May 24, 2010

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Allied Military Leaders Navigate Gay Military Service

As Congress seeks leadership to determine the fate of the military’s ban on openly gay service, the Palm Center and the Brookings Institution release resources to inform the debate.

Santa Barbara, CA. May 24, 2010 — While the U.S. Congress considers repealing the ban on lesbians and gays in the military, a policy known as ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, twenty-five of our nation’s allies already allow open gay military service. On Wednesday, May 19, during a public forum at the Brookings Institution, military commanders and scholars from Australia, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom discussed their experiences with the service of gays in their militaries. Co-sponsored by the Palm Center, “Lessons Learned from the Service of Gays and Lesbians in Allied Militaries” evaluated the effects of gay military service on policy, unit cohesion, military readiness and morale.

Resources available:

Executive Summary with quotes and panel summaries

Full event transcripts

Audio of the panels

Video of the panels with full, broadcast-quality recordings available upon request.

Collected news articles on the conference

New York Times

Military Times


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The Palm Center is a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 1998, the Center has been a leader in commissioning and disseminating research in the areas of gender, sexuality, and the military. For more information visit:

The 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings produces cutting-edge research, analysis, and programs that address some of the most critical issues facing leaders shaping defense policy in the coming century. The Initiative focuses on three core issues: the future of war, the future of U.S. defense needs and priorities, and the future of the U.S. defense systems. More information.