wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
In The New York Times article Rare Source of Attack on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ By ELISABETH BUMILLER we read, in part,
Colonel Prakash, who researched the issue while a student at the National Defense University, in Washington, and who now works in the Pentagon, concludes that “it is not time for the administration to re-examine the issue.” Instead, he writes, “it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.”

The article, which was first reported Wednesday by The Boston Globe, also says the law has been costly — about 12,500 gay men and lesbians have been discharged from the service as a result of “don’t ask, don’t tell” since it took effect in 1993 — and argues that it undermines the unit cohesion it has sought to protect.

“In an attempt to allow homosexual service members to serve quietly, a law was created that forces a compromise in integrity, conflicts with the American creed of ‘equality for all,’ places commanders in difficult moral dilemmas and is ultimately more damaging to the unit cohesion its stated purpose is to preserve,” Colonel Prakash writes.
Like we done been sayin'.

The original article, published in Joint Force Quarterly, can be found as a pdf file here.

Reading it, I have to tell you that I am made all warm and fuzzy by the logical arrangement, the detailed examination of all the arguments, and the quality of the writing of this paper, wholly apart from its actual content. I tell you this in comparison with my rage at the writing by so-called experts on the Black Death that I have currently been reading, whose organizational and prose styles have been maddening in two separate dimensions. That said, on page 90, he says:
If one considers strictly the lost manpower and expense, DADT is a costly failure. Proponents of lifting the ban on homosexuals serving openly can easily appeal to emotion given the large number of people lost and treasure spent—an entire division of Soldiers and two F–22s. Opponents of lifting the ban offer interesting but weak arguments when they compare the relatively small numbers of discharges for homosexuality with those discharged for drug abuse or other offenses. It is necessary to look past both of these arguments, remove the emotion, and instead examine the primary premise of the law — that open homosexuality will lead to a disruption of unit cohesion and impact combat effectiveness. If that assumption holds, then the troops lost and money spent could be seen as a necessity in order to maintain combat effectiveness just as other Servicemembers unfit for duty must be discharged.

Point. If a characteristic of a servicemenber, even if congenital, makes it impossible for the team to work together, then that servicemember must be removed. Consider the case of extreme body odor unassociated with hygiene. Such a person, no matter his or her skills or personality, could not, for example, serve in a tank or on a submarine. (I knew such a person, a professor at Purdue, who was a magnificent teacher, but with whom we could only speak at a minimal distance of 5 feet. It was definitely worth the effort; but I, with my wholly insensitive nose, would have fainted if forced to be closer than 3 feet to him for any length of time exceeding 4 minutes.)

He says, later:
When measuring unit performance, task cohesion ends up being the decisive factor in group performance. Common sense would suggest a group that gets along (that is, has high social cohesion) would perform better. Almost counterintuitively, it has been shown that in some situations, high social cohesion is actually deleterious to the group decisionmaking process, leading to the coining of the famous term groupthink. This does not imply that low social cohesion is advantageous, but that moderate levels are optimal.20

Several factors contribute to cohesion. For social cohesion, the most important factors are propinquity—spatial and temporal proximity—and homogeneity. For task cohesion, the factors include leadership, group size, shared threat, and past success. Interestingly, success seems to promote cohesion to a greater degree than cohesion promotes success.21

This leads to the conclusion that integration of open homosexuals might degrade social cohesion because of the lack of homogeneity; however, the effects can be mitigated with leadership and will further dissipate with familiarity. More importantly, task cohesion should not be affected and is in fact the determinant in group success. Given that homosexuals who currently serve do so at great personal expense and professional risk, RAND interviews suggest such individuals are deeply committed to the military’s core values, professional teamwork, physical stamina, loyalty, and selfless service—all key descriptors of task cohesion.22

Were I still fertile, I would get my wife's permission to bear this man's children. Go read his article.


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September 2013

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