Building Military Support

The Palm Center determined early on that it was essential to share our research and expertise with members of the military, ranging from senior leaders to mid-career officers to students at service academies. This was especially important in a political culture that prizes military opinion, and given the historic role of military opposition in blocking inclusion. More broadly, in any campaign for social change, it’s crucial to have surprising validators and trusted messengers—those who are not already presumed to support change—inform the conversation in ways that can resonate with a public considering whether to change their view. The Palm Center spent years reaching out to current and former military officials, rank and file troops, military professors, and others in the military community. Our research inspired many to share their views about “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the transgender ban, both independently and as co-authors or signatories of statements, reports, memos, and op-eds.

Below are several examples of Palm’s most effective validator statements that helped build a record of military support for inclusion. The full collection remains available throughout our website.

DoD’s Transgender Ban Has Harmed Military Readiness, November 2020

I pushed to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ The transgender ban defies our values, March 18, 2019 (Washington Post)

Retired Generals and Admirals Warn of Grave Consequences to Transgender Military Ban, February 26, 2019

Six Former Surgeons General ​Rebut Pentagon Assertions About Medical Fitness of Transgender Troops, April 25, 2018

DoD Is Ready to Accept Transgender Applicants, December 2017

Accept transgender troops, allow them medical treatment, Adm. Mike Mullen tells Congress, July 25, 2017 (USA Today)

Re-Thinking Genital Surgeries on Intersex Infants, June 2017

Admiral Mike Mullen Illuminates His Role in DADT Repeal, March 31, 2015

Medical Aspects of Transgender Military Service, 2015 (Armed Forces & Society)

Military And Civilian Professors Say That “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Debate Is Over, November 30, 2010

Two Dozen Experts Concerned About Civilian Control Of Military, March 3, 2010

104 Generals And Admirals: Gay Ban Must End, November 17, 2008

Report of the General/Flag Officers’ Study Group, 2008

Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military, January 2, 2007, (New York Times)

Financial Analysis of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: How much does the gay ban cost?, February 2006

Aaron Belkin debate with Moskos at Army War College, December 2002

Aaron Belkin Debate with Elaine Donnelly at Air Command and Staff College, May 26, 2010