Final Response Rate on Pentagon’s ‘DADT’ Survey is 27.5%

The Stars and Stripes reports on the below-average return rate for the Pentagon DADT troop survey:

Dadt "Sunday was the deadline for troops to complete the Defense Department's 'don't ask, don't tell' attitudes survey, and officials at the Pentagon said the final tally on completed responses was 109,883 — a response rate of only about 27.5 percent.

That's below the 30 to 40 percent response rate researchers from the University of Texas at Austin say an average email or online surveys should pull in, and well below the 52 percent participation rate officials at the Office of Personnel Management got in their similarly-structured 2010 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey."

The results reportedly won't be released until December.

And a new survey is set to go out:

"Meanwhile, later this month the Pentagon plans on mailing out another 150,000 surveys to military spouses (70,000 active duty spouses, 80,000 reservist spouses) asking their feelings on a "don't ask, don't tell" repeal. That survey will be due back in late September."

Meanwhile, Aaron Belkin at the Palm Center writes in the Huffington Post that it's "do or die" time for repeal:

If this policy is to be put out of its misery, three things must happen over the next few months. First, the Senate must vote in September, over the objections of Senator John McCain, to pass the defense authorization bill which includes repeal language.

Second, the Pentagon Working Group now studying the issue must deliver a report to Secretary Gates on December 1 which recommends new regulations based on non-discrimination. This is not a negotiable point. As our NATO allies have demonstrated, writing non-discrimination regulations is quite simple. I have every reason to expect the Working Group to do a good job. But red-herring issues such as marriage and partnership benefits (which the Pentagon has no business addressing at this time) should not be allowed to delay an otherwise straightforward process. The Group must get back to business and focus on the (very simple) task at hand.

Finally, the President will have to resist the inevitable demand from Service Chiefs to delay the implementation of non-discrimination so that they can study, study, study beyond the year that they have been given already.

Dadt The Palm Center released new data yesterday regarding the 428 LGBT service members discharged in 2009 under the failed policy:

"The figure is down from 619 service members discharged for violating the policy in 2008.

Women account for 14 percent of Army soldiers but received 48 percent of the Army's "don't ask" discharges in 2009, the study said. Six percent of the Marine Corps is female, but women accounted for 23 percent of its discharges. The Navy discharged only two officers for violating the policy in 2009, and both were Asian. The Army discharged five officers — two were black, one was Asian and two were white, the Palm Center said.

Last year's "don't ask" discharges accounted for about one-tenth of 1 percent of all separations and did not affect the military's readiness, said congressional aides familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak on the record.

But the list included eight linguists, 20 infantrymen, 16 medical aides and one member of the Army's special forces, positions considered "mission critical" by the Government Accountability Office."