Defense Force Management:

DOD's Policy on Homosexuality

NSIAD-92-98: Published: Jun 12, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) policy of excluding homosexuals from serving in the armed forces.

GAO found that: (1) between 1980 and 1990, DOD discharged about 17,000 service members under the separation category of homosexuality; (2) most of those discharged for homosexuality were white male enlisted personnel; (3) some groups were consistently discharged for homosexuality at a rate higher than their representation in the total active force or individual service; (4) the Navy accounted for 51 percent of the discharges; (5) in fiscal year 1990, the estimated cost of replacing personnel discharged for homosexuality was about $28,000 for each enlisted person and about $121,000 for each officer; (6) the services' investigative agencies could not provide specific information on the costs of investigations of alleged cases of homosexuality; (7) DOD and the services have conducted two major studies on the subject of whether homosexuals pose a heightened security risk, and both studies concluded that they did not; (8) a number of medical organizations disagree with the DOD policy of excluding homosexuals from service; (9) public attitudes about homosexuality appear to be changing, with more Americans favoring the inclusion of homosexuals in the armed forces; (10) many police and fire departments have adopted policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (11) 4 of the 17 countries GAO examined have policies designed to exclude homosexuals from military service, but some of the remaining countries have policies requiring separation if an individual's behavior is found to be disruptive.

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