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US Army and the Homosexual propensity Essay

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Student Signature: Jeffrey L. Musgray


US Army and the Homosexual Predisposition

Jeffrey L. Musgray

Baker College


This integrated portfolio project will explore the United States Army position on homosexuals within its confines. It will briefly define what homosexuality and its’ affect on the military environment. It will explore the problems it causes and why it is a cultural discomfort within the U.S. Armed Forces. Additionally, it will reveal different attitudes held within the services and divulge steps that are taken to deal with those attitudes. Finally, it will provide a synopsis of the probable future disposition of the homosexual in the military.

US Army and the Homosexual propensity


Indeed, the societal bravado of the world continues to change as quickly as technology. Dysfunctional families such as “the Osbournes ” are applauded, the elderly are counted as an eyesore, family values are inconsistent, bad is counted as good and what was considered immoral is now merely an alternative lifestyle. Within this melting pot of such diverse lifestyles, lies homosexuality or politically correct referred to as sexual orientation has been most controversial, especially amongst the religious leaders. Homosexuality as defined is the sexual attraction to (or sexual relations with) persons of the same sex (Lexico Publishing Group, 2003).

The Problem

United States Code Title 10 addresses homosexuality in the armed services. The code recognizes that one of the most critical elements in combat capability is unit cohesion. The code directs that the armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons who would create an unacceptable risk to unit cohesion. Additionally, it recognizes that military life is fundamentally different from civilian life and concludes that the presence of individuals in the armed forces who engage in homosexual acts creates an unacceptable risk to unit cohesion and standards of morale, good order and discipline. (U.S Army, 1999)

In 1993, Congress made a finding that any engagement, attempts to engage in or soliciting another to engage in homosexual acts is grounds for discharge from the military. It was decided those who have demonstrated a tendency to engage in homosexual acts creates an unacceptable risk to morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion. Therefore, the long-standing element of military law that prohibits homosexual conduct continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service. It was at the discretion of Congress that applicants should not be asked about homosexuality as part of the processing of individuals entering into the Armed Forces, which were deemed by the Secretary of Defense that such questions are necessary. Applicants for military service are no longer asked about their sexual orientation. The Army policy became a balance of the legal prohibition of homosexual conduct while maintaining the privacy rights of soldiers.

The issue of gays in the military has been a hot political issue ever since the beginning of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Normally, liberals sought to allow gays to openly serve in the armed forces, while conservatives pushed to keep the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Policy, or to ban gays from serving in the military outright. How does the biggest organization in the world manage and incorporate the supposed constitutionally right of one who practices homosexuality, into a culture that was built on moral standards that oppose it? The problem may not be so much in the perverseness of the act, as it is its’ defining role as being morally right or wrong. To accurately address the problem, one must understand the culture and role of the Army.

Army Culture

“A culture is defined by its language, dress, traditions, and social norms. The military has an extremely well-defined culture. So does the homosexual community. …Accommodation of homosexuality in the military would implicate this aspect of military culture [a very religious culture] in two ways, both with the potential for an extremely adverse impact on the Army’s ability to dedicate its attention and resources to military matters”(Marple, 2003). According to Marple, the roots of the Army culture is derived from Republicanism enforced by biblical values.

The only way an army can protect the liberties of Americans is to embrace the traditional republican virtues of morality, ethics, and religion, while protecting, but not practicing, democracy (Marple, 2003). It is these virtues that have been established since the presidency of George Washington and establishment of the Continental Army, that govern the Army of Today. In keeping with its’ culture, General Reimer defined the Army vision is to be the world’s best army, a full spectrum force trained and ready for victory. A total force of quality soldiers and civilians (Reimer, D., 1996):

* A values-based organization

* An integral part of the joint team

* Equipped with the most modern weapons and equipment the country can


* Able to respond to our Nation’s needs

* Changing to meet challenges of today, tomorrow, and the 21st century

Additionally, its’ core values honor, duty, respect, loyalty, personal courage, integrity and selfless service are the cornerstone for building a strong cohesive fighting force (FORSCOM, 2003). Anything that hinders the military from fulfilling its role is a potential threat to national security and must be analyzed in an objective matter free from subjective wants and opinions. As aforementioned, it is the considered value placed on the act of homosexuality that is cause for alarm. Within the Army vision, values, team cohesiveness and meeting challenges are what will determine the strength of the Army. When values collide and there is no suitable compromise, the cohesiveness of the team will degrade and the internal conflict will become the undisputable challenge of that organization. In the case of the Army, many soldiers consider homosexuality to be immoral and it violates those values that have been imputed since birth. As a service member is faced with fulfilling the needs of the Army and own needs, there were be inevitably repercussion when those needs are not met or denounced. The problems caused by the presence of homosexuals range from heated debates to acts of violence.

* FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) – An Army soldier beat his barracks roommate to death because of his hatred for homosexuals, according to prosecutors who for the first time characterized the incident as a hate crime. Engler (prosecutor) said Winchell (homosexual) received up to five bat blows, which came with such force that blood spatters were found on the ceiling and on a wall 15 feet away. The first strike came as he slept in a cot (Soldier Pleads Guilty,1999).

* (Excerpt from Senate hearings 22 June 1993, Mr. Coats) Military personnel policies on homosexuality have developed in a long history, history that has taught the lessons of war and peace, readiness and failure. The ban did not begin in the 1980’s. It was codified after decades of experience. That experience led to a conclusion: Homosexuality is incompatible with military life, for practical reasons and for experiential reasons. Our Armed Forces have concluded that the presence of homosexuals undermines their ability to: First, maintain discipline, good order, and morale; second, our Armed Forces have concluded that the presence of homosexuals undermines their ability to foster mutual trust and confidence among service members (U.S. Senate, 1993).

* (1SG in Air Force) What I fail to understand is exactly how the military would be expected to house openly-admitted homosexuals, in an environment where we force people to room together, without seriously violating the sexual privacy rights of the heterosexual majority, or causing major problems with morale (Powers,2000).

* The L.A Times Poll interviewed 2,346 enlisted personnel in Armed Forces on active duty outside 38 installations in February of 1993. When asked what was the two top problems facing the military Today, the most prevalent were troop-downsizing and possible lift of gay ban.

* Military service is different though. They all eat, sleep and shower together. Under these circumstances, it puts both the straight and gay individuals in a difficult situation. The most difficult is that of the gay person. Being straight, I would find showering with a group of women my same age, single or married, ugly or pretty, would be very difficult. Minds and eyes would wander, secret crushes could form, and favoritism by gay officers toward favored subordinates might occur. Though all three undoubtedly occur now with closeted gays, an openly gay’s wondering eyes, innocent or not, will not be taken as a compliment. A gay enlistee, male or female, would be shunned and perhaps subject to verbal and/or physical abuse. Having more than one gay in an outfit would also promote an Us vs. Them mindset. Accusations of sexual activity, whether true or not, between the gays could result as well. Working under these hostile conditions as well as any sexual distractions would cause anyone’s job performance to be substandard (Bolton, C., 1999).

As depicted, the problems are numerous and worthy of concern. If the Army is to be the world’s best, fully trained and ready to overcome-it must even as it did segregation, conquer this battle.


New Policy

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 RAND’s 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 president’s objectives.

The research team examined a number of ways to respond to the president’s directive and identified one policy to be most consistent with their research findings. That policy holds that sexual orientation, by itself, is not germane in determining who may serve in the U.S. military. It emphasizes actual conduct, not behavior presumed because of sexual orientation, and holds all service members to the same standard of professional behavior. It requires tolerance and restraint to foster the good of the group, but implies no endorsement of a homosexual lifestyle (Rostker, B., 2000). An illustrative “Standard of Professional Conduct” was designed as part of the research project. Similar standards have been used effectively in other organizations and foreign militaries and are analogous to the “good order and discipline” and “conduct unbecoming” provisions in U.S. military law. Four features of this standard are central: (Rostker, B., 2000)

* A requirement that all members of the military services conduct themselves in ways that enhance good order and discipline. Such conduct includes showing respect and tolerance for others. While heterosexuals would be asked to tolerate the presence of known homosexuals, all personnel, including acknowledged homosexuals, must understand that the military environment is no place to advertise one’s sexual orientation.

