WhiteHouse.gov—On Thursday at the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C., Vice President Biden moderated an in-depth discussion focusing on the long-term, structural challenges facing middle class families in today’s economy. Joined by a panel of policy experts, the group focused on broader issues such as the overall labor market in recent decades; shifting gender roles and the need for work-life balance in today’s economy; economic inequality and mobility; the increased gap between productivity and wages, and much more.
Going forward, the Middle Class Task Force will continue working with these panelists, among other outside experts, developing policy ideas to help lift the living standards of working families. As the Vice President put it Thursday: “That dynamic—where the economy’s moving forward as middle class families fall back—that just doesn’t work for the president, for me, and, certainly, for millions of families who are finding the system to be working against them, not for them.”
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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Daily Kos/Senator Kirsten Gillibrand—Since 1994, almost 13,000 gay servicemen and women have been discharged from the military based not on their performance but on their sexual orientation. In 2009 alone, we’ve had more than 400 of our brave men and women leave the military under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This is simply unacceptable. It is time to repeal this outdated and immoral policy once and for all and end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly and honestly in our armed forces.
To that end, I’ve secured the commitment from Senator Carl Levin, Chair of the Armed Services Committee, to hold the first hearing on the policy since it began 16 years ago. Chairman Levin expects to hold the hearing soon and it’s my hope that it will be instrumental in demonstrating the level of support that exists for repeal not only throughout the country — where polls consistently indicate that solid majorities oppose the policy — but within the military itself.
I’m happy to see that, as the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing approaches, there are signs of momentum building toward repeal.
On September 24, Majority Leader Harry Reid sent letters to the President and Secretary Gates reiterating his support for repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and requesting their recommendations to Congress on the policy. I agree with Senator Reid. I know the President opposes DADT, and I am confident he and his Administration will work to engage Congressional and military leaders in this debate.
Then, just last week, an article was published in the Joint Force Quarterly — a publication considered to be the scholarly journal of the Pentagon and released by the Joint Chiefs — that goes beyond addressing just Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but overtly calls for a repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the US military. In the article, Air Force Colonel Om Prakash writes:
After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly. Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.
It’s heartening to see such a strong statement coming from the top levels of the military. Not only did this article appear in a publication published by the Pentagon, but it was written by a man currently working under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and was reviewed by the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen. Supporters of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell often cite the lack of support for repeal among the top levels of the military. With this article, those leaders are sending a clear signal that that’s simply not the case.
Then, yesterday, the New York Times published an editorial in which they cited the Joint Force Quarterly article and called for a reversal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
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Pentagon Airs Criticism of ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ in Journal Article: Backs Gay Troops, May Signal Brass Open to Debate
Posted by TheLCster
Boston Globe/Bryan Bender—An article in the Pentagon’s top scholarly journal calls in unambiguous terms for lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, arguing that the military is essentially forcing thousands of gay men and women to lead dishonest lives in an organization that emphasizes integrity as a fundamental tenet.
Joint Force Quarterly Magazine, Issue 55, 4th Quarter
The article in the upcoming issue of Joint Force Quarterly, which is published for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was written by an Air Force colonel who studied the issue for months while a student at the National Defense University in Washington and who concludes that having openly gay troops in the ranks will not hurt combat readiness.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefs’ “flagship’’ security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military.
While decisions on which articles to publish are made by the journal’s editorial board, located at the defense university, a senior military official said yesterday that the office of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman who is the nation’s top military officer, reviewed the article before it was published.
“After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,’’ writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. “Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.’’
related story: Sen. Reid Letter Appeals Directly To Obama: “Help Us Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Full Text here:: Sen. Reid’s Letter to President Obama