Various avenues available to provide input associated with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

With the release of the 2010 Department of Defense Comprehensive Review Survey of the Uniformed Forces and the establishment of a confidential communication dialogue, service members now have several means to provide inputs on issues associated with repeal of the law commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Both the survey and the confidential dialogue provide an outlet to supplement installation visits around the world, as well as the Online Inbox.
As part of a larger tour to installations in Europe, the Comprehensive Review Working Group will visit Ramstein Aug. 18.

For the last few months, the working group has been conducting Information Exchange Forums, or IEFs, at military installations around the world as a means to obtain the input of service members and their families on issues associated with repeal of the law, including impacts, if any, on military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness.
The forums include 250 to 300 service members. Servicemembers who are randomly selected will receive notification to attend the IEF through their command. Following the IEFs, working group members will conduct small focus groups with servicemembers to focus on specific questions.

The working group encourages participants to engage in an open and honest discussion. Participants should understand the law commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” remains in effect and service members should not disclose confidential information at these events.

Other means to provide input include the online survey, as well as a new confidential online tool.

The survey was randomly sent out electronically to approximately 400,000 service members, Active Duty and National Guard/Reserve component on July 7. They must complete and return the survey no later than Aug. 15.

E-mail addresses for service members were randomly selected by using addresses listed in the DEERS database system. Family members should expect to see their surveys arriving through the regular mail system at the end of August.

These surveys will help DOD develop a contingency plan to support implementation should repeal occur and assess impacts, if any, on military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention and family readiness.

A confidential communication mechanism has also been established to allow gay and lesbian service members and those troops not comfortable giving their complete, candid feedback publicly the option to submit comments through a confidential dialogue — using a non-traceable pin number.

Service members can take that pin number to any computer and submit their comments to a third party contractor, without their information being linked to their identification.

The confidential communication mechanism is available only to service members and can be accessed two ways — through a link at the end of the online survey or through a link on the Comprehensive Review Working Group Online Inbox Web site.
A plan of action to address the issues involved with implementation of repeal of the law will be submitted to the Secretary of Defense no later than Dec. 1. The working group’s mission is not to engage in debate about whether to repeal the law. The mission is to gain a better understanding of how repeal might affect service members and their families should repeal occur.

Service members and their families can continue to provide comments to the working group by using the Online Inbox at This Web site is common access card (CAC) — enabled and is another way to communicate with the working group on issues associated with the repeal.