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Posted at 2:25 PM ET, 01/20/2011

Report: 'Don't ask, don't tell' cost military $193.3M over five years

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 4:34 p.m. ET
The military spent about $193.3 million between 2004 and 2009 to replace approximately 3,660 troops discharged under the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell," according to a new audit released days before the Pentagon is expected to detail how it plans to end its ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in uniform.

Over six years, it cost about $185 million to recruit and train replacement troops and $7.7 million in administrative costs. Each individual separation cost $52,800 on average, according to estimates by the Government Accountability Office published Thursday.

The findings come almost a month after President Obama signed legislation beginning the repeal process. The Defense Department is expected within the next week to announce plans to train senior commanders, chaplains and the rank and file about changes to its personnel policy before officially ending the policy, senior Pentagon officials said Thursday.

The report was requested by Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), who last year chaired a House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel and supported ending the ban. "Clearly this was the right thing to do," she said in a statement Thursday. "No longer will American taxpayers continue to pay to throw out patriotic service members who want only to serve their country."

But House Republicans this week introduced a bill requiring the chiefs of all four military branches to join Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen in signing off on the Pentagon's plans for repeal before the policy ends. The bill Obama signed requires just him, Gates and Mullen to certify the repeal. Even if the bill passes the Republican-led House, it would face stiff resistance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Of the troops discharged over the five-year period, about 39 percent held infantry or security roles or had critical foreign language skills, the report said. Those figures appear to confirm the concerns of gay rights leaders and supportive lawmakers who faulted the military for removing highly skilled troops at an unnecessarily high expense.

The $193.3 million cost of discharging openly gay troops is a fraction of the Pentagon's more than $600 billion annual budget.

Thursday's report updates a 2005 GAO study that could not conclusively determine the cost of discharging openly gay troops, because the Pentagon did not compile such statistics. Five years later, the Army and Air Force provided auditors with detailed costs associated with recruitment and training, while the Marine Corps and Navy could only provide estimates.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

RELATED: Federal Eye coverage of the "don't ask, don't tell" debate

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 20, 2011; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  Military, Oversight  
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Comments

"In an attempt to stall the repeal process, Republican lawmakers introduced legislation this week that would require the chiefs of all four military branches to sign off on the Pentagon's plans . . ."
The last I knew, the military followed orders issued from above. If the Republicans are changing this, why not go further and make it the newest enlistees who determine whether to end DADT?

Posted by: sage5 | January 20, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

These Republican moves are a joke and yet they are trying to make themselves and their party look like they are qualified to lead this country.

One thing is assured. The actions of this Congress will mean that the 2012 Presidential nominee (whichever old white guy that will be) won't be a member of Congress. It will be a state Governor. The Republicans in Congress will have proven themselves to be clowns.

Posted by: cyberfool | January 20, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

That's a drop in the bucket compared to most military spending. We spent $9 billion last year on a missile defense shield that doesn't work, and $10 billion on the same thing the year before...the Pentagon can probably find $40 million/year in its sofa cushions.

Posted by: dkp01 | January 20, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like a lot of money spent for the sole purpose of heterosexuals being allowed to live under the delusion that they are superior to all of the gay children they created.

Posted by: BillJ4321 | January 20, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

And how much money has the military spent to keep gays in the closet? FYI - OutMilitary.com - the gay military network - is providing a supportive environment for friending, sharing and networking between gay active military, vets and supporters.

Posted by: skoa | January 20, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

And you are leaving out one important fact, that about 80% of those discharges were based on a voluntary admission of homosexuality AFTER they signed their enlistment document and understood the rules of DADT.

In my opinion, we should hold every one of those discharged pecuniarily responsible for the training the government provided them.

At least without DADT, individuals cannot use this as a way to escape their military enlistment.

Posted by: DonnyKerabatsos | January 20, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

OK, fair enough. What are the projected military costs of treating HIV/AIDS going forward from here? What are the costs of replacing soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who leave the service due to this change in policy? You pitch this as if there are no costs associated with implementing and operating the new policy. Of course there will be costs.

