With possible repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) looming somewhere out on the horizon, at least 24,000 new recruits in the month of June either didn’t get the memo or weren’t scared away from military service because of that possible change in policy. The Army National Guard met 94% of its recruiting goal and the Air National Guard met 99% of its recruiting goal. The eight other branches or components of the Defense Department met or exceeded their recruiting goals for the month of June 2010. The DoD press release is available here. According to the Defense Department, “The services also are at or above their fiscal year-to-date retention goals for the first nine months of fiscal 2010.” That means the DoD is keeping in service the numbers of personnel it needs and with the exception of the two National Guard components mentioned, they are bringing in new personnel at or above the required numbers for overall force strength.
We are in the midst of two wars, with one of them (Iraq) in a draw-down phase after 7 years. Afghanistan is America‘s longest war ever, particularly with an all volunteer force. There isn’t a member of the five Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard) who hasn’t heard about the possible repeal of DADT. In fact, just today I saw the emails from two of the services reminding recipients of the Pentagon survey on repeal of DADT to fill out the survey. These emails reminded their personnel about the seriousness of the matter and that the Pentagon leadership is looking for their professional input on this potential change in policy. While there will always be those who do not support gays, and particularly gays in the military, it hasn’t appeared to impact recruiting or retention. According to the draft legislation that may repeal DADT, Congress wants to see the tripartite certification that repeal is consistent with military standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention.
While it is early in the race to repeal DADT, I say we go ahead and check the block for ‘no negative effect on recruiting and retention.’