* A clear statement that inappropriate conduct could destroy order and discipline, and that individuals should not engage in such conduct.

* A list of categories of inappropriate conduct, including personal harassment (physical or verbal conduct toward others, based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical features), abuse of authority, displays of affection, and explicit discussions of sexual practices, experience, or desires.

* Application of these standards by leaders at every level of the chain of command, in a way that ensures that unit performance is maintained.


In line with policy recommendation of RAND, the Armed forces devised a policy that addressed each point. As a leader, informing and training the forces has been the cornerstone for success. Consequently, in an effort to comply with the Clinton administration, soldiers were educated and promptly directed to adhere to the rules set within the policy. One such occasion of mandatory compliance was issued by Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff (Department of the Army, 2000). It entailed:

1. The secretary and the chief of staff affirm that treating soldiers with dignity and respect is a bedrock value for the army . We declare that there is no room for harassment or threats to any soldier in our army for any reason. Therefore, as the senior leaders of the army we are determined to continue to implement the DOD homosexual conduct policy with equity and fairness to all of our soldiers.

2. The essential elements of the department of defense policy regarding homosexual conduct are based on title 10, United States Code, and are unchanged. However, in order to protect fully the rights of all personnel, the following additional guidance is provided.

* All soldiers will receive refresher training on homosexual conduct policy within 90 days of the date of this message.

* The deputy chief of staff for personnel will establish a world-wide-web page with resource material and publish training materials to be used in this training.

* TRADOC has been directed to incorporate institutional training on homosexual conduct policies into all stages of the Professional Military Education (pme) system within 90 days of the date of this message.

* The Army Inspector General has been charged to specifically inspect homosexual conduct policy training throughout the army and the reserve components beginning February 11, 2000.

* The Army Judge Advocate General has been tasked to create procedures for installation-level staff judge advocates to use when consulting with senior legal officers on cases involving homosexual


* Verbal admission of homosexuality may be grounds for discharge. Commanders must, however, determine whether admissions are credible. In most cases of homosexual admission, no investigation is required. However, in instances where the commander feels that the admission may not be credible, an inquiry may be appropriate and will be conducted pursuant to AR 600-20.

* Finally, in our army we expect that all soldiers will be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and will be afforded a safe and secure environment in which to live and work. Harassment of soldiers for any reason, to include perceived sexual orientation, will not be tolerated. We expect commanders at every level to take appropriate action to prevent harassment of or threats against any

member of our army. Once again we are determined to continue to implement the DOD homosexual conduct policy with fairness to all because that is the right thing to do for our soldiers


In pursuant of fulfilling the compliance directive, leaders at all levels promptly executed the plan and trained the forces on what was expected of them. Training included scenarios, briefings and skits to implant the need to accept this policy, not necessarily the act of homosexuality. In accordance with the law, “The presence in the Armed Forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”

Though there is obvious acceptance of homosexuality in the civilian sector, Title 10 states that military life is fundamentally different from civilian life. The law recognizes that the military is a specialized society and is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, and restrictions on personal behavior that would not be acceptable in civilian society.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is what the collective policies of Title 10, DoD and Army Command Policy are popularly referred to in reference to homosexual conduct. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell provides a straightforward summation of all of the laws and policies applicable to homosexual conduct in the Army. Accordingly, homosexual conduct is defined as an admission of homosexuality, the solicitation of another to engage in a homosexual act or acts, the commission of a homosexual act or acts, or a homosexual marriage or attempted marriage. Participation in any of the above acts is a violation of the Army’s Homosexual Conduct Policy. Soldiers violating homosexual conduct policy are subject to inquiry, investigation and separation from the Army if violation is substantiated. In all cases due process is afforded to the soldier.

What Does ‘Don’t Ask” Mean? The policy places certain restrictions on the information the military can gather or request from a soldier:

� Applicants for enlistment will not be asked nor required to reveal their sexual orientation.

� Applicants for enlistment will not be asked if they have engaged in homosexual conduct.

� While on active duty, soldiers will not be asked about their sexual orientation or conduct unless there is credible information of homosexual conduct.