Ask the gay lobby what expenses they think will be incurred.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 20, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

OK, fair enough. What are the projected military costs of treating HIV/AIDS going forward from here? What are the costs of replacing soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who leave the service due to this change in policy? You pitch this as if there are no costs associated with implementing and operating the new policy. Of course there will be costs.

Ask the gay lobby what expenses they think will be incurred.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10
---------------
It's the same cost as it is now since there is already a significant number of Gays that were serving under DADT. All this bill says is they can serve openly. Will there be a slight up tick in gays joining the military? Probably. But not that significant a number. Also I don't want my response to your post to signal to anybody that I agree with your bigoted AIDS comment. I'm just commenting on how flawed your logic is.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | January 20, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the Republicans have decided to go against Civilian control of the Military.

Joint Chiefs' head Colin Powell opposed gays in the military, even though he used reasons similar to not having blacks in the military back in the 1940's. Now Mr. Powell feels he was wrong.

My view was that President Clinton should have fired Powell when Powell gave his opinion.

I have that view now: ask the Marine Corps head to resign immediately, and strip his pension. And send a message: if you oppose civilian control of the military, that is treasonable, and you could be executed. You're lucky you're just losing your pension.

This is in reference to
"Republican lawmakers introduced legislation this week [Jan 20 2011] that would require the chiefs of all four military branches to sign off on the Pentagon's plans to repeal before the policy ends"

Posted by: Pete_from_nyc | January 20, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Replying to:
"And you are leaving out one important fact, that about 80% of those discharges were based on a voluntary admission of homosexuality AFTER they signed their enlistment document and understood the rules of DADT.

In my opinion, we should hold every one of those discharged pecuniarily responsible for the training the government provided them.

At least without DADT, individuals cannot use this as a way to escape their military enlistment.

Posted by: DonnyKerabatsos | January 20, 2011 3:36 PM |"

Wow, who knew that today's military is full of Corporal Klingers willing to play gay to get discharged?!

I challenge you to cite a single source to document your absurd claim that four-fifths of all DADT-related discharges are efforts to get out of duty.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | January 20, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Curmudgeon10
OK, fair enough. What are the projected military costs of treating HIV/AIDS going forward from here? What are the costs of replacing soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who leave the service due to this change in policy? You pitch this as if there are no costs associated with implementing and operating the new policy. Of course there will be costs.

Ask the gay lobby what expenses they think will be incurred.
==============================================================================

Exactly! Just like when we had to take down all those "colored" and "whites only" signs from above the water fountains! How much did that cost???

Posted by: 8-Man2 | January 20, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Are gay people just plain smarter, better educated and more suave than anyone else? They are always in the most sensitive, skilled positions, highly visible positions.

You never read about truck drivers getting dumped due to DADT, so the truck drivers must all by butch hetro guys, I guess.

(It probably doesn't cost much to replace a truck driver.)

Posted by: krush01 | January 20, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

our military people are suffering and dying in BS wars. homos and hetros.is this not more important than continuing to appease the whiners? for are goodness sake people get a life

Posted by: pofinpa | January 20, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It used to be that a person could get out of the military just by admitting that they're gay.

Now, who ever is in the military is there to stay.


Posted by: lindalovejones | January 20, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

DCSteve, I love a foolish challenge:

It's right here published by the National Defense University (The Efficacy of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Om Prakash, Joint Forces Quarterly Issue 55)

http://www.ndu.edu/press/lib/images/jfq-55/14.pdf

And I Quote:

"Charles Moskos, one of the original authors of DADT, points out that the number of discharges for voluntary statements by Servicemembers accounted for 80 percent of the total, while the number of discharges for homosexual acts actually declined over the years.14"

Anything else you'd like to challenge me on?

Posted by: DonnyKerabatsos | January 20, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I am not a real fan of repeal of gays in the military. I believe there is substance to some of the issues. Gays make up a very small percentage of the military force. We have a voluntary force. We also have a very christian religious force that is not evident to those not serving. Because it is voluntary, young men and women have the right not to associate by not enlisting and finding another career path. Because the military attracts those men and women who are very religious, the military may have to deal with significant culture clash between the groups. I do not know how this will all turn out, but I am very wary. If gays openly served, when I joined I would not have. Exercising my right not to associate.

