has said DADT will be repealed, the survey questions are phrased with “if”s, as in:

“If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how would that affect your ability to fulfill your mission in combat?

An organization that advocates for gay and lesbians in the military, Servicemembers United, is not a fan of the survey design, saying in a statement on its web site that it’s “biased and derogatory.” The group’s executive director, discharged under the current policy, is quoted in the statement saying”

“The Defense Department just shot itself in the foot by releasing such a flawed survey to 400,000 servicemembers, and it did so at an outrageous cost to taxpayers.

…Flawed aspects of the survey include the unnecessary use of terms that are known to be inflamatory and bias-inducing in social science research, such as the clinical term ‘homosexual;’ an overwhelming focus on the potential negative aspects of repeal and little or no inclusion of the potential positive aspects of repeal or the negative aspects of the current policy; the repeated and unusual suggestion that a co-worker or leader might need to ‘discuss’ appropriate behavior and conduct with gay and lesbian troops; and more.”

Results of the survey will be presented to Presidents Obama and top military leaders later this year.