I realize there might be some confusion about what exactly Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) is. So I’m going to provide some basic facts about DADT and then I’m going to post the U. S. Army Homosexual Conduct Policy (HCP) so that everyone here can read it for themselves and know that they understand it.
DADT is formally entitled: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Harass. HCP draws its authority from Title 10 United States Code (USC) 654, Department of Defense (DOD) Policy, and Army Regulation (AR) 600-20.
Every soldier is familiarized with HCP upon initial entry into the Army. While no soldier is supposed to be asked about their sexual orientation, they are required to initial a document that states they are aware of HCP and that they can be discharged for violating it. I’ll try to find that document later and then update this post.
The U. S. Army Homosexual Conduct Policy:
U. S. Army
Homosexual Conduct Policy
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,
U. S. Army
Homosexual Conduct Policy
Implements 10 U.S. Code § 654
Implements DoD Policy
AR 600-20, chapter 4-19
Army policy is a balance between the legal prohibition of homosexual conduct and the privacy rights of soldiers
What does the Law Say?
“The presence in the Armed Forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”
10 U.S.C. § 654
The Law and Army Policy in Everyday Language
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Homosexual Conduct is:
Admission of homosexuality
Committing a homosexual act
Marrying or attempting to marry a person of same sex
Train the Force
What Does ‘Don’t Ask” Mean?
Applicants for enlistment will not be asked nor required to reveal their sexual orientation.
Applicants for enlistment will not be asked if they have engaged in homosexual conduct.
While on active duty, soldiers will not be asked about their sexual orientation or conduct unless there is credible information of homosexual conduct.
What Does “Don’t Tell” Mean?
“Don’t Tell” is the opposite side of the coin from “Don’t Ask.”
Soldiers should not disclose or discuss their sexual orientation or conduct.
If a soldier admits to being homosexual, the commander will begin the process to determine if credible information exists which would warrant separation.
What is Credible Information?
A statement by a reliable person that a soldier has:
engaged or solicited to engage in a homosexual act
heard the soldier state that he or she was homosexual
heard the soldier state that he she had married or attempted to marry a member of the same sex.
A statement by a reliable person that they had observed a soldier admitting to or engaging in homosexual conduct.
What Is Not Credible Information?
Rumors that a soldier is homosexual
Others opinions that a soldier is homosexual
Going to a homosexual bar, reading homosexual publications, associating with known homosexuals or marching in homosexual rights rallies in civilian clothes
Reports of being harassed shall not by itself constitute credible information justifying the initiation of an investigation.
What are Grounds for Investigation?
Credible information must exist.
A commander must have a reasonable belief that a soldier has:
Engaged or solicited to engage in a homosexual act
Stated that he or she is a homosexual or otherwise indicated a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct
Married or attempted to marry a person of the same sex
The initiation of any substantial investigation into whether an admission of homosexuality was made for the purpose of seeking separation from the Army and/or determining whether recoupment of financial benefits is warranted must be approved at the Army Secretariat level.
Definition of substantial investigation: An investigation that extends beyond questioning the member, individuals suggested by the member for interview and the member’s immediate chain of command.
DoD Directed Policy Changes
Installation Judge Advocates will consult senior legal officers at a higher HQ prior to the initiation of an investigation.
Initiation of substantial investigations into admission of homosexuality for the purpose of separation will be made at the secretarial level.
The IG will inspect homosexual conduct policy training.
Zero Tolerance for Harassment
Definition: Derogatory, persistent, threatening or annoying behavior directed toward an individual or group.
Possible types of harassment
Verbal (on or off duty)
Jody calls regarding homosexuals
Derogatory language or references about homosexuals
Graffiti in latrines, bulletin boards, etc.
Anonymous threats; telephonic, electronic, etc.
What Can a Soldier Do If Threatened, Harassed or Accused of Being Homosexual?
Report harassment at once to the commander
Commanders will take appropriate action to protect the safety of soldiers who report threats or harassment.
Who Can a Soldier Talk with Confidentially?
Legal Assistance Attorney
The challenge to all soldiers is to comply with the law that prohibits homosexual conduct while at the same time respecting the privacy and dignity of every soldier.
The video below was taken yesterday outside the White House. It shows NPS Park Police ordering people out of Lafayette Park.
This move by the Park Police was due to a group of uniformed service members who had handcuffed themselves to the fence surrounding the White House in protest of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
If this sounds awfully familiar to the LT Dan Choi and CPT Jim Pietrangelo incident from March 18, 2010 that is because it is. Yesterday though, 6 people handcuffed themselves to the White House fence. At first glance it seems Choi and Pietrangelo got re-arrested along with 2 sailors, an airman, and a marine.
For those unfamiliar with military law, it is a crime to participate in a political action while in uniform. While the actions of Choi, Pietrangelo, and the others may seem brave to the civilian world, I must condemn their actions. Choi was given the greatest opportunity of any soldier, he was found out to be gay and was still retained by his unit. Twice now he has fucked up and gotten arrested while protesting in uniform. I see no way that the Army retains him and he will likely face both civil and military prosecution.
So I thought about the reason I came down on LT Choi so hard last week, and I realized the answer is simple. In my opinion, Choi has thrown away something that so many other people want: to serve in the Army (or more broadly the Armed Forces).
Choi always claimed that he wanted to stay with his NY National Guard unit. However, his actions these past few months have not backed up his claims.
When I was threatened with dismissal from the Army, it might have been the scariest few weeks of my life. I won’t reveal why I was going to be dismissed, but I will admit that the threat was enough for me to make a couple life altering decisions about myself. I feel like I made the commitment to fight to stay in, so I don’t know why Choi isn’t doing so either.