Posted by: dwinstone1 | January 20, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, thank goodness we spent this much on kicking out gays. We don't want them having sex with the enemy rather than shooting at them!

We are saved!

Posted by: Bious | January 20, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"Thursday's report updates a 2005 GAO study that could not conclusively determine the cost of discharging openly gay troops, because the Pentagon did not compile such statistics."

The US Government had a policy for 17 years and did NOT compile statistics. But the GOP is sure the policy was 'effective.'

Effective by costing millions of taxpayer dollars?! Effective in discriminating against citizens serving their country?! Effective in retaining those with needed skills?!

Yeah! The GOP is sure that shrinking government and overturning healthcare reform is 'effective.' My a$$.

Posted by: ldfrmc | January 20, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

dwinstone1: The military attracts lots of different groups of people. It is not a religious order - it's the military.

You enlisted for the wrong reasons then and they are the wrong reasons now.

By all means, find 'another career path.' Taxpayers are not going to subsidize your 'beliefs' any longer. Time to grow up.

Posted by: ldfrmc | January 20, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

$193.3 Million. Just imagine if recent leaders had the sense of those who ran things decades before. They knew that these misfits didn't belong in the Military and kept them out and kept them from running their hands under the blanket of another soldier during the night. Now after all the Political shenanigans we realize what it cost . Monetarily , that is. The other realizations of the damage new policies enacted now will come later, and it may cost us Trillions to rectify these mistakes then .

Posted by: puck-101 | January 20, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

@Donny: "In my opinion, we should hold every one of those discharged pecuniarily responsible for the training the government provided them."

"At least without DADT, individuals cannot use this as a way to escape their military enlistment."

And now individuals will give up their right to sue the government for discrimination (a lot more in costs than the training they received before separation). If you look at their amount of time in the service before the 'voluntary' disclosures and the circumstances of why the disclosures were made (it wasn't to opt out just after training, at the beginning of their service, idiot) you'd see a definite pattern of pressures no straight soldiers had to put up with.

DADT was one of the military's and the GOPs greatest waste of money, time and human resources.

Can not wait to see some baptist soldier 'come out' of their religious closet and claim they are now incompatible for continued military service because they know someone is gay.

Get a life.

Posted by: ldfrmc | January 20, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Gays lost their military jobs and were discharged because they couldn't (wouldn't?) keep their mouths shut, like they were told to do. I have absolutely no sympathy for them.

Posted by: momof20yo | January 20, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

puck: The military is not the catholic church. Gays are not 'priests' in the Marines and straights are not innocent lambs, altar boys. (Maybe a few are alter boys)

No one's being sexually abused or assaulted (except for a lot of women by straight men). All the soldiers are 18 or older.

Can't imagine "rectifying" trillions in the future for boys in uniform opting out of service because they can't take a shower when gay servicemen are present.

A whole new generation of 'misfits.' Indeed.

Posted by: ldfrmc | January 20, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon10: HIV/AIDS is tested prior to enlistment, during service and at discharge. Unless a soldier makes a claim that military duties directly caused transmission, their medical costs, are their medical costs and they are discharged.

There are cases of HIV conversion occurring after enlistment - the vast majority are heterosexual and IV drug related acquired during military service.

Go find another excuse and try to hide your bigotry.

Posted by: ldfrmc | January 20, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Every time a soldier decides not to re-enlist, the military service has to replace that person. High re-training expenditures are common in the military services regardless of whether the soldier is gay or straight.
Some enlistments are only for two years, or four years. I'd guess that not as many people are staying in the military until full retirement age of 65.
Recruitment and re-training costs are just a part of military budgets regardless of DADT.


Before everyone gets upset about the supposed cost of DADT, take a look at the usual cost of recruitment and re-training before DADT.


If the military services had enough people to fill every job, there would be absolutely no need for civilian employees. And what do those civilian employees cost?

Posted by: momof20yo | January 20, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Full retirement in the military is not "age of 65."

You are not making any sense (credibility) about how the military operates and what costs are.

