'The discharge of highly trained forces is costing our country too much,' said HRC's David M. Smith.
WASHINGTON - In light of news that the Army is raising its maximum recruiting age in the Reserve and National Guard due to shortfalls, the Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network renewed the call for passage of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. Introduced the House earlier this month, the measure would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual troops, and allow them to serve openly in the military.
"The discharge of highly trained forces is costing our country too much," said HRC Vice President of Policy David M. Smith. "With older Americans now being called to duty, it's unbelievable that hundreds upon hundreds of patriotic service members who are already trained are being denied their right to serve. Congress has a solution in its hands with the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. It's past time to allow gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans to serve honorably and openly."
"Our armed forces are stronger and our nation is more secure when America's best and brightest are allowed to serve," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. "The best and brightest include lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans, too. The answer to our military shortfalls is not to lower our recruitment standards, but to recruit those who are skilled and qualified, regardless of sexual orientation. Congress should approve the Military Readiness Enhancement Act recently introduced in the House of Representatives and repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' once and for all."
A recent study by the Government Accounting Office shows that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has cost nearly $200 million for the replacement and training of personnel who were discharged as a result of the ban. It also showed that nearly 800 specialists with critical skills have been fired, including 322 linguists, 54 of whom specialized in Arabic.
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