Costs double for Pentagon’s gay sacking policy

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The Pentagon’s costs for firing service members for homosexuality under its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy nearly doubled last year according to research.

Figures from a University of California commission of military experts said it cost over $360 million to enforce the policy from 1994 to 2003. That is 91 percent more than the $190.5 million estimated a year ago by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm.

Critics of the law, a compromise made when former President Bill Clinton tried to lift the Pentagon’s ban on gays serving in the military, said the report showed more reason to end restrictions entirely.

Under the policy, gay recruits could serve if they kept their sexuality a secret and refrained from homosexual conduct. More than 10,000 service members have been fired for homosexuality since 1994, the panel said.

Rep. Martin Meehan, a Massachusetts Democrat told Reuters, “By discharging competent service members at a time when our troops are already stretched thin, the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy incurs hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary costs and purges highly skilled, critical personnel from the service.”

The commission said it concentrated on how much value the military lost from early discharges which would vary with length of service.