March 23, 2005

New Blue Ribbon Commission To Estimate Cost Of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Commission Includes Distinguished Military Experts, Former Senior Officials

SANTA BARBARA, CA – In response to the release of a GAO study titled, “Financial Costs And Loss Of Critical Skills Due to DOD’s Homosexual Conduct Policy Cannot Be Completely Estimated,” a Blue Ribbon Commission has been assembled to attempt to estimate the financial costs of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The GAO report was requested by Congressman Marty Meehan (D-Mass), a member of the House Armed Services Committee who recently introduced legislation to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The new Blue Ribbon Commission is made up of distinguished experts including former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, professors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Postgraduate School, and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense. It is being organized by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Commission’s mission is to ascertain whether the GAO’s cost estimate was correctly stated, and to estimate several costs including legal, investigative, and lost-training costs that appear not to have been included in the GAO report. It will then issue its own report, which is expected in six months, that includes these costs in the estimation of the total financial cost of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The Commission will use a conservative approach so as to ensure that it does not over-estimate the cost of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” It will use publicly-available data as well as fully-transparent and widely-accepted accounting methods, and its research design and analysis will be vetted by several experts in military accounting and budgeting.

Commission members are listed below:

* University of California Blue Ribbon Commission members
* Professor Frank Barrett, Naval Postgraduate School
* Professor Coit D. Blacker, Director, Stanford Institute for International Studies
* Dr. Ralph Carney, Defense Personnel Security Research Center
* Professor Don Campbell, US Military Academy at West Point
* Professor Kathleen Campbell, US Military Academy at West Point
* Professor Mark Eitelberg, Naval Postgraduate School
* Admiral John D. Hutson, (Ret.), former JAG, US Navy, 1997-2000
* Dr. Lawrence J. Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, 1981-85
* Honorable William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense, 1994-97
* Col. Timothy Ringgold, US Army (Ret.)’
* Glenn T. Ware, Esq (military law expert)
* Professor Aaron Belkin, University of California, Santa Barbara (Chair)

Col. Ringgold is CEO of Defense Solutions, a consulting firm whose clients include University of California.