Soldiers also have a restriction on what they can “tell.” Both Title 10 and Army policy support the understanding that sexual orientation is a private matter. Therefore, soldiers are expected to keep their sexual orientation private. If a soldier chooses to “tell”, (through voluntary disclosure or admission of homosexual conduct), in most instances this disclosure or admission will be considered credible and will result in separation.

Credibility being a legal expression, an attorney must make the determination as to whether the information available is credible (U.S Army, 1999). If the determination is yes, then the commander may proceed with an investigation. If the answer is no, the commander may not proceed with an investigation. Whether the testimony regarding a soldier’s homosexual conduct comes from a reliable person will be considered by the attorney when establishing the presence or absence of credible information:

A statement by a reliable person that a soldier has engaged or solicited to engage in a homosexual act, heard the soldier state that he or she was homosexual, heard the soldier state that he she had married or attempted to marry a member of the same sex or they had observed a soldier admitting to or engaging in homosexual conduct (US Army,1999). The level of educating continues to define what are commanders responsibility in the matter, what tolerance level of harassment is allowed, what are confidential sources, means for handling threats and investigation procedures. The endstate of the training merely informs soldiers of their responsibility and duty, it does not, neither is intended to endorse homosexuality as been acceptable.


What is the disposition of the Army? I believe that great diversity of minds, values, attitudes and belief which makes the US Army so powerful will if left to its’ own demise will be that which destroys it. For it is written, “A house divided, cannot stand”. As society continues to embrace evil for good and compromise the values that the nation was built on, the Army will may be hard pressed to consider the onslaught of public opinion. In its’ expressed drive to accommodate public opinion, leaders will need to consider how the culture relates to discipline and order and is tied to the ideal that the military tries to portray.

These military values reinforce the mission of the military and undisputedly discipline and order are essential to the success of an army. Unit cohesiveness argument’s foundation is that discipline and order are essential to fighting and winning wars. And discipline and order have their foundation in an authoritarian system, the military, tempered and enhanced by religious, ethical, and moral standards. In order to hold the military to a higher standard of self-discipline than the public at large, the military must have tougher standards of morality (Marble, 2000). The challenge to all soldiers is to comply with the law that prohibits homosexual conduct while at the same time respecting the privacy and dignity of every soldier. The bottom line is high moral standards that were established in the beginning, need be enforced that the Army may survive.


(Department of the Army, 2000) Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff (2000 January 10). Homosexual Conduct Policy (101700Z JAN 00). Retrieved July 18, 2003 from http://www.forscom.army.mil/eo/Army_Homosexual_Conduct_Policy-10_Jan_00.txt

(FORSCOM, 2003). Army Core Values. Retrieved July 31, 2003, from http://www.forscom.army.mil/eo/eocv.htm

(Lexico Publishing Group, 2003). Dictionary.com. Retrieved July 2, 2003, from http://www.dictionary.com

(Marple, 2003) Marple, Justin L. Military Culture Vs. Homosexuality: Morality, Ethics, and Religious Values in the Military from the Continental Army to the Present. Retrieved July 18, 2003, from http://www.eaglescoutrally.org/articles/marple010418.htm

(Powers, R., 2000). Gays in the Military. Retrieved July 5, 2003, from http://usmilitary.about.com/library/weekly/aa011000a.htm

(Reimer, D., 1996). Army Vision 2010 [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved July 12, 2003, from http://www.usachcs.army.mil/DIVINST/Varmy.pdf

(Rostker, B., 2000). Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy:Options Assessment. RAND Research Brief. Retrieved July 2, 2003 from http://www.rand.org/publications/RB/RB7537/

(Soldier Pleads Guilty , 1999) Soldier Pleads Guilty in Gay-Bashing Court Martial. (1999, December 08). Associated Press. Retrieved July 3, 2003 from http://www.davidclemens.com/gaymilitary/campbells.html

(U.S. Senate, 1993). Homosexuals in the Military. HOMOSEXUAL DEBATE, c, S7603. Retrieved July 15, 2003, from http://dont.stanford.edu/regulations/HomosexualDebate.html

(Bolton, C. 1999). Gays and Women in the Military. Retrieved July 1, 2003, from http://home.rmci.net/cbolton/GAYS.HTM

(U.S. Army, 1999). Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Questions and Answers [Brochure]. Washington,DC: Author.

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