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Changing the Policy Toward Homosexuals in the U.S. Military

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In January 1993, President Clinton signed a memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the U.S. Armed Forces. The secretary was directed to recommend a policy that could be carried out in a manner that is practical and realistic, and consistent with the high standards of combat effectiveness and unit cohesion our Armed Forces must maintain. Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense at the time, asked RANDs National Defense Research Institute to help carry out his mandate by providing a comprehensive analysis of the issues involved in the debate and evaluating different courses of action that could be taken to implement the presidents objectives. The resulting RAND study, Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy Options and Assessment, took a broad perspective on the subject. It analyzed the policies of other countries military forces and the police and fire departments in six American cities it considered the historical record, focusing on the integration of blacks into the military it reviewed public opinion, including the views of active-duty military personnel, and explored their concerns about health risks and unit disruption it reviewed the scientific literature on group cohesion, sexuality, and related health issues and it investigated legal and implementation issues. Based on this research, the study team concluded that only one of the policies examined satisfied the Presidents directive and was internally consistent.

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  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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