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Concerns Regarding Recruiting, Retention, And Readiness

Legislation (H.R. 1283) has been introduced in the 111th Congress to repeal the 1993 statute regarding homosexuals in the military, Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C., which is frequently mislabeled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In anticipation of this action, a number of retired flag and general officers decided that it would be important to show support for this law, which was written to protect unit cohesion and morale in our military.

Congress approved the statute in 1993 with bipartisan, veto-proof majorities in both houses, and federal courts have upheld it as constitutional several times.

We believe firmly that this law deserves continued support.

This is a list of 1,163 distinguished retired military leaders from all branches of the service who have shown their support for the 1993 law with personal signatures requested and received by regular mail. The list (as of February 2010) includes two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, several Service Chiefs, a number of combatant command, theater, and other major U.S. and allied force commanders, together with two Medal of Honor recipients and hundreds of retired flag and general officers who have led the men and women of our armed services at every echelon, in both peace and war, past and present:

We, the Undersigned Flag & General Officers

On March 31, we delivered an open letter to the President of the United States and other administration officials. This letter and a similar one addressed to Congressional leaders covered this statement, which was prepared and delivered with 1,050 signatures at that time:

Statement of Support for Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C.

As our Statement to the President and Members of Congress affirms, we consider this issue
to be a matter of national security:
"Our past experience as military leaders leads us to be greatly concerned about the impact of repeal [of the law] on morale, discipline, unit cohesion, and overall military readiness. We believe that imposing this burden on our men and women in uniform would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force."
Retired officers who initiated this independent Flag and General Officers for the Military project appreciate the support of those who responded with good wishes and more than 1,000 personal signatures. We trust that the presentation of these signatures to the President and Members of Congress will encourage serious, responsible debate on the consequences of repealing the 1993 law.

Many of our concerns regarding recruiting, retention, and readiness are summarized here:

Issue Overview

We believe firmly that Section 654, Title 10, which Congress passed to protect good order, discipline, and morale in the unique environment of the armed forces, deserves continued support.

More information on this issue is available from the Center for Military Readiness,
which provided administrative support for this project. CMR is an independent,
non-partisan public policy organization that specializes in military/social issues.

Flag & General Officers for the Military
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