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Unit Cohesion and the Impact of DADT

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Will social cohesion, and therefore military effectiveness, suffer if Dont Ask, Dont Tell DADT is repealed The Zogby poll of attitudes of U.S. service members toward homosexuals, both generally and in the military, suggests that there is a substantial minority opposed to allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military, and views on the issue are far from homogeneous. The lack of homogeneity in views suggests that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly may provide a basis for these disagreements to become salient. Given this situation, repealing DADT is likely to have a negative impact on the social cohesion of many units. For these units, social cohesion will likely decrease and have a negative effect on unit performance. This is an unsatisfying answer for those engaged in the heat of the debate over DADT today, since the size of the disruption and where it is most likely to appear cannot be predicted with what is currently known. Data will soon be available to evaluate, monitor, and forecast the effect that allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces will have on all components of unit cohesion commitment to task, interpersonal attraction, and group pride. The 2010 DoD Comprehensive Review Survey of Uniformed Active Duty and Reserve Service Members currently underway includes questions that tap all three forms of cohesion. The original RAND study developed a conceptual position within the context of DADT that discounted social cohesion and so shaped the subsequent debate. If the update to the RAND study also discounts social cohesion, it is likely to miss a key determinant of unit cohesion and underestimate negative impacts. Those who are making assessments must take social cohesion into account. Commitment to task is not the only determinant of cohesion whether service members like their coworkers matters and whether they have pride in their unit matters.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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