So argues Ret. Gen. Merrill McPeak, 14th Air Force Chief of Staff, in a recent New York Times op-ed piece against the repeal of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy that the Obama Administration is considering. McPeak led the Air Force in the early 1990s when “don’t ask-don’t tell” was established under the Clinton Administration. His bottom line: “I do not see how permitting open homosexuality in [military] communities enhances their prospects of success in battle.” In fact, he states, “I believe repealing ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’ will weaken the warrior culture at a time when we have a fight on our hands.” Essentially McPeak contends that the arguments made in favor of changing the policy (e.g., civil rights, individual performance) don’t stand up to the imperative of maintaining unit cohesion. “To undermine cohesion is to endanger everyone,” he says. (McPeak op-ed piece) (Click here for op-ed responses.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.