Congressman Moran Press Release About Letter to Pentagon December 22, 2009

CongressmanMoran.jpg

CongressmanMoran.jpg

For Immediate Release
Contact: Emily Blout
December 22, 2009
202.225.4376 / 202.494.2798 (c)

Moran Leads 90+ Members in Call for Monthly 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Data
Request for Military Discharge Info Comes Ahead of Possible Congressional Action

Washington, D.C., December 22, 2009 - Today, Congressman Jim Moran issued a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, signed by 96 Members of Congress, requesting monthly reports detailing the rank, time in service and branch of U.S. service members discharged under the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) policy in 2009.

"This policy is putting our national security at risk and wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year in unrecoverable recruiting and training expenditures." said Moran. "Until we repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' it will continue to impose needless costs, reduce the number of specialists trained to combat urgent national security threats, demoralize the estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian active-duty service members, and deter many more good men and women from service."

Passed by Congress in 1993, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) mandates the discharge of openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members. Since enactment, more than 13,500 service people have been discharged at a cost of over $400 million.
The letter penned by Moran requests the Office of the Secretary of Defense to provide all DADT data from January 1, 2009 until the present. The deadline for sending it to Congress is January 15, 2010.

Going forward, the letter asks that the Defense Department continue to provide a report on DADT related discharges occurring across all branches of the military on a monthly basis in 2010 and beyond. The information requested would include the discharged service member's job specialty (MOS), time in service and branch served.

Congressman Moran has been at the forefront of efforts to highlight DADT discharge data. Making this information public shows clearly how much this policy hurts our national defense and wastes taxpayer dollars. The last report received by Moran came after a request to the Army for data from the month of January, 2009, the final month of the Bush Administration. That original letter requested monthly updates going forward but the Defense Department has not complied. In May 14, 2009, Moran sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense formally requesting the monthly updates.

"If the Pentagon continues to refuse to comply we'll be forced to take legislative action mandating these monthly reports," said Moran. "It's neither fair to the taxpayers nor beneficial to our national defense for the Defense Department to keep this data out of the public's reach."