Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Is The Gay Ban Based On Military Necessity?

July 1, 2003

Parameters, Summer 2003

In 2003, the official journal of the U.S. Army War College published a Palm Center study arguing that “don’t ask, don’t tell” was based on prejudice, not military readiness. We believe that this was the first time in American history that an official US military publication published a study supportive of inclusive policy for gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members. On June 15, 2003, the late NBC “Meet the Press” host Tim Russet questioned retired General and presidential candidate Wesley Clark about “don’t ask, don’t tell” as he held up a copy of the study, and Clark said that he would consider changing the policy if elected. In 2004, the journal published a critique that referred to our study as “gay propaganda,” and we responded in kind (full citations here; original documentation here). We were honored that when the journal published a compendium of leading articles in its 40th anniversary edition in 2011, the editors reprinted our 2003 study as one of the top studies of the past four decades.