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Posted on Nov 1, 2009 Print this Article

False “National Security” Argument for Gays in the Military

The ongoing campaign for homosexuals in the military has repeatedly claimed that personnel losses due to homosexuality pose what some activists call a “threat to national security.”  Under closer examination, the argument falls apart. 

Newly released Defense Department figures documenting military discharges of homosexuals who are not eligible to be in the military, over the past five fiscal years, show the same pattern evident in the previous decade:  Discharges due to homosexuality affect a minuscule number of troops, and represent less than one percent of personnel losses that occur for other legitimate reasons.   


             In the new report linked above, CMR has illustrated Defense Department numbers with graphs and tables that put this issue into perspective.  According to numbers provided to the Congressional Research Service by the Defense Department, discharges due to homosexuality, averaged over the past five years, (2004-2008) accounted for only 0.32 percent of all losses; only 0.73 percent if departures due to retirement or completion of service are excluded. [1]   

The Department of Defense first put the issue into perspective in 2005, when the Under Secretary for Personnel & Readiness provided figures on discharges for homosexuality, compared to losses in general, for the years 1994-2003.  The average percentage of discharges due to homosexuality during those ten years, as calculated by the Department of Defense, was 0.37. [2] 

In 2005 the Department of Defense also provided figures comparing discharges for six reasons, including homosexuality, for ten years, 1994-2003.  The October 2009 CMR Policy Analysis highlights the same categories for all fifteen fiscal years, 2004-2008, making it easy to see that proportionate losses for the six reasons noted have not changed significantly.  

[1] Obtained from the Department of Defense by House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee Ranking Member John Kline (R-MN).

[2] Letter from Dr. David Chu, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness, Feb. 7, 2005, published in the GAO Report “Military Personnel Financial Cost and Loss of Critical Skills Due to DoD’s Homosexual Conduct Policy Cannot be Completely Estimated,” GAO-05-299, Feb. 2005, pp. 42-43.

Posted on Nov 1, 2009 Print this Article