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Sexual Preference and the Military

Uploaded by Admin on May 16, 2000

Homosexuality should not be a limiting factor in US Army service. In this essay, three points of view will be examined: why homosexuals have been excluded from the Army in the past, what are the origins of the Army's current stance on the issue, and what conditions must occur before sexual preference can be discounted in the assessment of Army personnel. It is the opinion of this writer that, regardless of any merit it may have had in the past, the Army's current position on homosexuality is an example of choosing the easy wrong over the hard right. In the past, a sizable portion of the Army was a conscripted force - soldiers were either drafted into service or sent by the courts for dodging the draft. After WWI, the size of the Army fell to just around 200,000 personnel. When WWII broke out, and the ranks of the Army had to be filled-out again from the general population, a more selective process was adopted. An argument against the conscription of openly homosexual males was made based on the findings of a special committee of the American Psychological Association (APA). Through their research, they had determined that acts of overt homosexual behavior were detrimental to unit cohesion. The proponents of this view argued, and rightly so, that in an organization where a units level of professionalism could mean the difference between life and death, any relationships, such as those that inevitably result from romantic interaction, that would erode a unit's professional atmosphere were not only inappropriate but dangerous. To quote the 1981 version of the directive (DOD Directive 1332.14): "The presence of such members [homosexuals] adversely affects the ability of the armed forces to maintain discipline, good order, and morale; to foster mutual trust and confidence among service members; to insure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of service members who frequently must live and work under close conditions affording minimal privacy; to recruit and retain members of the armed forces; to maintain the public acceptability of military service; and to prevent breaches of security." According to the argument, it was therefore necessary, in an era of compulsory service, to take precautions against such occurrences. However, one will note the inconsistency between the date of the quotation above and the end of conscripted service in the United States (~1973). The elimination of the draft...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   05/16/2000

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   4 pages (879 words)

Views:   1106

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