Posted by: ldfrmc | January 20, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I am not a real fan of repeal of gays in the military. I believe there is substance to some of the issues. Gays make up a very small percentage of the military force. We have a voluntary force. We also have a very christian religious force that is not evident to those not serving. Because it is voluntary, young men and women have the right not to associate by not enlisting and finding another career path. Because the military attracts those men and women who are very religious, the military may have to deal with significant culture clash between the groups. I do not know how this will all turn out, but I am very wary. If gays openly served, when I joined I would not have. Exercising my right not to associate.

Posted by: dwinstone1 | January 20, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

And if we replace "gay" with "Jew" or "Black"? Do yu have a problem serving with Jesus' maternal relatives (since his father is not human)? By the way the military is actually still NOT voluntary -- check the militia sections in Title 10 and the Selective Serivce Act. And in my 23 years of service I have met more Muslims in the Army than outside. What king of idiocy says we have a christian military? We have an AMERICAN military.

Posted by: williamwertman | January 20, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

What a crock that figure is. As valuable number would be to figure how much it will cost to replace the attrition of our professional Military who will chose to atrite as a result of repeal. As inconvienent as it is for the left, our military is comprised of largely of folks much more conservative that the general populace. Attrition from tossing out open homo's is minuet compared to discharges as a result of pregnacy, long term orthipedic problems ect.

Posted by: USMC03sje | January 21, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

As Momof20yo knows full well, many of the people discharged under DADT did NOT tell; they were outed by other people.

For those who claim, bizarrely, that people who decided that they didn't enjoy life in the military would claim to be gay in order to get out, (a) every one in the Armed Services is a volunteer and (b) 48% of the number of people with critical language skills and 33% of people with critical occupational skills who were thrown out as the result of DADT had served for at least 2 years. Of course it is likely that there were a number of other people whose discharge was not officially listed as being the result of DADT. Also, GAO noted that because the Navy did not calculate administrative costs, the estimates of the cost of discharge were low.


http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11170.pdf
full report

http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11170high.pdf
highlights

Undoubtedly, there are a number of servicemen and women who see a conflict between accepting the existence of gays in the military and their desire to inflict their personal religious views on as many people as possible and who will, therefore, decide to throw their own careers away. There's no way of knowing how much of a loss, in ANY meaningful sense, that will be, yet.

Posted by: edallan | January 22, 2011 3:22 AM | Report abuse

It is ignorant for DWinstone1 to defend DADT by arguing that there are few gays in the all-volunteer military, because there are over 65,000 active duty gays and over 1 million veterans right now (“A new push to roll back ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” New York Times, 29 November 2007). It’s equally ignorant for DWinstone1 to argue that the military is a “very Christian religious” organization, because the reality is that it’s a multi-faith/atheist/agnostic organization. There aren’t very many Jews in the military. Would you also force them to lie about who they are, and discharge them if anyone finds out their truth?

Posted by: Ned_Flaherty | January 24, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Puck-101 wrote, “Those who ran things decades before knew that these misfits didn’t belong in the Military and kept them out and kept them from running their hands under the blanket of another soldier during the night.”

That’s untrue. Throughout the 20th century, military leaders often recognized that some of the best personnel were gay/lesbian, so gay-related discharges plummeted whenever there was a personnel shortage. Today, gays and lesbians comprise over 65,000 active duty personnel and over 1 million veterans. Also, because of the homophobic climate, gays and lesbians have always had far fewer sex-related transgressions than their straight counterparts.

Posted by: Ned_Flaherty | January 24, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Momof20yo incorrectly wrote, “Gays lost their military jobs and were discharged because they couldn't (wouldn’t?) keep their mouths shut, like they were told to do.”

That’s untrue. Many discharges occurred not because gay personnel outed themselves, but only because others secretly made accusations, which led to them being unfairly pursued (which was illegal).

Momof20yo also incorrectly wrote, “Recruitment and re-training costs are just a part of military budgets regardless of DADT.”

That’s also untrue. Those costs are not “regardless” of DADT. Whatever the normal costs would have been, those costs skyrocketed because DoD unfairly discharged an extra 14,000 personnel who could have continued serving if it weren’t for the treachery of DADT.

Posted by: Ned_Flaherty | January 24, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

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