Don’t Ask, Don’t Count: Pentagon Underreports Discharges
Posted on May 20, 2010
Servicemembers United, having just won a Freedom of Information Act request, says the military has not been counting National Guard or Reserve veterans who were discharged under the military’s anti-gay policy.
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.
U.S. Navy / Petty Officer 2nd Class Gina K. Wollman