630 New “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Discharges Discovered

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Newly Released Data Reveal Discharges Previously Unreported by Department of Defense

These newly released data confirm what Servicemembers United has long suspected -- that the official annual ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ discharge numbers are underreported and incomplete.

Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, today released a newly obtained document from the National Guard Bureau showing 630 additional discharges pursuant to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that have never before been counted in the Department of Defense’s official “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge numbers. The document, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Servicemembers United, only reports Army National Guard discharges from fiscal year 2004 through fiscal year 2009. Annual discharge numbers from other National Guard and Reserve components have yet to be released.

“These newly released data confirm what Servicemembers United has long suspected -- that the official annual ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ discharge numbers are underreported and incomplete,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' “The Department of Defense has adopted its own ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy regarding the full and complete disclosure of these numbers over the years, and unfortunately the methodology by which this information has been requested, collected, and assembled by outside organizations has been flawed. What’s more is that there are even more discharges that have yet to be disclosed, and we’re still working on obtaining those data.”

The commonly accepted annual “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge statistic combines the total number of discharges reported by the Department of Defense for each of its active component branches with the total number of discharges reported by the Department of Homeland Security for the Coast Guard. However, the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Freedom of Information Office has confirmed to Servicemembers United on three separate occasions in late 2009 and early 2010 that the internal source of their annual “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge numbers is the Defense Manpower Data Center, and that Defense Manpower Data Center statistics do not include discharges from the National Guard or the Reserves.

Last month, Servicemembers United released the total fiscal year 2009 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge numbers reported by the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. Those numbers were 428 and 15 respectively, bringing the “official” 17-year discharge numbers up to 13,425. These newly released numbers now bring the 17-year total number of discharges to at least 14,055.

For more information about Servicemembers United, please visit http://www.servicemembersunited.org . For the latest information on discharge numbers, polling, statistics, studies, and other archival and reference information related to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' issue, please visit http://www.dadtarchive.org .

Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, DC, Servicemembers United actively engages in education, advocacy, and lobbying on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.

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Clint King
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